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Chef Kevin Gillespie Begins “Competition Training” at Waffle House

Chef Kevin Gillespie on the Waffle House line

Chef Kevin Gillespie on the Waffle House line

Chef Kevin Gillespie is buzzing from the most recent award for his restaurant Gunshow, nominated by GQ Magazine as one of the 25 best new restaurants in America, and he’s hot on the trail of another victory.

This time, he seeks the title of “Master Blaster” (the honorary title for short-order cooks) at the Waffle House Smackdown at this year’s Charleston Food & Wine Festival. Stakes are high, as Gillespie will compete against defending champion Mike Lata of FIG, Chris Shepherd of Underbelly and Michael Hudman of Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen.

These chefs have their own restaurants, but wanted to get down and dirty and prove that they can cook up Waffle House food for a panel of judges, including local Waffle House owners and Bon Appetit Restaurant Editor Andrew Knowlton.

Gillespie means business. Armed with a camo Waffle House hat, he jumped on the line to fry onions for omelettes, scramble eggs and brown toast. After all, he is representing Atlanta’s hometown restaurant chain.

His Twitter has been “feeding” us photos all morning of his “training” at a Waffle House in Newnan as he prepares for the event that will take place at the Charleston Food & Wine festival on March 8th.

“I’m a huge fan of the Waffle House so getting to go in and learn from the best was an awesome experience,” Gillespie told us. “Everyone at the Thomas Crossroads location pitched in to show me the ropes and now it’s up to me to bring back a win for the state of Georgia- my home and where Waffle House began!”

Check out our photo gallery of the training to follow the action.

- By Alexa Lampasona (@lampnsofa) for the Food & More blog

45 comments Add your comment

Barry

February 26th, 2014
2:05 pm

Think what you will, be being a short order cook takes a certain amount of skill.

Ron Lewis

February 26th, 2014
2:19 pm

God I mss Waffle House, nothing like it n california

Jack

February 26th, 2014
3:02 pm

Among many other things, the Waffle House is one of the great reasons to live in Atlanta!

Cheeseface

February 26th, 2014
3:49 pm

Watching the cook work at WaHo’s is one of the best parts of the experience. They are truly artisans, and you disrespect what they do only out of ignorance.

dennis

February 26th, 2014
3:51 pm

Ron,

Go to the bank, get some money and open your own franchise.

Mike

February 26th, 2014
4:32 pm

You will never appreciate a GOOD short order cook…until you have a Bad one. They bust their butts and MAYBE get a little tip. A good one deserves a tip at least 50% cost of the meal. Try getting fast AND great taste at McDonalds…HA

Baltisraul....

February 26th, 2014
4:44 pm

WH is the best idea since air condition.

Greg

February 26th, 2014
4:51 pm

There are a lot of smaller Waffle House types throughout NorCal, depends on where you are.

Greg

February 26th, 2014
4:52 pm

Ron, where in NorCal are you?

JT

February 26th, 2014
4:54 pm

Love Waffle House, they need to expand to CALIFORNIA along with Cracker Barrel and Flying Biscuit and OK CAFE! Miss those places.

BBoy

February 26th, 2014
6:25 pm

Lots of cooking food ends up on the floor behind the counter below and under the grill. Check for yourself next time there. Good news however is the rats, mice and roaches don’t have a chance at it because somebody is always there cooking or walking back and forth.

Dr. Socrates

February 26th, 2014
7:23 pm

I have even more respect for Kevin Gillespie. Not only does he have a great restaurant in Gunshow, but he also gets down in the trenches with the best short-order cooks. Can you see fat-and-ugly Paula Deen or hoity-toity Daniel Boullud (?sp) darkening the door of such a competition? Probably because they would both fail miserably and the emperor would have no clothes (what a horrible image!).

Baltisraul....

February 26th, 2014
8:15 pm

BBoy……don’t think WH will miss your business.

Paige

February 26th, 2014
8:49 pm

I don’t eat at Waffle House often anymore. Grew up with it and frequented it regularly. I am still amazed at 42 years old how mesmerized I am by watching the cook. To work the grill top, listen to orders, and have such a kickass system as to line up the plates per order is amazing. A pickle here, mayo packet there, jalapeños, etc. rock on.

Grasshopper

February 26th, 2014
11:16 pm

If anyone thinks there’s never a time or need for Waffle House, I don’t wanna know ‘em.

[...] Chef Kevin Gillespie Begins “Competition Training” at Waffle House [...]

Bamaman

February 27th, 2014
2:29 am

Won’t find every national restaurant chain in California due to the state having a very high cost of doing business–including salaries and environmental issues. It’s simply impossible for restaurants in California to operate within their established cost structure in other states. And the highly litigious nature of the California worker is another issue keeping many chain restaurants and other businesses from doing business there.

Andy

February 27th, 2014
6:38 am

I’ll take mine scattered, smothered, covered and topped!

Baltisraul....

February 27th, 2014
7:43 am

Bamaman……good points!

Lizzy

February 27th, 2014
8:27 am

I knew Kevin was the real deal after watching him on Top Chef – a super nice man and awesome chef. Now I’m yearning for one of my two faves from WH: cheese omelette with tomatoes & onions or the Patty Melt – heck just a good old grilled cheese is a satisfying meal with hash browns or grits….comfort on a plate. Ahhhhhhh.

Baltisraul....

February 27th, 2014
9:01 am

Darn Lizzy, that sounds soooo good! Whatever I get at WH it must include hash browns with basted eggs.

Lizzy

February 27th, 2014
9:22 am

Balti – a basted egg? is it fried??

ohno

February 27th, 2014
10:32 am

Jacque Pepin earned his short order credentials on the burger line at Howard Johnsons. Always did like places where you could watch them cook your food.

cathy gillespie

February 27th, 2014
11:28 am

My son has always enjoyed Waffle House and repected the skill it takes to not only handle the volume but to turn out good food at the same time. It may not be fine dining, but who doesn’t enjoy a good order of hashbrowns scattered, smothered, covered, chunked and topped! Best thing after a long night to soothe your inner childs need for carbs. GO KEVIN!!!!

cathy gillespie

February 27th, 2014
11:29 am

excuse my typing skills. That was RESPECTED the skill.

Baltisraul....

February 27th, 2014
12:12 pm

Lizzy…..basted eggs are put on the cook top w/ a little butter. When the bottom of the eggs get hot a cover is placed over them w/ one ice cube or ice water under the cover. That steams the tops and you could put the picture on a post card, they look so good.

Ned Ludd

February 27th, 2014
12:32 pm

I wonder if Kevin will be indoctrinated into the ‘cheat sheet’ method they have of keeping orders straight.
Truly an incredible method of keeping things in order.

Baltisraul....

February 27th, 2014
12:41 pm

Lizzy……you can also baste eggs in a fry pan w/ a lot of butter and then just spoon the hot butter over the yolks.

Lizzy

February 27th, 2014
1:14 pm

Balti – I’m an egg baster and didn’t know it!! I love a fried egg which I slide into the skillet with lots of butter melted on low heat and cover it for a few minutes….a runny yolk and cooked white – to die for delish!! WH’s fried eggs are also perfection – I just order them over easy and they come out the same way.- same delish factor! Is there a National Waffle House Day? I suppose not….

Scattered Coered Chunked and Blown

February 27th, 2014
2:19 pm

I threw up in a booth at the Waffle House on GA-316 near Athens. It was the irst time I ever saw raisin bacon.

Baltisraul....

February 27th, 2014
3:14 pm

The WH fry cooks are master basters, for sure!

Ned Ludd

February 27th, 2014
4:45 pm

Lizzy……you can also baste (anything) in a fry pan w/ a lot of butter and then just spoon the hot butter over (anything)

Balt—please forgive me for amending your reply to Lizzy–what isn’t great basted in butter!

berry steve

February 27th, 2014
4:49 pm

Balt@3:14pm, that is way too funny. Your wheel is still spinning but your hamster has left the cage, for sure!

Baltisraul....

February 27th, 2014
4:52 pm

No problem, Ned amend away. Always glad to hear from my fan base! ha ha

Baltisraul....

February 27th, 2014
4:53 pm

berry, I may need professional help?

AzCat

February 28th, 2014
7:54 am

I love it when a blog comes together.

Go kick some a$$, Kevin!

Lizzy

February 28th, 2014
10:01 am

AzCat – I love both your comments!!! I started thinking after this WH camaraderie that it would be too funny if some of us actually know each other away from this blog????!!!

Baltisraul....

February 28th, 2014
12:06 pm

Lizzy…..I have often thought the same thing! I will bet you that the Georgia Senate has passed a WH Day resolution at some point. If they have not they sure should!

bongostella

March 1st, 2014
12:30 am

I always start my meal at WH with a slice of chocolate pie and coffee. Then, a Fiesta Omlette with dry toast and hashbrowns with copious amounts of diet coke. Yes,, I know the diet coke is defeated by the meal, but to be honest, I just prefer the taste of diet coke over original. And, yes, I am a 57 year old native Atlantan, so don’t give me any diet coke crap..

Baltisraul....

March 1st, 2014
7:45 am

bongostella……you must be a true Italian, starting your meal with a desert?

Ned Ludd

March 1st, 2014
11:45 am

Bongostella—Italian or Cross Keyish. WH—scattered and smothered hash browns on a waffle.
Got me thru many a late night! Used to have coke and root beer floats, wonder if they still do that.

Baltisraul....

March 1st, 2014
12:46 pm

Ned……does anybody do floats anymore? Root beer float at the A&W root beer stand. I used to wear that place out in the summer. They always closed after Labor Day as did Dairy Queen, back in the day.

Baltisraul....

March 1st, 2014
12:56 pm

Does anybody think that Huddle House has any menu item that compares w/ WH? If they do, I have not tried it yet.

bongostella

March 2nd, 2014
4:21 pm

Ned, not sure how you gleaned that, but yes, I did go to Cross Keys. Do I know you somehow?

Ned Ludd

March 2nd, 2014
8:37 pm

Just Playin’—you mentioned it once when we were chatting about Sandy’s—Barons Rule!