Chef’s Corner | Woodside
The Fried Chicken
An Arizona chef dives head
first into Carolina cuisine
What do you get when you put a west coast boy smack dab in the middle of a Southern kitchen? Seasonal world cuisine with a side of mashed potatoes, as it turns out. In another attempt to explore the chefs within the prestigious country club industry, I got to know Chef Francisco Villalba (lovingly known as Chef Frankie). At ;e Reserve Club at Woodside in Aiken, SC, he takes on
everything from down-home cooking to themed events to one hell of a July 4th party for over 400 guests.
;ough his passion for the culinary arts has taken him far from his roots, he’s becoming grounded (and quite
well-versed) in making meatloaf and mingling with shrimp boat captains. ;is is his story.
Villalba | The
What was your journey to
getting where you are today
in your culinary career?
When I got out of
high school, I had a very di;erent path. I was at a
regular college where I had received a full ride for
soccer, and I was in the Nursing Program. I started
cooking at a bar and after a while—realized that it
was my thing (but I didn’t want to be a grill cook).
I wanted to be a professional chef. I studied at the Art
Institute of Phoenix and got my Associates Degree in
culinary as well as Hotel and Restaurant Management.
While I was in school, I was hired at a 4-diamond
hotel in Arizona. I was in over my head, but I stuck it
out and developed my culinary repertoire. If you want
to be good at something and do something you love,
you educate yourself along the way and learn quickly.
I was the Executive Sous Chef at the country club
I came from in Scottsdale, AZ. The company who
manages them is responsible for properties all over
the world, and an opportunity for the Executive Chef
position opened up here. I applied and was given a
shot on a big leap of faith.
12/26/18 4:07 PM