Brandon Emmitt

Fanta Dorley | March 22nd, 2021
Brandon Emmitt (Photos by Michael Duncan)

Brandon Emmitt (Photos by Michael Duncan)

“The community was always supporting me, but I know it was God that was guiding me.”

From the family kitchen to kitchens around the world, Chef Brandon Emmitt has earned his place as one of the nation’s premier Chefs. If you ask him, he’d say, “I’m just doing what I love to do.” With an armor of modesty and humility, along with a spirit of curiosity and skill, Chef Brandon shows us how carving a path can be all that it’s cooked up to be.

Brandon Emmitt was born and raised in the Dallas/Frisco area of Texas. Being the younger brother of five children, he was the recipient of many life lessons and benefits. “My dad kept us in church and busy with school so there wasn’t much room for anything else,” he says. “As a rising high school football star, many of the community supported my journey, and even encouraged me to pursue a professional career in the NFL.”

At the time, that did not seem too far-fetched to achieve being that Brandon had begun receiving awards. He was also looking forward to landing a full athletic scholarship at a local university. As the young NFL grew into adulthood, he began to develop strong morals and values, which placed him in a dilemma with his environment. He recalls, “As I grew older, I realized that I couldn’t be in the NFL, because It directly went against my spiritual values of working on Sunday.” Brandon believes Sunday’s are sacred and should be used to spend time with God and family. So, he had to find something else to do.

Just about that time, tragedy struck his childhood. His parents decided to get a divorce which hit him hard emotionally. He remembers thinking to himself, ‘What am I going to do? So much is going on and I just don’t know what to do.’ During this time, his mother became sick. With most of his family scattered around the country, Brandon found himself having to make some tough, life decisions. However, he did what he knew best – he got down on his needs and began to pray. Through his increased prayer life, he was able to reflect on things that molded and shaped his values in order to give him direction. So instead of going to college as planned, life’s challenges took him on a path of self-reflection and new direction.

First, he reflected on his father. He shares, “I watched my father work 12-hour days and still came home and cooked for us. And when he cooked, he threw down.” Originally from Louisiana, you can just imagine the various dishes that grazed the table. Hot water cornbread, black eyed peas, and fried chicken. He next reflected on head culinary chef instructor and school mentor, Robert Bifulco. When Brandon’s parents divorced in 2002, he decided to stick around and help his mom out instead of going away to school. While working odd jobs, Brandon was encouraged to take advantage of a program offered at a local community college that provided him with an Associate of Applied Science Culinary Arts Degree. “That’s when I came across Mr. Bifulco. He stayed on me and kept me grounded,” he says. Brandon realized that he not only needed skill development, but also personal development. That’s what Robert Bifulco provided.

After finishing at the top of his class in the culinary program, Brandon worked at a major hotel kitchen and that was the beginning of his life’s career. “I decided I wanted to travel the world and learn how to make dishes from other cultures.” After starting at a hotel with a friend in California, he sought opportunities posted throughout the hotel. The position allowed him to make bold and risky moves like transferring to the hotel’s location in South Beach Florida. After he learned all that he could from the Floridian culture, he traveled to Puerto Rico and worked there for one year.
Next on the map, Chef Brandon traveled to San Bernardino, California, but didn’t stay long due to a great opportunity to work in the Dominican Republic. After a short stay there, he moved back to Dallas.

In 2014, he reunited with his old childhood friend and got married. In addition to having his son in the same year, he also gave birth to his dream of catering. Unfortunately, in 2016 he had to start all over after going through a divorce. “God got my attention. I began to pray more and ask God for direction.”. He felt like God was punishing him for not being obedient, but soon came to realize the bad experiences were just inspiration and motivation.

In the beginning of March 2020, he decided to make a post on social media of a dish he made. He posted a different dish online every day for five months, and his consistency paid off. “I can remember God saying, “You post your food, and I will send them to your page.” Next, he rented community kitchen spaces to prepare meals and Emmitt’s Catering was born. There is no set menu. “When a client calls to tell me what they want to eat, it is a good challenge for me to create that experience for them,” he says. Although based in Southland, Texas, Emmitt’s Catering is open to travel with a staff of six people offering personal chef services as well as meal prepping and online cooking classes.

Chef Brandon also finds time to give back to the community by providing meals for frontline workers as well as those experiencing homelessness. He currently has a GoFundMe account called “War Against Hunger” established in November 2020.

Cooking for others gives him a level of satisfaction and pleasure that is indescribable. “When I see the happiness my food brings to people, I can’t pick a favorite dish because it’s trumped by the common feeling of providing their favorite experience,” he shares. “With everything I do, I want people to know that their food was made with love. So, I tell them that with every delivery.”

Moving forward, Chef Brandon plans to take his “experience” around the globe. He is not sure how God is going to connect all those dots, but he knows it will happen. Currently, he is the number one ranked in a nationwide contest called “Favorite Chef”. This win will catapult his vision into place by awarding him a $50,000 cash prize, as well as a feature in Bon Appetite Magazine. When asked how the ranking makes him feel, he responded, “It is not about titles, but more about the inboxes that I am getting with people honoring me and asking my opinion.”

Chef Brandon understands when God gives to you, the more you must give to others. With all of his life experiences, he rose beyond the concrete and proved that all experiences do make you stronger and all gifts will make room for you. You just have to stay focused and stick with it. To learn more about Chef Brandon, please contact him directly, or visit his website.

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