At Pewter Rose Bistro, head chef Geoff Bragg says things operate like a family business -- and that fits his style just fine. Growing up in Charlotte, Bragg liked to hang around the kitchen and watch his father cook the same foods he cooked for his fellow soldiers while a major in the Army. His mother also knew her way around the kitchen, and as young as 19 years old, Geoff was already working as a chef. Now with a 2-month-old son at home, not only is he stepping up in the way he approaches his job, but he also wants to help kids in the Charlotte area.
Creative Loafing: How does your mother's Vietnamese heritage affect the way you cook?
Geoff Bragg: It was strange for me growing up to accept that fact. My friends didn't always understand the food when they came over. I didn't really accept that part of my heritage until I looked at going into a culinary career. That's when I realized it was a window into all new spices, ingredients and recipes.
Have you done any work in the community recently?
I have just recently started working with Siegel Avenue Partners to create an after-school program to work with children in the culinary field. I would like to help kids from low-income homes, teaching good skills that may not go right along with what they teach in 4-year colleges. This is a brand-new venture, so I will know more about it in the months to come.
What hobbies do you enjoy when you're not at Pewter Rose?
I like to get out and work in the yard whenever I can. I do a lot with my garden. My dad always kept a good garden so he hammered that into me. It's a real nice outlet and watching things grow gives you an appreciation for the whole cycle. My son has taken up most of my free time lately, but I love every second of that. It makes me put more effort in to my work, and yet gives me a reason to get that work done and get home as fast as possible.