Profile

Steven Brooks, Co-owner, executive chef

Soul Restaurant & Lounge

Fayetteville

As someone who has played football and in a band, Steven Brooks, 39, is accustomed to performing for a crowd.

But for a chef, there is no greater thrill than owning the performance venue and Brooks gets to experience it every day.

He and partner Case Dighero opened Soul in 2007 in east Fayetteville after another restaurant had failed at the location, but Brooks said business has been strong even during the tight economy.

“We do cooking classes every month that have been sold out every month,” he said. “We’re doing wine dinners, catering and lots of things besides lunch, dinner and happy hour. We’ve been really blessed.”

Brooks’ choice of words was appropriate considering he worked as executive chef at Blessings Golf Course prior to opening Soul. Before that, he did gourmet cooking at The Market at Pinnacle Point after following his mentor, Scott Berg, from Birmingham, Ala.

Brooks got his start as a chef as a way to make money on the side while playing music full time in Birmingham. He doesn’t have a culinary degree, but has been in a kitchen since 1992 and specializes in world and Southern cuisines.

He’s picked up golf as a hobby and still owns a drum set, a guitar and a healthy appetite.

“I’m not a frou-frou, little plate guy,” he said. “I want your ribs tickled when I’m done.”

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