Knowing what you don’t want can be as important as knowing what you do.
“I did not want to open a restaurant,” says Chef Andrew Traub, who after 35 years in the restaurant industry was interested in trying something new, yet wanted to continue working in culinary arts.
The creative solution he dreamed up is rooted in his knowledge that food brings people together. A&S Culinary Concepts, which he launched in May 2015, offers a variety of hands-on experiences in what Traub describes as a “fun, laid-back environment.” It offers private cooking classes, corporate team-building activities, catering services, and special events that foster camaraderie and learning as well as satisfying dining experiences. “We’ve done private dinners, wine dinners, beer dinners, bar mitzvah dinners, prom dinners—anything people want,” he says.
Team-building exercises can be customized, but are typically three-hour sessions. “Our two most popular are ‘Executive Chef,’ which is based on the TV show Iron Chef, and ‘Mystery Basket,’” Traub says. Teams may prepare three-course meals or divide up appetizer, entrée and dessert courses among the participants. Whatever format is selected, teams work together to prepare dishes using a mix of pre-selected ingredients, and then eat what they’ve prepared.
Private cooking classes cover a range of themes, from cooking basics to international menus. Students learn cooking basics, master a skill, test out new recipes, or simply enjoy cooking in a social setting. All classes are hands-on. Monthly Big Green Egg boot camps are especially popular; they showcase the ceramic kamado grills along with quintessential smoker recipes like brisket, boneless pork butt, ribs and chicken.
“I’ve always enjoyed cooking, I’ve always enjoyed food,” says Traub, adding that his favorite part of being a chef is flexing his creative muscle. Now an award-winning chef, he got hooked on the industry at age 15 during his first job at an Italian steakhouse. Since graduating from culinary school in New York’s Catskill Mountains, he’s worked several stints at Marriott Hotels and Resorts in New York, Georgia and Tennessee. He also opened a catering company in Manhattan with a college friend, which counted Radio City Music Hall and the Luxembourg Consulate among its clients. Among his positions, he served as Executive Sous Chef at the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta when the hotel hosted the 1996 Olympic Headquarters, and for 14 years was Executive Chef of the Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort in Stone Mountain.
At A&S Culinary Concepts, Traub says, “We make everything fresh right here, from mayonnaise to bacon.” To ensure the highest possible quality, Traub partners with local farmers to source ingredients. “All of our meats are local, natural and sustainable, meaning hormone- and antibiotic-free. We work with local farmers from Cumming to Woodstock to obtain the best and freshest produce possible.”
He chose a work location close to home. “Johns Creek is a great place to raise a family,” he says. “We’re very happy with the schools, the ball park, and dance studio.” The father of three still has one child at home plus one attending Vanderbilt in the fall and another at Georgia Southern University.
A&S Culinary Concepts is involved with several community organizations. “I am on the Advisory Board of the Atlanta Community Food Bank,” says Traub. “I am also on the board of the ACFB Hunger Walk.” In addition, the company works with Prism school for special adults in Johns Creek and also started “Battle of the Big Green Egg.” The friendly competition pits the fire department against the police department to raise money for the Johns Creek’s Public Safety Fund; the next face-off is set for September 23 in Newtown Park.
9945 Jones Bridge Road, Suite 303