Chef Dads Dish on Kids in the Kitchen

Meet three local chefs balancing the demanding non-stop pace of restaurant life with the full-time job of fatherhood.

Meet three chefs balancing the demanding non-stop pace of restaurant life with the full-time job of fatherhood. Known for their creative cuisine with a fresh local focus, these three culinary superstars may be farm-to-table champions, James Beard semi-finalists, or four-star rated celebrities, but to the kids at home, they are just Dad.

We asked them some questions about food, family and finding time to manage it all. They responded with humor and honesty, shedding a little light on the crazy life in the kitchen. From the experienced dad, Bruce Moffett whose eldest is 18 and youngest is 2, to Marc Jacksina raising two spunky boys ages 10 and 8, to the new dad, Joe Kindred, whose first-born girl is just 7 months old, they have a lot in common. They are passionate about food. And family? Each dad is doing his best, figuring out how to make it work on his terms.

If you want to discover why they rule in the kitchen, check out these dining hot spots in Charlotte — Barringtons, GoodFood, Halcyon and Rooster's — where they preside over daily dishes, making a name for themselves in the world of food. If you want to find out what makes them a great dad, you'll just have to ask the kids!


Marc Jacksina

Halcyon, Executive Chef

Home: Lives in Derita with Lauren, Lucas (10) and Ian (8).
Beginnings: Utica, N.Y…grandparents' gardens…in the kitchen since 10 years…poetry…philosophy….Lulu…Andrew Blair's.
Family time: 7am… eggs for breakfast…driving the boys to school…spaghetti-and-meatball Sundays…
Restaurant life: It's difficult, to say the least. I try to make it up with morning time….and Sundays… But, once the kitchen gets in your blood you're never going to get rid of it. And I love what I do…
Kids in the kitchen: Ian makes better meatballs than I do. They love calamari. And handily recites a tuna pasta recipe.
Eating out: Family night at Fiesta Maya (University). Breakfast at the Matthews farmer's market.
Top food city: Austin.
Introducing kids to food: Bringing them to a farmer's market is an authentic experience. They get to meet and talk to a farmer. What kid doesn't want to talk to a farmer? Let them pick out something unusual, see the bright colors of food — eat with their eyes.
Go-to meal at home: Pizza.
iPod: Waylon Jennings.
About Charlotte: There's a lot of talent in this city. We are being defined by our locavore movement.
Chef Dad moment: Being able to make better cupcakes for their in-school parties.

Halcyon. Flavors from the Earth
In the Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.


Bruce Moffett

Barringtons Restaurant and Good Food, Executive Chef / Owner

Home: Lives in Ballantyne with wife Katrina, Christian (18, not pictured) and Daniel (2).
Beginnings: Barrington, R.I. and family gardens…mom's fresh cooking…from a pizza place in Charlotte to the Culinary Institute of America, NY…
Family time: 6am horsing around with Daniel… breakfast together… Sundays at the playground.
Restaurant life: Balance? Sometimes I'm not even sure what my name is. I'm not really managing it; I think I've just submitted to it.
Go-to meal at home: Grilled pork loin, cucumber tomatoe salad in a grilled pita.
Kids in the kitchen: Christian and I make Asian stir-fries. Cooking is in his blood. Daniel? Now he's a picky eater. Dino chicken with couscous. Absolutely no veggies!
Eating out: Date night is Halcyon, Blue, Roosters. And breakfast is Big View, Ballantyne.
Fave food city: Boston.
Introducing kids to food: Don't force it. Let them eat what they want to eat. Expose them to everything.
iPod: Peter Gabriel.
About Charlotte: Charlotte is an easy city to raise a family. I only wish there was more ethnic and small independent restaurants.
Chef Dad moment: When my son tells his mommy I must be lost because he never sees me!

Barrington's Restaurant
7822 Fairview Road

GoodFood on Montford
1701 Montford Drive


Joe Kindred

Rooster's Uptown, Executive Chef

Home: Lives in Davidson with wife Katy, Alba (7 months).
Beginnings: Lake Norman Roasting Co…. kitchen manager at 15… Johnson and Wales, Charleston…intern to Chef Jim Noble.
Family time: …morning snuggles with Alba…one meal a day together…pizza-dough night…Sundays.
Restaurant life: I've worked with Chef Noble for 11-12 years and he ingrained in our heads that family is always first. So we get Sunday and Monday off to charge up.
Go-to meal at home: Pasta.
Kids in the kitchen: Puree baby food. Blueberries, frozen peas, butternut squash with curry and spices.
Eating out: Date night is Good Food, Halcyon, FlatIron Kitchen (Davidson).
Fave food city: Chicago.
Introducing kids to food: Hang out with them in the kitchen. Eat with your family daily. Everything about food is love – from the ingredients to the people who share it with you. It's an experience.
iPod: Kings of Leon.
About Charlotte: I love it… and there are a lot of great chefs here. It's a great market to work in the business and raise a child.
Chef Dad moment: The greatest thing is having two families: At home, Alba, my wife Katy, and my dogs; and at work, my team who challenge and inspire me…

Rooster's Uptown
150 N. College Street

Photos by Becca Bond Photography.