In 2003, he weighed 400 pounds when health issues and uncontrolled diabetes forced him to close his celebrated restaurant , "Bruno's" and his doctor gave him just five years to live. One year later and half his size, he had turned his life around and his weight-loss efforts melded perfectly with Governor Haley Barbour's dedication to the health of Mississippi's citizens. Bruno returned as Executive Chef at the Governor's Mansion, where he remained until his appointment with The Hilton in Jackson as Chef at Huntington's Grille. Luis's recipes have a Caribbean flair and are some of the best. One of my favorites is "Banana Leaf Wrapped Buttered Snapper with Clams and Saffron Broth". He is quite the showman and is a local celebrity. You can be confident that Luis Bruno will be an outstanding choice...he will most likely win the contest...like I said he is quite the showman!
HENRY CHANDLER, Henry's Louisiana Grill, Acworth, GA
Chef Henry brought a new life to the small town of Acworth, GA, by opening his restaurant, Henry's Louisiana Grill, nearly 10 years ago. He was experienced in Cajun cooking even at a young age. He was raised by his grandmother in her Louisiana home. He later attended a European culinary school for three years. His business has boomed since the day he opened in Acworth. It continued to do so throughout his two year battle with cancer. He went into remission last year. Not once did his business suffer.
This is due, in part, to his amazing Cajun cuisine, especially his Shrimp "Ooh La La." It is a wonderful dish comprised of sautéed shrimp, spinach, and garlic in a thick spicy cream sauce served over either pasta or a bread tower. IT IS AMAZING!!! My mouth is watering just thinking about it!!!
Chef Henry is in the restaurant every day. When he is not in the kitchen cooking, or supervising, he is making his rounds in the dining area. He makes it a point to go to each table and talk personally with each guest. He is a hit with the young and old alike. People drive from all over Georgia to eat Henry's delicious Cajun treats! Take one little boy growing up in a Louisiana kitchen at his nanny's elbow. Mix in college in Lafayette, Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Christmas Festivals in Natchitoches.
Marinate for three years in European culinary schools. Return to the States for further seasoning. Observe carefully as ingredients ignite. Contain fiery mixture in small town restaurant and present: Chef Henry Chandler!
GREG DOBESH, Cowboy Catering, Broken Bow, NE
In the Gateway to the Sandhills in Broken Bow, NE lives a one-of-a-kind cowboy chef, Greg Dobesh. Raised on a 7,000 acre ranch, Greg was educated in a one room school house. Memories of baking potatoes on the heat stove and eating delicious home-cooked "stick to your ribs" meals influenced this man's palate for simple yet mouth-watering creations.
In a geographical location where cattle out-number people 10 to one and living 25 miles from the nearest town fostered imagination and creativity in operating the ranch as well as the ranch's kitchen. Greg built a portable smoker and rotisserie to prepare the best brisket, Navajo fry bread, and ranch beans in a traditional style honoring cowboys who traveled the prairie years ago. Greg restored an authentic chuck wagon and focuses on Dutch oven cooking. Many of the fresh ingredients, chilies, and jalapenos come from his garden to enhance his culinary creations.