Fire & Salt is the vision of Chef and Proprietor, Alex Gass, with the hope to share his philosophy that food is joy and create a place where people want to enjoy good food and good company. Opened in December 2022 in Chef Alex’s hometown, Fire & Salt serves reimagined East Tennessee favorites with a menu based around locally sourced seasonal ingredients.
I was born and raised in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Food has always been a big part of my life. Some of my best memories are as a child helping my aunt, late mother, and grandmother prepare food for hundreds within our church and exploring the art of smoking meats with my Uncle Jim. I have been honored to be able to work through the trade of food. The journey began as a young boy working at a grass-fed organic farm all the way to making some of the most expensive plates in the area.
As a traveling chef, I was able to blend my love of food and music by catering for bands like Widespread Panic, Van Halen, and Elton John. As an Executive Chef, I have the opportunity to work with local farmers and reinvent some of my favorite meals with fresh ingredients that always make me think of home.
Food has become a way to honor those that I have lost, be creative, and connect with people. With the support of my wife, Jessica, and our kids Trinity and Jasper I have created a place to do just that every day. To me, food is joy. I am honored to be able to share this with my guests as the founding chef of Fire & Salt.
The kitchen has created a life for me. My personal and professional relationships
have all started there. It has led me to create a family that I love and feel responsible
for. My relationship with food is directly related to that sense of responsibility. I feel like I have more of a well rounded approach to being a chef so that my ability to support my team can be my priority.
Food is life, food is love, food is creativity. I spend most of my life with these three things. If I’m not creating food, I’m creating music. If not music, art and if not art, I’m spending time with people I love, usually sharing a meal. Chef Alex has always been a great friend and mentor to me. To be able to work with him again is a gift and I can’t wait to see what the future holds at fire and salt. I am excited to see the creativity and flavor we will come up with to share with our community, friends, and family.
My expertise is hospitality. I genuinely love seeing our guests have a wonderful time. My first job was in a fine dining establishment. During my years there, I learned a lot of valuable lessons about the industry and myself. Working with intelligent chefs and like minded people hat take pride in their jobs and the way they treat others really shaped me. To me, food means more than just a word. Food has taught me forgiveness, patience, and love. In this industry, you’ll find the greatest lessons show up in the most unexpected ways.
I am most excited to see Chef Alex’s dream grow. He has the biggest heart I have ever known and I am excited to to be a part of his team .
I love our mountain trout. It’s a fresh colorful dish that’s one of my favorites! It reminds me of those hot summer days and endless trips to the Smoky Mountains.
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