Chef Deborah VanTrece. (Photo: Fred Spears Photography)
Chef Deborah VanTrece. (Photo: Courtesy of NBC/Universal)
Chef Deborah VanTrece.
(Photo: Courtesy of NBC/Universal)

Writing for The Huffington Post, The Burton Wire‘s founder & editor-in-chief spoke with Chef Deborah VanTrece about her time on NBC‘s game show meets culinary show Food Fighters. VanTrece who goes by the moniker “Chef Deb” shared her journey from flight attendant to caterer to chef and owner of her restaurant Twisted Soul Kitchen and Bar, located in Decatur, GA. Check out an excerpt from the story:


I had the chance to catch up with Chef Deb at her bustling soul food fusion restaurant Twisted Soul in Decatur, GA. Chef Deb, who owns the restaurant with her wife Lorraine Lane, makes it a point to know her customers and her food, milling about to find out what works well. Lane is sort of a mad scientist of cocktails, working her magic behind the bar to create concoctions that compliment Chef Deb’s cuisine in an eclectic, welcoming space. Together, they create an atmosphere of family, food and twists on classic soul food cuisine like chicken and waffles, pimiento cheese grits with chicken sausage (Halal), black-eyed pea salsa, twisted soul salads and flash fried chicken wings in coconut gravy and jasmine rice. Chef Deb’s cuisine is now being featured on national television on Food Fighters. She talks choosing a career in food, Food Fighters and what’s next for her career trajectory.

NB: You were successful as a flight attendant. Why did you decide to pursue a career as a chef?

DV: At the time I was married to my former husband who played professional basketball overseas. I was working as a flight attendant and doing well, but then there was a strike. I felt vulnerable and realized that my livelihood was in someone else’s hands. I needed more control over my life, which is why I ultimately went to culinary school. I always loved food and travel and this was a great way to bring the two together and to be more in control of my life.


FOOD FIGHTERS -- Episode 204 -- Pictured: Deborah Vantrece -- (Photo by: Greg Gayne/NBC)
FOOD FIGHTERS — Episode 204 — Pictured: Deborah Vantrece — (Photo by: Greg Gayne/NBC)

NB: How did you end up on NBC’s Food Fighters?

DV: Interestingly enough NBC called me. They were looking for a soul food chef and through their research found me. At first I didn’t believe it. I said, “This is who?” and “You want what?” I really didn’t believe them until they sent paperwork with a peacock on it. Then I knew it was real. I had a Skype interview and the next thing I knew, I was on my way to L.A.

NB: What has been your experience on Food Fighters?

DV: It is a positive show and has been very educational for me. As chefs, we sometimes get so caught up in our world that we forget what other chefs do, so it was nice to meet other chefs from all over. Being here in Atlanta, there are so many reality shows that focus on negative drama that it is overkill at this point. I’m glad that I was able to be a part of a positive show that shows a different side of people living in Atlanta.


Read the post in its entirety at Huffington Post.

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