Atlanta, Bios, Portfolio

Chef Andrew Isabella, No. 246

No. 246

No. 246 Photo by Access Atlanta

 

CHEF DE CUISINE ANDREW ISABELLA  NO. 246

Andrew IsabellaQUICK HIGHLIGHTS:

Italian tradition courses through No. 246’s Chef de Cuisine Andrew Isabella’s veins. Growing up in an Italian family who emphasized helping people, he knew at an early age that he was destined to serve others through community outreach and drawing upon his culinary talents. In November 2012, the Floridian native arrived at Atlanta’s luminary restaurateurs and chefs Ford Fry and Drew Belline’s Italian-inspired No. 246 restaurant, which is deservedly praised for its affection for farm-fresh ingredients. Isabella’s career includes the role of sous chef at Luma on Park, in Winter Park, Fla., from 2010 to 2012, as well as the lead line cook and sous chef under Bravo’s Top Chef contestant Tracey Bloom at Table 1280 on the High Museum of Art’s campus from 2009 to 2010. Isabella, who has been wowing dining guests and employers alike with his flair for creative dishes, earned his associate of science in culinary arts from Keiser University in Tallahassee, Fla.

He now is settled happily in the heart of Buckhead with his wife Kaylen. Together, the sweethearts enjoy antiquing and traveling, though she might be in fierce competition for time with Chef Belline, who’s just introduced Chef Isabella to the exciting world of foraging. The Belline/Isabella duo makes for an impressive combo of leadership and style at No. 246, which places importance on the seasonality of locally sourced ingredients to build fresh, everyday dishes utilizing Italian cooking techniques in the heart of Decatur. “I like working with seasonal and locally inspired ingredients,” says Isabella. “I believe good food brings people together, so my passion for food also corresponds with my calling to serve others.”

FULL BIOGRAPHY:

Italian tradition courses through No. 246’s Chef de Cuisine Andrew Isabella’s veins. Growing up in an Italian family who emphasized helping people, he knew at an early age that he was destined to serve others through community outreach and drawing upon his culinary talents. “During my senior year, there was a family who had a tragedy,” recalls Isabella. “Instead of bringing them food, I asked my mom if I could go over there and cook. The feedback I got and the happiness I brought, and just being there with them during a difficult time helped me to know this is what I wanted to do with my life.”

Since his teen years, this Marianna, Florida, native has dedicated himself to the culinary craft—from paying his dues at a small family restaurant in his hometown to gaining familiarity with kitchen practices and managing a staff at a country club. The lure of kitchen life drew Isabella to enroll at Keiser University in Tallahassee, Florida, where he graduated with an associate’s degree in culinary arts.

During his education, Isabella interned at Wolfgang Puck’s Catering at the Georgia Aquarium, where he assisted in cooking for parties from 10 to 10,000. After culinary school, Isabella’s career path led him to Table 1280 on the High Museum of Art’s campus from 2009 to 2010. Under Bravo’s Top Chef contestant Tracey Bloom’s tutelage, Isabella gained a greater understanding for refined American cuisine. When she went on hiatus to film Top Chef, he was tapped for the position of sous chef, and wowed his employers and guests with his creativity and food knowledge.

Isabella returned to his home state in 2010, accepting the position of sous chef at Luma on Park, a Concentrics concept owned by NASCAR CEO and Chairman of the Board Brian France, and remained until the fall of 2012. “We worked with a lot of local farms, changing our menu every day,” says Isabella. “I learned a lot about fish butchering during my time there.” Luma’s modern American style served Isabella well, enabling him to master sous vide like nobody’s business. After his promotion from sous chef to management, Isabella began to yearn for Atlanta. Luckily, Luma’s executive chef Brandon McGlamery is close friends with Drew Belline, co-owner of No. 246, and he happily connected the two. “I fell in love with No. 246,” says Isabella, “and Drew took me right in.”

In November 2012, the Florida native became the chef de cuisine at Atlanta’s luminary restaurateurs and chefs Ford Fry and Drew Belline’s Italian-inspired No. 246 restaurant, which is deservedly praised for its affection for farm-fresh ingredients. Isabella is now is settled happily in the heart of Buckhead with his new wife Kaylen (the newlyweds tied the knot in November 2011). Together, the sweethearts enjoy antiquing and traveling, though she might be in fierce competition for time with Chef Belline, who’s just introduced Chef Isabella to the exciting world of foraging.

The Belline/Isabella duo makes for an impressive combo of leadership and style at No. 246, which places importance on the seasonality of locally sourced ingredients to build fresh, everyday dishes utilizing Italian cooking techniques in the heart of Decatur. “I like working with seasonal and locally inspired ingredients,” says Isabella. “I believe good food brings people together, so my passion for food also corresponds with my calling to serve others.”

During his time at No. 246, Isabella’s feeling most appreciative of the simplicity in approach. “It’s great letting the ingredients speak for themselves,” he says. “Coming from Luma, where there was so much put into every dish, it was very complex. At No. 246, we let the produce talk.”

No. 246 is hailed for its veneration for local produce and meaningful relationships developed with local farmers. “It’s amazing,” says Isabella of the fresh produce. “The farmers cut it and bring it in dripping wet, still covered in dirt. It means a lot. It’s a good way to see it.”

An integral figure in the design and development of the oft-changed menu, Isabella’s philosophy is represented in every dish. It’s refined farm-to-table food rooted in Italian techniques—served at lunchtime and evening to ravenous Decaturites and Atlantans alike.

 

 

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