2017 Talent

Tandy Wilson

Chef, City House

Tandy Wilson opened City House in Nashville’s historic Germantown district in December 2007 in space that had formerly housed the working space for artist and sculptor Alan LeQuire.

City House’s menu offers dishes that feature quality, local ingredients cooked with great care and purpose. City House also allows Tandy to hone his expertise at cured meats, which hold a prominent place on the menu, revolving between his various salamis and, more recently, hand-cured hams.

Seating 124, and featuring a chef’s bar where diners can watch as Tandy and his team prepare the meal, City House has emerged as one of the bright stars in Nashville’s local restaurant scene.

Tandy opened City House after spending two years as sous chef for Margot McCormack at Margot Café and Bar, also in Nashville. Working with local resources and a menu that changed daily, Tandy sharpened his skills and perfected his vision of his own restaurant.

It was his mother and grandmothers who instilled in him this enthusiasm and love of food early on, and it was during his first restaurant job at The Orangery while attending the University of Tennessee in Knoxville that he discovered his talent. After quickly moving up from his position as a dishwasher to a role in the kitchen, Tandy realized he wanted to make a career out of cooking. In 2000, after graduating with a degree in hotel restaurant administration, he left Tennessee for Arizona, where he graduated from Scottsdale Culinary Institute.

After a year of culinary training, the institute’s career center placed Tandy at the
world-famous Tra Vigne restaurant in St. Helena, Calif., in October of 2001. Tra Vigne’s executive sous chef at the time, Nate Appleman. Tandy and Nate continue to work closely together at events like Nate’s Kawasaki Disease (KD) Foundation Event in California every year.

The opportunity to work under the direction of such an influential chef inevitably shaped Tandy’s future in the restaurant industry. Following his time in California, Tandy decided to travel to Italy to explore the cuisine and learn more about regional Italian cooking. Returning from Italy in 2005, Tandy came home to his roots.

Tandy’s passion for food extends beyond cooking for his customers. He is a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance where he is frequently involved with local and regional culinary activities. Tandy has also enjoyed participating in Charleston Wine & Food, Austin Food & Wine, and Music City Food & Wine, along with other great events over the years.

Since the first full year of opening City House, Tandy has greatly appreciated being one of the James Beard Foundation nominees for Best Chef of the Southeast. Tandy has been nominated by the JBF each year since. Tandy was a James Beard Foundation Award Semifinalist for Best Chef Southeast in 2013, 2014 and 2015.