Being a Judge for the last three years of Cast Iron Cook Off, Chef Andi Cagle returns this year as a first-time competitor. Cagle is the Director of Culinard, the Culinary Institute of Virginia College, a top culinary school located here in Chattanooga. The Chattanooga Culinard program has achieved programmatic accreditation from the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation. Previously, Chef Cagle owned and operated a catering business called Kozy Cooking, which provided catering for corporate, wedding, and personal events. A graduate of Applied Science in Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts in Atlanta, Chef says, “I knew starting to study the culinary arts would bring on a unique set of challenges, but I never expected it to make me a teacher, a business owner or allow me the opportunity to be a chef for President Obama’s 2013 Inauguration.”
Chef Cagle looks forward to this years Cast Iron Cook Off. She says that seafood and cast iron make for a perfect combination. She trained with Chef Holly Chute, Executive Chef for The Governor of Georgia. Before joining the faculty of Culinard, Chef Cagle worked with Chef Daniel Lindley, Owner and former Executive Chef of St. John’s Restaurant. Chef Cagle has participated in many competitions before, including the Culinary Fight Club Bougie Burger Battle in Atlanta.
She is especially excited about her students at Culinard coming to the competition again this year to assist the participating chefs. “Being apart of the Cast Iron Cook off has always been a great opportunity for my students. They get to be one on one with great chefs from all over the city,” says Cagle. “Learning from these chefs can help them get a jumpstart in their career.”
Chef Cagle’s students are also involved in the recruiting process of Walt Disney’s Culinary Career Program. She says that the Culinary Institute of Virginia College is the only culinary school in Tennessee that has students chosen for this program. There are about 300 restaurants at the Disney park that her students have the opportunity in working at. “I love to see the students learn and to see the light switch go on,” she says. “That’s what keeps me interested in teaching.”
Chef Cagle is a member of the American Culinary Foundation, Slow Food International Association and an advocate for Share Our Strength – No Kid Hungry. She also works with a non-profit organization East Chattanooga Improvement as a member for inner-city youth.
Best of luck to Chef Cagle in her first Cast Iron Cook Off.