Will Hall, 34
Training chef at the Food Shuttle in Raleigh
Q: When did you start cooking?
A: I started cooking for my family when I was 11. There were three boys, my mom and step-dad. I made mostly soul-food then…fried chicken, collards, baked chicken mac-and-cheese, etc. I baked cakes and cookies by the box and some from scratch. I could do most of what my mom did and I learned more by the time I was 12 so it became my chore after football and baseball practice to have dinner ready.
Q: How many years have you been a chef?
A: I've been in the business 15-16 years but eight years as chef.
Q: How many years have you been a vegan?
A: Eight years. In the beginning it was all about whether I could do it. I wanted to be disciplined and I liked the health benefits. Now, it is about the cool lifestyle and it's more ethical.
Q: Where are you from?
A: I'm from New York but I moved here a couple of years ago to be close to my mom and grandma.
Q: What interests or excites you about food?
A: Food gives me a way to express how I really feel about someone through colors, textures and taste. Food connects people on all levels.
Q: What style of food do you like to prepare?
A: Simple foods. I like certain flavors like the taste of broccoli, carrots, hummus, oatmeal and peanut butter.
Q: Do you have any favorite cookbooks?
A: "The Babbo Cookbook" by Mario Batali and "Charlie Trotters Vegetables"
Q: What are you reading right now?
A: "Charlie & The Chocolate Factory." It just takes me back to childhood pleasures and actually when I first became enchanted with food and cooking at age 11.
Q: What do you like about your work at the Food Shuttle?
A: It gives me the opportunity to give back in a way that makes what I do substantial. I like to glean food from all of our sources and find ways to present that to people in need and teach others food preparation, food safety and the basics of any cuisine. It's nice to give back to people and help them tap into their skills. Instead of just handing out food, we teach them a valuable skill.
Q: What is your favorite food memory?
A: My best food memory was being able to make an omelette…a real one by the time I was 12. I really felt "empowered."