Chef Brandon Zawarda:
I attended Le Cordon Bleu of Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago (CHIC). I graduated with high academic honors & dean’s List with my Associate's Degree. I am ACF accredited.
I most recently worked with Destihl Restaurant and Brew Works, helping open their sister store in Champaign, Illinois, and working in their Normal, Illinois, location. All beers were made in-house, with 15 to 20 on tap at all times. The restaurant's made-from-scratch used all local cheeses, dairy, eggs, vegetables (arugula, watercress, micro greens), pigs and goats. It was high-end pub fare, in a very high volume establishment, done with quality in food and presentation.
Prior to Destihl, I was executive sous chef at the Deere and Co. worldwide headquarters for several years, overseeing the 14 locations in the Quad Cities, and cooking for world leaders, politicians, celebrities and executives. I oversaw the catering department and production kitchen, and did all purchasing, inventory and menu development. I provided multiple-course meals on a regular basis, wine/beer dinners, voluminous caterings, in-house caterings, cooking classes and competition. Prior to John Deere, I was executive chef at Savitiri’s restaurant and chef de cuisine at FIVE, both high-end restaurants in Iowa and Illinois.
I began my career before that by working in Chicago and my home town, in everything from a taco house to a smokehouse to greasy spoon breakfast joints, Indian restaurants and bar and grills.
Additionally I have been active with the local community college culinary program (Scott Community College)
With an eclectic background with European, Indian, Asian, Spanish/Mexican cuisines, I consider myself specific to thoughtful, Midwestern cuisine, taking advantage of our Iowa/Illinois bounty of cows, pigs and produce. I like to make food people want to eat, focused on locality, seasonality and mood to re-create old-ashioned meals and dishes for the general public. I will be offering education with monthly cooking classes, Beer Club, in-home caterings and the Chef Brandon Products line. I like to promote healthy and cost-conscious cooking for everyone to enjoy at home. I enjoy culinary competition and BBQ, smoking anything under the sun, from meats and seafood to vegetables and spices.
My biggest passion outside of food is BEER - from brewing, collecting and cellaring to cooking with and obviously sipping this delicious brew.