Food For the Soul

Music City touts hundreds of dining options for those visiting Nashville. The Cookery, located in the 12 South neighborhood, exudes Southern hospitality combined with Australian charm in a very friendly atmosphere. Serving coffee, lunch and dinner, the menu features house made items, including desserts, all made from fresh quality ingredients.

Brett Swayn, head chef and founder of The Cookery, grew up in Perth, Australia and came to American because of his love for music. When you walk into The Cookery, guests instantly feel something diff erent. Opening its doors in September of 2013, the mission is that of service, faith, and food. Behind the scenes, there is an amazing uplifting story that reveals a true sense of hope through the pursuit of faith using food as a craft.

Brett came to Nashville in 2002, and when he arrived he found himself homeless. He sought help through a rescue mission and one day an employee from Fleming’s, who was volunteering at the mission, saw Brett working in the kitchen. For the next nine he years worked at Fleming’s working his way up from prep cook to sous chef, but he wanted to also give back to the homeless. Brett had dreams of opening The Cookery to teach culinary skills to select homeless individuals and handed in his resignation at Fleming’s to pursue that dream.

The seven month Culinary Program has had more than 20 men graduate to date. The program teaches the tools of life needed to run a kitchen from menu planning, food costing, and management skills, but most importantly integrity, a sense of hope, and the pursuit of God. Brett emphasizes excellence, not perfection during the training. “Excellence is something we can all strive for, whether it is excellence in attire or cleaning the bathrooms,” Brett says, “I judge the kitchen by the bathroom. If the bathroom is clean, the kitchen will be clean too.”

At the completion of the program, participants come out with a food safety certifi cation, manager’s certificate, and are given their own knife set. The men are healthy enough both physically and spiritually that they can now carry on life in the community. The final stage of the program is planning a ‘Movie Night’ where their learned skills are put to the test. Brett says it gives them a chance to express themselves through their menu planning and is their final rite of passage.

Movie Nights are scheduled monthly and have featured menu items such as: Salmon Wellington, Charred Sweet Potato topped with Red Bean and Mango Salsa, and Bananas Foster for dessert. Reservations are required so please call ahead – 615-269-2911.

If you have an opportunity to visit The Cookery while visiting Nashville, you won’t be disappointed. Come see how lives are changing through the culinary arts first hand and tell them TravelHost sent you!


The Cookery is located at 1827 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN, 37203 or visit www.thecookery.org for additional information.

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27 Jul 2017


By Kathy Fox