"Iron Chef America" Walter Royal
Walter Royal's Teaching Kitchen Dates 2013
Learn the Finer Points of Cooking with Walter & His Staff.
$100 per person (plus tax) 2:00pm
Sunday, July 21st
Sunday, Aug 25th
Sunday, Sept 22nd
Sunday, Nov 17th
Alabama-born Walter Royal, Executive Chef of the Angus Barn and Pavilion, knew at the formative age of 14 that he wanted to spend his life exemplifying the southern way of spreading irresistible food before guests. His first classrooms were his mother and grandmother’s kitchens where he learned that the very essence of southern hospitality is homemade. To enhance his education, he attended Nathalie Dupree’s Cooking School in Atlanta and eventually found his way to the Triangle where he landed at The Fearrington House with the legendary Jenny Fitch. “Working with and learning from such a master was one of the highlights of my life,” says Walter. He then moved to one of Durham’s fine restaurants, Magnolia Grill, and worked there with Ben and Karen Barker for six years. Walter was among the class of chefs who were part of a renaissance of celebrated chefs, all coming from the Triangle. When Alice and Van were scouting chefs, searching for the perfect person to run the kitchen of the Triangle’s largest restaurant, they luckily found Walter. Not only did Walter have the mastery of southern cuisine down to an art, he was also a southern gentleman … just what the Angus Barn needed!
Professional chefs are rarely completely satisfied because they’re perfectionists, according to Walter. Although his mind may be totally focused on pleasing guests, his imagination is always soaring thinking of new ideas. And soar it did when Walter was asked to be appear as a guest chef on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America. (must log into facebook member to view) Taking a road far less traveled by celebrated chefs previously on the show, Walter led his team of four to victory by stepping completely out of the box. Chef Royal and his team defeated celebrity Iron Chef Cat Cora 51-43 in an upset not even the most experienced oddsmaker would have predicted.
The originality of using the mystery ingredient, ostrich, in traditional southern dishes impressed the judges so greatly that they awarded Chef Royal and his team the highest score ever given in the history of the hit television show. Competing celebrity Iron Chefs who have appeared on the show include Bobby Flay, Mario Batali, Masaharu Morimoto and Cat Cora.
Whereas Cat Cora prepared a showy European gourmet dish using ostrich, Chef Royal and his team appealed to back-to-basic taste buds, creating ostrich burger with homemade chips; ostrich satay with peanut dipping Sauce, now found on the Angus Barn menu; ostrich pot pie with black pepper honey; ostrich filet with smashed rutabagas, turnips and wilted watercress; and finally, the piece de resistance: chocolate soufflé made with an ostrich egg. (Is your mouth watering yet?) The judges made no secret of their passion for the soufflé. As Judge Joel McHale summarized the soufflé, “You managed to take one of the ugliest birds and put it into one of the best desserts!”
Chef Royal gives credit to the team that tackled the challenges of inventing and executing those audacious ostrich dishes. For his award-winning challenge, he chose Angus Barn sous chefs Julia Strickland and Alan McSwain. As an added bonus, Walter asked the producers if Van and Steve’s son, then twelve-year-old Christopher, could appear for a segment. The judges consented, and Christopher became the youngest assistant on record in the show’s long history. Julia, now the owner of her own restaurant, Poppyseed Market & Deli, said, “Being chosen by Chef Royal as part of his ‘Iron Chef’ team was the chance of a lifetime and I was so proud to be part of his victory!”
Back at the Barn, Walter shares his wisdom in his well-known forum “Walter’s Teaching Kitchen,” a
monthly class during which the public has a chance to learn and to interact with this brilliantly imaginative chef. It is no surprise that celebrity chef Bobby Flay asked Walter to join him in his appearance at the North Carolina State Fair. In Walter’s usual philanthropic way, he asked Flay if two culinary groups from local schools could join them. Flay agreed and the culinary students had the chance of a lifetime to learn from the best.
As if he didn’t have enough laurels, Chef Royal has also received an honorary doctorate of Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University and recognition from the Restaurant Guild International as Five Star Chef of the Year.
Although awards, distinctions and recognition carry weight and great importance, there is no value that can
be placed on Walter’s contributions to the Angus Barn. Any chef who can run two main kitchens, the gourmet wine cellar kitchen, The Pavilion catering kitchen and a kitchen team of 150, and do it all in a way that would make his grandmother smile, is worth his weight in gold.