Chef T has key to good cooking

Chef T, otherwise known as Anthony “Tony” Soles and his son, Codera, are two of the owners of Chef T’s restaurant in Alexandria, along with Carl Byers. The Soles sometimes work 60-80 hours a week serving customers a wide variety of their signature dishes, such as fried green tomatoes and creamed corn.

Longtime Ragland resident Anthony Soles has experience in the food industry he has accumulated over many years. He once worked at the Holiday Inn in Oxford and then ran TCT Ice Cream parlor in Ragland. His best customers were the 200 or so employees at Ragland Clay Products. He also fed them from a red food truck. Then, in 2008, the country’s recession eliminated much of the company’s workforce, which brought Chef T’s business to a stop.

At some time afterward, a friend, the Rev. James Owen, recommended Chef T look at the building on U.S. 431 where now he is located. Soles liked what he saw and opened the restaurant around 2012. “The key is to cook foods to order,” Soles said. “We make fresh hamburgers, fish, and chicken livers. We prepare fresh vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, collards, and turnip greens.” Chef T’s restaurant has its own dessert maker, Melissa Burnett. Listed on the wall each day are several kinds of cakes and cobblers.

In addition to meats prepared in the kitchen, the restaurant keeps a barbecue pit fired up.

“This business is a passion of love,” Soles said.

He appreciates the people who have been so loyal to him since he opened in 2012. He has customers from through the county.

One of his specialties is running a barbecue put out back, and the restaurant sells barbecue sandwiches for a dollar.

“I can’t believe how many of them I sell,” he said.

He is especially proud that his son is a professional chef trained at Culinard culinary school in Birmingham.

Hours are 6-8 p.m. Sunday through Friday except for Saturday when the restaurant closes at 9 p.m. Address is 4004 U.S. 431.

Recipes that are popular are as follows:

Pot roast

Cut a roast in cubes and boil in water with seasonings. Remove the meat and save the liquid left in the bottom of the pot. Reduce the liquid by boiling. Boil carrots, potatoes, and onions separately. Make a rue with flour and butter. Stir it into the reduction. Mix the meat, gravy, and vegetables together. Bake 30 minutes.

Creamed corn

Boil corn on the cob with the hucks intact. Cool and remove the corn from the husk. Silks should come off easily. Cut the kernels off the cobb. Add white pepper, a dash of sugar and margarine. Cook on top of the stove in a cast-iron skillet a few extra minutes.

Slaw

Shred a head of cabbage. Add a dash of sugar, vinegar, white pepper, and mayonnaise. Stir in dill relish to taste.