Behind the Kitchen Door

Brady McDonald said “it’s all about the finesse,” when it comes to being the chief cook.

By Nicole Karlis

Silver metalware  is hung from the ceiling and stacked on  counter tops. The shiny alloy is all that is in sight in the place Brady McDonald calls work. The sounds of clinging pots and pans echoed across the room as a machine spat out tickets that ordered the next dish McDonald would cook up.

McDonald, 23, has been working at Atlas Restaurant, 127 Iowa Ave., since June of 2006. He describes his nights as “hot and fast,” behind  the kitchen doors of the Atlas Restaurant.

As his first job out of college, preparing food is something that the Iowa City native knew he always wanted to do.

“I wasn’t the greatest student,” McDonald said. “But I knew one thing I wanted to do for the rest of my life was cooking.”

McDonald went to culinary school at Kirkwood Community College right after he graduated high school. In the fall of 2008, McDonald traveled abroad to Florence, Italy, to learn the ins and outs of international cooking. His time abroad contributed to his liking of Italian food, especially pasta.

“It’s like the pasta dough is part of me,” he said.

McDonald said his days in Florence were long, but he gained irreplaceable valuable experience. After an unfortunate event with one of the head chefs at the Florence restaurant he worked at, that had a Michelin rating, McDonald was promoted to be in charge of the pastries. It was during this time he found a new love for the creation of sweet treats.

“Desserts are a lot of fun to play with,” he said.

But what it all boils down to is the walk and talk about being a chef.

“It’s all about the finesse,” he said.

McDonald says he’s in the works of opening up his own restaurant, a goal he plans to reach before turning 25.


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