It started with cornbread. No written recipe. Just an oral blueprint passed down from his mother and her mother before that. It was these women in his life who would cultivate Tandy Wilson’s appreciation for food early on and ignite his cooking philosophy of “heart and soul.”
It wasn’t until his first job at The Orangery while attending the University of Knoxville that Tandy realized his love of cooking could turn into a career. Quickly transitioning from behind the dish pit to behind the line, Tandy was given a culinary school textbook by Chef Kevin Fults. He was instructed to work his way through it – a step in the right direction.
After graduating with a degree in Hotel & Restaurant Administration in 2000, Tandy moved to Arizona where he attended Scottsdale Culinary Institute. A year later he was placed at the highly acclaimed Tra Vigne restaurant in Saint Helena where he first met good friend and mentor, Nate Appleman. Nate’s enthusiasm for Italian cuisine sparked excitement and eventually led Tandy on a two-month journey through Italy.
With both Italian restaurant training and travel in his repertoire, Tandy came home to his roots in 2004. It was in Nashville while working as sous chef for Margot McCormack at Margot Café where he sharpened his skills and developed his own dream to open a restaurant.
City House opened in December of 2007 in Nashville’s historic Germantown in a nineteenth century brick building once housing the working space for artist and sculptor, Alan LeQuire. It is here where Tandy showcases his love of fresh, local ingredients on an almost nightly basis while bridging the gap between authentic Italian cuisine and down-home Southern cooking.
Tandy’s dedication to quality along with some Southern-Italian flare has gotten the attention of the James Beard Foundation – having nominated him as a semi-finalist for Best Chef Southeast in 2013, 2014 and 2015. His name regularly appears in Bon Appetit and he was named “Best New Chef in the Southeast” by Food and Wine magazine.
But at the heart of it all, Tandy Wilson is a true Southern boy with a passion for good food and its humbling ability to bring folks together. And that’s exactly what one will find when walking through the doors of Tandy’s City House – food and family.