Lake Norman has its share of delights - great food among them! And behind every dish is a team of our neighbors sharing their time, effort, and expertise with us. In this series, we'd like to introduce you to the chefs of our community restaurants in particular - plus some of their unique insights - so grab a seat!
Photo credit: Remy Thurston
First up, allow us to present Head Chef Justin Walters from eeZ Fusion in Birkdale Village!
Q: When did you decide to become a chef and why?
As a teenager one of my first jobs was a busboy in a busy restaurant. I got a peek into the kitchen and was hooked from there.
Q: How did you determine Lake Norman to be the home of your business?
My wife is from Charlotte and when we decided to move back we fell in love with the Lake Norman area. There is opportunity everywhere!
Q: In what way does your role as chef play into the community?
Being able to partner with amazing organizations like the Ronald McDonald House as well as just getting to know the customers and families that patronize eeZ on a regular basis makes us feel like we are part of people’s lives. We have really felt that love come back to us during the pandemic.
Q: How has your technique or style developed over the time you’ve been a chef and why?
As a young guy starting out, I was more rigid and wanting to be trendy with ingredients. With experience and age I think I have become more relaxed and rely on the food and fresh ingredients to speak for themselves.
@eezfusion via Instagram
Q: What food trends are you most involved in setting or incorporating?
Looking forward I’m really interested in health trends and looking at foods as a nutrient for our bodies. I think eeZ does a fabulous job at accommodating gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian options and I think we will continue to see that grow.
Q: What is the most valuable lesson being a chef has a taught you?
Anything worth accomplishing usually takes a lot of hard work.
Q: What would you say is the most important aspect of being a chef?
Leadership and passion for what you do!
@eezfusion via Instagram
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring chefs?
Don’t cut corners with service or ingredients. Find a mentor. If you are passionate about what you do, people will be able to tell.
Q: What is your favorite dish to create and why?
I, like most people, associate food with good memories so I love to make home cooked meals like lasagna or sauté up a fresh catch after fishing with my son.
Q: What is your favorite Lake Norman chef’s dish, aside from your own?
I love the Salmon Roulade served with Orzo Spinach and golden raisins at the North Harbor Club.
Lake Norman boasts chefs who love what they do and are eager to welcome new customers to their establishments. If you've had a great experience at eeZ Fusion, let us know in the comments below or tag us in your foodie pics on social media @VisitLakeNorman!