In the fourth episode of Season 3 of the Paper Trails podcast, Nick sits down with executive chef RJ Corley. Listen as RJ takes us through his beginnings in the restaurant industry in western Maryland and what we can expect from one of Charlotte’s newest Mexican cuisines, Puerta.
In the third episode of Season 3 of the Paper Trails podcast, Nick sits down with Darius Amidi, Director of Operations/Co-owner of Improper Pig, and his son Cameron Amidi. Listen as Darius and Cameron take us through their journey and what led them into the restaurant industry, as well as the characteristics of running a successful restaurant.
In the second episode of Season 3 of the Paper Trails podcast, Nick sits down with owner of Que Hospitality Manny Flores. Listen as Manny takes takes us through his journey to U.S. and what inspired him to get into the restaurant industry, the passion and inspiration for his two restaurants Que Onda and Que Fresa, and what the future holds for Que Hospitality.
In the first episode of Season 3 of the Paper Trails podcast, Nick sits down with the executive chef, Mike Bobb, of the Ballantyne Hotel. Listen as Mike takes us through how his passion for cooking developed, his journey through culinary school at Johnson and Wales, to becoming the executive chef at the Ballantyne Hotel.
After working for Procter and Gamble for 33 years, Bill Bigham decided he wanted to do something more with his time than hit the links. The new goal: Chef. He was accepted into the Inaugural Freshman Class of Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte, N.C., and at the young age of 56, he went back to school.
But golf was not off the table. While at Johnson & Wales, he was lucky to land an internship at the exclusive Pinehurst Resort during the 2005 U.S. Open.
Bigham, now Chef Bill Bigham, earned an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts, graduating Summa Cum Laude and has since become a personal chef working everything from small dinner parties to grand openings.
In 2007, Bill was named “Best of the Best” Personal Chef by Charlotte Magazine.
“I realized that I could change somebody’s day because I’m the first person they’re speaking to, most likely.” Magnolia Coffee Co’s Production Manager, Ben Alleman, got into the coffee scene because he wanted a change from the restaurant industry. He quickly fell in love with what he calls the ‘counter-culture.’
Magnolia’s goal is to make the top 3-5% of coffee accessible to the everyday coffee drinker. While Alleman himself hasn’t gone to the origin spots of the coffee, Magnolia’s owner has traveled extensively to the different growing regions.
But even with the best beans, it always comes back to that counter culture and the barista behind the bar. Alleman says the best response to a first sip is when someone says, ‘Wow, I don’t need to put anything in this!’
Says Alleman, “You can really change somebody with a really good cup of coffee.”
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Stomp, Chomp & Roll Restaurant Group owner, Will Bigham, grew up in the restaurant industry. He describes himself as ‘always learning,’ which is probably why he’s seen success operating a wide variety of restaurants ranging from a dessert business to fast-casual Asian cuisine, and now the popular Charlotte, NC brands Improper Pig, Flying Biscuit, and Pizza Peel.
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Manolo Betancur has a plan — to bring his Latin bakery concept to the poorest towns of NC in hopes to create jobs, growth, and spark life on desolate Main Streets that can use some love.
Head Brewer, Kiel Arrington, takes Nick on a mini-tour of the brewery and what goes into making your favorite beers.
Owning a business was always in the back of Arrington’s mind and Vaulted Oak wasn’t his first attempt at starting a brewery business. In 2015, he pitched a brewery to investors and they didn’t bite. But Arrington wasn’t deterred and counts it as a good learning experience.
“It took years, up to a decade, in the food and bev industry to grow into where I am today,” says Arrington.
Years passed and Arrington started a family but didn’t give up on the brewery idea. He started looking at the possibility of opening a bottle shop near Lake Lure when his realtor turned him onto a former BB&T bank location that was just bought.
Arrington brought on business partner, Johnie Jones, and signed the lease in September 2019. Next step – he had to bring on investors. In the 11th hour, Arrington got it done. (the space almost became a Pop-eye’s!)
After breaking ground in July 2020 amidst a pandemic and dealing with delays and supply shortages, Vaulted Oak Brewing finally opened its doors on June 8, 2021.
And the brewery was immediately embraced.
“Overwhelming and humbling were phrases I used a lot of times. We didn’t expect that level of support, especially in a pandemic,” reflects Arrington on the community support.
“Community was always a pillar of our business model. we wanted to be more than just a place to get a beer.”
Arrington’s advice for business owners:
- Never burn bridges because never know when you’re going to need someone’s relationship.
- Fail and fail often.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
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