Gerald Allen Jr. is a Culinary Arts Educator at Hodgson Vo-Tech and local chef who collaborates on several pop up concepts around the city. He is also this week’s #PeopleOfWilmDE! He was nominated by fellow Wilmington chef Andrew Cini. Read his story below:
“My mother grew up in Wilmington so I spent many days, nights and summers here just taking it all in. She lived on the East Side, her sisters lived in South Bridge, and I also have a few aunts that reside on the North Side. I currently live on the West Side, so I have been all over Wilmington. I also remember all the places and spots I would go to and eat when I was younger. Food has always been my north star.
Three interesting facts about me are:
- I lived in Arizona for 9 years.
- I can’t have enough cookbooks.
- I can fall asleep almost anywhere at anytime.
My ideal weekend in Wilmington is packed! Friday Night has to be drinks at Stitch House Brewery to start, followed by Dinner at La Fia or Bardea. Saturday I would do brunch at Le Cav (I would probably do brunch there Saturday and Sunday if I could). Then I’d order a Pizza from Nick at Kozy Korner for later in the evening and meet up with friends at Dead Presidents. Sundays are a more relaxed day; I am normally at SIW Farms Stand doing Simple Supper for my favorite people!
I also love Blue Rocks games with my kids and any festival involving food. I enjoy walking my dog all over the city and taking my kids to parks. I also love showing up at a friend’s restaurant and lending a hand or working on a new dish or two for a new menu roll out.
I like the closeness of everything in Wilmington; I don’t have to go far to have a good time! The food scene in Wilmington is also a tremendous draw for me, it just works! The chefs in Wilmington are really pushing and growing the food scene here and it feels like the Wilmington Food Renaissance.
One of my proudest moments in the city must be when Tyler Aiken invited celebrity chefs to Wilmington to cook and showcase Wilmington. Being able to work side by side with some of those chefs has been one of the most memorable moments for me by far. Collaborating with all my favorite chefs in the area to do pop-ups is definitely my favorite.
Wilmington has helped me be where I am by allowing me to make a ton of connections and collaborations with chefs and friends. The Food Community is bursting with talent here in Wilmington.
I am excited about the upcoming nightlife in our city concerning the food scene and bars. I’m excited by the ability to add more to this growing metropolis and culinary catalog.
If I could give advice to people living and working in Wilmington, I’d say to get out of the house and give a new restaurant a try. There’s not a great need to go elsewhere; we have great options for you right here in Wilmington!