Kevin Gillespie, or @topchefKevin to his fans, is a professional chef, cookbook author and speaker. He is the creative force and owner behind two award-winning restaurants: Gunshow, a unique dining style restaurant in the Glenwood Park neighborhood of Atlanta where he prepares both refined and rustic dishes, and Revival, a fresh take on the traditional, family-style Sunday dinner, with a focus on farm-raised and artisan-prepared ingredients in Decatur, Georgia. We connected with Gillespie to learn more about what makes him tick.
1. What’s your favorite part about being a chef?
My favorite thing about being a chef is the idea that I’m part of continuing history. I think that cuisine is ever evolving and that we keep adding chapters to the history book.
2. When I was six, I thought I would grow up to be a:
3. What’s the best advice you’ve received?
I did not listen, but the best advice came from a culinary instructor. He told me to buy a gym membership and go three times a week. I thought it was stupid, but now I see how important it is!
4. Coffee or tea?
5. The best meal I ever had (that I didn’t cook) was:
The best meal I ever had was at Eleven Madison Park two to three years ago. It was a flawless meal, at the same time both technically perfect and enchanting. I had the best duck I’ve ever had in my life. It was roasted whole and glazed in something like a lavender honey. It was tender, flavorful and perfectly cooked. It made me feel that I should never make duck again because my best duck dish will always be the second best duck dish!
6. Three things you can’t live without?
Meat, coffee, music.
7. Where do you go for inspiration?
Outdoors. I used to go to restaurants, books and magazines for inspiration, but I find that now I need to leave everything behind and get away to feel creative. I tend to remember the things I’ve seen and read better then.
8. What’s your favorite spot in your home?
I am moving to a new home, so I’m not sure, but I have built the kitchen completely to my specs so that will probably be my favorite, along with the adjacent sun room that is really a big bar and entertainment area with large windows onto the backyard.
9. What won’t we catch you without?
A pocket knife.
Interested in learning more about Gillespie’s cooking style? Check out his cookbooks: Fire in My Belly, which was named a 2013 James Beard Award Finalist in the Cookbooks: American Cooking category, and Pure Pork Awesomeness.
Photos by Andrew Thomas Lee