Brian Kilkenny never wanted to be a chef.
He was a political science major and hated cooking.
When he was a college student in New York State, his Italian roommate would make dinner and he would do the dishes.
â€œItâ€™s kind of ironic actually,â€ Kilkenny said.
After taking a part-time job at an art gallery to help pay his way through college, the 19-year-old met a chef who was opening a restaurant called â€œPaulâ€™s Potpourri.â€
â€œHe basically asked me to come and work with him even though I had no previous cooking experience,â€ Kilkenny said.
He started doing the basics â€” washing pans, stocking the pantry and cutting up lettuce.
Then he learned how to cook under the guidance of Paul.
After three years, Kilkenny went to work one day and was fired.
â€œHe told me that he had taught me all he could and I had to go out on my own,â€ he said.
That was the beginning of his cooking career.
â€œBy the time I left Paul, a passion had developed (for cooking),â€ Kilkenny said.
Having worked in San Francisco, Virginia, Boston and New York City, Kilkenny has brought 25 years of experience to Verdict Ridge Country Club where he is the executive chef.
Kilkenny, who is from New York, has been with Verdict Ridge since the beginning and has watched east Lincoln grow.
â€œIn the last eight months I have seen more houses than in the last two years,â€ he said.
When he first started at Verdict Ridge, Kilkenny hired the staff, wrote the banquet and dinner menus.
Now he is involved with many events that happen at the club including golf outings, membership events, weddings, social business events and the usual dinners and Sunday brunch.
â€œI enjoy the diversity of working at a country club,â€ Kilkenny said.
The dining room at Verdict Ridge is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and for Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For special events, call Kilkenny at 704-748-6676.
by Amy Wadsworth