Anthony Head has a few culinary nicknames: the "Gem City Chef,” "The People's Chef," etc.
The lucky among us also know Chef Head by his delicious food.
We caught up with Anthony, our latest Daytonian of the Week.
Q: What do you do and how did you get involved in your work?
A: I'm a professional chef, teacher and business consultant. When I'm not conducting cooking lessons, demonstrations or training, I love to feature my culinary skills during special events like the Dayton Emerging Fashion Incubators’ Taste of DE-FI or teach my viewers during my monthly cooking segment, "Something For The People" on WDTN's "Living Dayton."
Q: How did you get involved in the culinary world?
A: My entry into professional cooking came by way of my pursuit of medicine. I originally wanted to have a family practice in the city to help ameliorate some of the health disparities exacerbated by a lack of culturally competent healthcare.
While taking premed science courses during the day, I decided to indulge in my lifelong passion of food and cooking by taking culinary classes in the evening. After completing my prerequisite classes while working my way up in local restaurants, I eventually became an executive chef. After winning some awards after a successful run, I decided to take time off to study for the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test). During my study break, I was approached by a local school to teach culinary classes for adults. One opportunity led to another and instead of going to medical school, I continued to teach, which allows me to keep family friendly hours and affords me time for my entrepreneurial endeavors.
Q: What is your secret talent?
A: I've been told I have perfect pitch when whistling. Unfortunately my singing voice is flat.
Q: What do you love about life in Dayton?
A: Our parks, libraries, museums and outdoor festivals. So much to do any given week if you're tuned in.
Q: What is your idea of a perfect Dayton foodie night out?
A: A day of procuring locally sourced, artisanal vittles from the 2nd Street Market, steaks from Dot’s Market and a couple of bottles from JW's Wine Cellar make for a great night in at my house. I heard I'm a pretty good cook. 😉
Q: What dishes best describe Dayton?
A: Between our maturing food truck scene and the increasing diversity of our local, independent restaurants, there are too many dishes to name. I will say that the food scene is in the midst of a renaissance with the infusion of a myriad of authentic, cultural influences and the rise of young culinary talent.
Q: What inspires you about Dayton?
A: The "doers" and "givers" of the city inspire me to commit the best of my talents toward helping address some of the challenges we collectively face particularly when it comes to food deserts and youth employment. While the problems we face aren’t unique to Dayton, the solutions must be uniquely Dayton. From the West Dayton Strong program to the Gem City Market, I am motivated to give my time and do the work necessary to address the issues that impact my neighbors!
Q: What should people know about Dayton?
A: Life in the city is not dictated by the latest "best places to live/work/play" polls or gloom and doom news story.
We are truly a city of hidden gems, from our awesome parks, bikeways and family-friendly neighborhoods to our most important asset, our people. Whether they live, work or play within the city limits, the power of the people is being tapped into and utilized for its unlimited potential to positively influence this community!
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Q: What’s your favorite spot in Dayton?
A: It's an absolute tie between a riverside view from any of our regional bike trails and the view of the Miami Valley from the top of the Kettering Tower.
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Q: What’s your guilty pleasure?
A: Anything from Twist Cupcakery downtown!
Q: Why did you decide to settle in Dayton?
A: Born and raised here I decided to come back after living out West and starting a family. The cost of living and opportunities as an educator and entrepreneur affirm that coming home was the right decision for my family.
Q: If you could change or bring one thing to Dayton, what would it be?
A: Borders aren't real, but their impact on people are. I would change how they divide us socially, economically and politically.
I would bring a high-speed railway service linking Dayton with local cities. I think it would do much to address the issue of jobs and talent acquisition.
Q: What do you think Dayton will look like in 10-15 years?
A: A resurgent regional hub of innovative collaboration led by homegrown developments like the Uptown Triangle project and our burgeoning entrepreneurs and creative class.
We will finally reap the benefits of the deliberate efforts of private and public investments to sow seeds of conscientious workforce development across a myriad of sectors. Vertical partnerships between education and industry will serve as a model for other rust belt cities poised for a comeback!
Q: Do you want to add anything else?
A: I unashamedly proclaim myself the "Gem City Chef" and "The People's Chef" on social and local media because as a "Son of this City," I am a product of its investment in me as a young man and now I'm fully invested as a grown man in leveraging my talents for the benefit of The People. The Gem City is rising, and I'm proud to be a part of it.