Chef's Table - Warm it up with wood

Vic Cochoff is the founder of Georgia Cabinet & Supply, which does millwork and builds furniture for restaurateurs such as Buckhead Life Group, Bob Amick, Rathbun's, the Grape, and Little Azio.</
How'd you get started?</
I moved to Atlanta from southeast Ohio in 1983. I was doing cable TV installations. There was a fellow with a cabinet shop in the same warehouse. He gave me a shot. It came pretty easy to me.</
[A few] years later, I met Ernie Geyer of Geyer Construction. He saw something in me and we got together with another person doing commercial kitchens. Then I met architect Bill Johnson and struck up a relationship. The rest is kind of history. Geyer focused more on corporate restaurants like Outback and Longhorn. I decided to work as much as I could with smaller restaurants.</
What does wood add to a restaurant?</
For sure, it adds warmth to the environment. We use wood to figure out how to do what the designer puts on paper.</
Any other design considerations when working with wood?</
Sometimes color. At Krog Bar, the designers wanted the walls light, and Kevin [Rathbun] wanted an old-world look. I chose pecky cypress because it is naturally distressed. It grows in the swamp and a fungus invades the trees and creates that look. We bleached it and oiled it to give it a lighter color. It has a lot of natural colors in it: yellow, brown, red, blue. Everyone fell in love with it. For the darker wood, we used walnut.</
Do you have a favorite wood to work with?</
I like taking the lesser grades of lumber — the stuff people throw away — and making something out of it.</
Such as?</
I take wood that used to be used for structures, warehouses, utilitarian stuff, and make it into finishes. Like Grade 3 common cherry, which has knots and defects. But these days people like it.</

Where to Eat
Food Events