Name: Chef Wesley True
Name of Restaurant: The Gulf
Restaurant Phone Number: (251) 424-1800
Where were you born and raised?
Good ol’ Mobile, Alabama.
What inspired you to become a chef?
In college I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do, so I took a career assessment test. It came back saying I should either be an engineer or a chef. Even though I love engineering, with my learning disabilities, that field would be difficult for me. Cooking just clicked for me though. I started cooking for my friends in college and they loved my food and I haven’t stopped since.
Where did you train to become a chef?
I trained at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. I have also learned so much about high-end cooking from working at some of the most highly acclaimed restaurants in the country.
What does your typical workday involve?
The Gulf’s menu changes daily so I spend a lot of time finding the freshest seasonal ingredients and creating fun menu items.
Who is the most notable person you’ve ever cooked for?
As the executive chef of The Optimist in Atlanta, I got to cook for numerous celebrities Jennifer Aniston, Jeff Foxworthy, and the owner of the Atlanta Hawks.
What are your professional goals as a chef?
I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished in the past with my nomination for a James Beard Award and my time on Top Chef. For the future though, I would like to put more effort into helping others, whether that’s doing charity work or training other chefs.
If you won the lottery, how would you spend your winnings?
I would probably open a “tasting menu only” restaurant that was decorated like a living room and do food out of it once or twice a week.
Why do you believe your current restaurant is one of the best in the state?
I have worked at some of the most elite restaurants in the county. I always wanted to take that quality of food and make it affordable. That’s what The Gulf does. It is known for its casual atmosphere with a feeling of “affordable luxury.” I get to create food I’m extremely proud of and it’s reasonably priced. Also, both restaurant locations have the best views around, hands down.
What’s your favorite seafood dish to serve up for yourself and your family?
I love grilling Gulf fish that’s just finished with good extra virgin olive oil and lemon. I like the flavors of the fish to shine through. I especially love grilling whole fish and charring the skin. Simple and delicious.
What makes Alabama Gulf Seafood special?
What really makes Alabama Gulf Seafood special is the people behind it. From the fishermen to the chef all the way to the guests in the restaurant that eat it. They say “You are what you eat,” but I say “Where you are is what you should eat.” I always want to support my local community by using Gulf seafood.