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Chef Anthony Felan – 2nd Act and New Adventures

If we examined the lives of the most successful people in the world, we would probably see a defining point or person that caused their lives to shift to the next level. Whether it is a chance encounter, a windfall of money, a tragic situation, there is always something that causes a forward trajectory in their path. Chef Anthony Felan has both a defining point and people in his developing life story.

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Chef Felan grew up in Bossier City and cut his teeth on the farm to table experience that he is known for while spending time with his grandfather in Blanchard. He would help with his chicken coop and garden. His love of cooking took him to San Francisco, CA where he graduated from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. After graduation, Felan worked his way up to cooking in some of the most reputable restaurants in that area. Being away from family took it’s toll on him so in 2009 he returned home and became sous chef at Wine Country Bistro. After some time, he took the reigns and became head chef. In 2012, Felan left for California once again, but then returned back to NWLA in 2014 where he resumed his role as head chef at Wine Country Bistro, a position he remains in today.

Today is a little different though for Chef Felan. Gone are the days of just being the head chef at Wine Country Bistro. He is now positioning and branding himself as Chef Anthony Felan outside of Wine Country Bistro. Wine Country fans, don’t worry. He is not stepping away from Wine Country. He is expanding who he is and what he does because of what I mentioned earlier in this post about those defining points and people. I haven’t discussed this with Chef Felan, but I honestly believe the passing of his father in January of this year was one of his defining points. There are lessons that he learned from his father that have inspired Anthony to take risks now that I’m not sure he would have taken at this point in his career. Nothing breeds creativity and innovation like the need to not wallow in tragedy.

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chef anthony felan, anthony felan, shreveport chef, chef felan

One of the defining people in his life? His wife Amanda or as she likes to describe herself “The wife that would not let him quit”. Even when I sent questions about Chef Felan to him and his wife, she chimed in with the answers needed after saying “Since he’s not answering”. Amanda fills in the gaps for him. She pushes and inspires him. She even comes up with great one-liners about who she is “Behind every successful man is a pushy nagging wife.” Another one of those defining people is Chef Nick Simons. If you see Chef Felan, more times than not, you will see Chef Nick Simons side him working as sous chef.

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With everything going on right now, one may even say that it’s Chef Anthony Felan’s season. He came in second place at the Louisiana Seafood Cook-off and he has launched 2nd Act Supper Club, which sold out of tickets for the first dinner within one hour. 2nd Act Supper Club is Chef Felan’s side project that is going to allow him to showcase food that inspires and excites. The catch is the location and menu of the dinners are kept a secret until the day of the event. Chef Felan even told me that he won’t tell the guests what they are eating until after they have eaten it. How exciting is that? Partaking in these dinners takes some adventure and faith.

In addition to the cook-off and the supper club, Felan partnered with Red River Brewing and created a sold-out, fantastic Red, White, and Brew BBQ dinner and beer pairing that I luckily bought a ticket before it sold out. The menu featured elevated versions of meals that we all probably grew up eating and still enjoy today.

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First Course: Pretzel bread and cheese fondue made with Hay Ryed

The pretzel bread had a bite on the outside, but was very tender on the inside. There was the perfect amount of salt on the bread that blended perfectly when sopping up my cheese fondue that had sausages, onions, and other yummy goodness in it. As Lashina with The Life of a Fabulous Nobody would say, there was major “soppage” going on. I didn’t want to quit eating this and I didn’t give up my bowl until the very last bit of pretzel bread was left. I decided that I wouldn’t appear to be as much of a fatty if I left a little bite of bread in my bowl.

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Second Course: Grilled chicken lollipops, Alabama white sauce, avocado, collard green kimchi

Nothing says southern barbecue like grilled chicken and greens. Chef Felan’s take on this staple included juicy and perfectly grilled chicken lollipops, perfectly balanced sweet and tart Alabama white sauce, collard green kimchi, and avocado to take away some of the bite in some of the bolder flavors in the dish. Who thinks about having collard green kimchi? Chef Felan! If you’re not familiar with kimchi, it is a traditional Korean side dish made with salted and fermented vegetables. Chef Felan put his own spin on this traditional dish by adding collard greens. It was tart, it was tender, it was flavorful, and it was delicious.

chef anthony felan, anthony felan, shreveport chef, beer pairing

Third Course: Slow-smoked pulled pork, white bean and kale ragout, cornbread crumble, Red River beer molasses

Things happen and with this dish, the thing that happened was we didn’t get any of the cornbread crumble but the dish was fantastic without. The cornbread crumble would’ve made it amazing. Think about eating a bowl of white beans with a smoked ham hock and a hunk of cornbread. This is where Chef Felan was going with this dish. The slow-smoked pulled pork was smoked to absolute perfection. The smoke flavor was bold and there was no denying that you were eating smoked pulled pork. The white bean and kale ragout was savory and filling. The Red River beer molasses on top provided the perfect contrast in flavor for the entire dish. Because it was sweet yet slightly tart, it served in a role similar to how citrus brightens dishes.

chef anthony felan, anthony felan, shreveport chef, beer pairing

Fourth Course: Butterscotch pudding, sea salt caramel warm fudge made with Captain’s Porter, and whipped cream.

By this point, I’m not sure how any of us had any room for dessert, but we powered through. I am glad we did. Chef Felan and Amanda both apologized that the original menu said we would have toasted meringue, but the weather caused the meringue’s to fall. Instead we were served whipped cream on top of the dessert and I was not upset at all because I’m not really a meringue fan. The butterscotch pudding was thick and sweet without being too sweet. The sea salt caramel warm fudge had my neighbor, the fabulous Kathy Ross moaning her delight. The whipped cream for topping helped cut through the richness of the combination of pudding and fudge. This dish was a winner.

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If this beginning of Chef Anthony Felan’s new life is indicative of what the future will hold, I can’t wait to see and taste it all. Bravo Chef!

To keep up with more Chef Anthony Felan adventures, like his Facebook page here.

To find out more information about 2nd Act Supper Club, join the secret Facebook group here.


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