Meet Our New Chef: Michael Qandah

Meet Our New Chef: Michael Qandah

We are very excited to announce Michael Qandah as our new Chef. If you haven't met him, he is incredibly talented but also a very creative chef. His cuisine is focused on locally sourced ingredients with an emphasis on simplicity, purity, and seasonal flavors.

As you know, I'm a mom that likes to wear many hats. I've always loved food, and cooking has always been my primary hobby. I remember cooking for myself when I was little because I did not like plain food. I used to experiment with new flavors and recipes at an early age. So when I started Bella's Kitchen, I created all of the meals from the idea to end product myself. However, I knew that at some point once the idea proved its value, I was going to need to hire a chef. So the search began and I was looking for the right chef, as I knew this would elevate Bella's Kitchen offerings. Michael is the perfect person to fill that role.

To welcome him, we did a little Q+A to learn more about him and his inspiration. 

Where’s your hometown? 
Benton, Arkansas

How long have you been cooking?

I grew up in a restaurant, so I've been cooking for most of my life!

What’s your first memory of you cooking?

I have a lot of early memories of cooking eggs for my family.

Your dad owned a restaurant for years. Did he encourage you to be a chef?My family has always been supportive of me and my dreams.

Who were your biggest cooking influences?
I think that my biggest cooking influence isn't a person but more of what I liked to eat. 

You’ve worked at many restaurants. Give me your highlights:
Whole Foods, Butcher and Public, Andrew and Michael Food Group (Memphis), Brave New Restaurant, Happy Bear Cooking (owner), Lucky Cat Ramen (Memphis), and Fidel and Co.

What’s your favorite dish or cuisine?
My favorite dishes to eat are tacos and pho. My favorite cuisine to cook is Japanese.

I happen to know you are an outdoors person. What are your hobbies outside of the kitchen?
I love running, rock climbing, and just being active in general. I also like playing guitar, listening to music and of course eating.

Last but not least. What is your life mantra? What words do you live by?
I don't know how much time I will have…So do everything there is to do, love whoever is around to be loved, and just be nice.