The notion that a woman’s place is in the kitchen is definitely not a new one; however the culinary world can certainly be a boy’s club. Chef Tracey Bloom is challenging that notion, building her reputation as a formidable chef, by working in some of the Southeast’s best restaurants and a stint on Bravo’s Top Chef. As the Executive Chef, Bloom now holds the reins at Ray’s Killer Creek. For those of you who’ve never been to Ray’s or even heard of Bloom, after the upcoming Taste of Atlanta (October 5-7), you’ll be singing her sweet praises. Recently David Atlanta caught up with Bloom to talk about the pressures of being a gay, female chef, her upcoming Taste of Atlanta appearance, her new role as Executive Chef and her Plans for the future.
Bloom says her sexuality doesn’t figure prominently into her culinary identity. When pressed, Bloom says she identifies more as a female chef than anything; she just isn’t concerned with being a gay chef. It seems almost a non-issue for her, as her talent as a chef has clearly out-weighed any stigma that being gay might have caused. Actually, Bloom jokes that being a gay female might have worked in her favor with a lot of her straight male colleagues, “It gives us something in common to talk about,” said Bloom… “GIRLS!”
While admittedly Bloom may not “be as into the gay thing” as her own girlfriend, that’s not to say that she is without conviction for the various causes she believes in. She recently returned from New Orleans where she, along with other Top Chef alumni including Hosea Rosenberg, Grayson Schmitz and Betty Fraser, cooked for the Hope Gala – an event benefiting the American Cancer Society.
Bloom’s resume definitely speaks for itself. Having studied at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, Bloom made her way to Atlanta and cut her teeth at some of Atlanta’s elite institutions such as Pano’s and Paul’s, 103 West, and Nava working under some of the best chefs in the city.
After spending some time in Winter Park, Florida opening up Luma, a Concentrics Group restaurant, Bloom returned to Atlanta to Table 1280 where she received, what she called, her first “big girl” review from acclaimed food critic Meredith Gold. “It was very exciting and a lot scary,” Bloom admitted, but the review turned out to be great and just added another feather to her cap, so to speak.
In between Table 1280 and her current post at Ray’s Killer Creek, Chef Bloom had the opportunity to be on Bravo’s Top Chef. As Bloom recollects her experiences on the show, she remembers that after being sequestered (no TV, no e-mail, no phone calls, and no talking unless you were miked up and in front of a camera…even in the bathroom!) for the six weeks it takes to shoot a season of the show, she feared that no one would remember her. Thankfully that proved not to be the case at all, and soon after her return to Atlanta, she found herself at Ray’s as the new Executive Chef.
While her move from the midtown-dining scene to her new post at an old school style steakhouse well outside the Perimeter might be surprising to some and seem like insanity to others, for her, it’s all about job security, resources, and opportunities to pursue her passions. Even she admits that the transition was a difficult one. “When I got here, I was serving well done steaks and loaded baked potatoes because that’s what people wanted,” Bloom revealed about of her first few months at Ray’s. But, with a million dollar renovation underway and a totally reworked menu featuring a more modern take on traditional steakhouse fare, Bloom is working hard to take Ray’s Killer Creek into a bold and exciting new direction.
As for her future, she says she will be at Killer Creek as long as Ray will have her and is working hard on a new project of her own. Along with her girlfriend, a noted food blogger, Bloom is looking to launch her new blog, “Free Cuisine,” in the next month or so. The site will serve as a resource for chefs and laymen alike looking for creative and tasty ways to “eat free.” No, not meaning without paying for anything, but free of the processed foods or allergens that affects so many diners today.
Bloom has taken the top 8 food allergies and is on a mission to provide exciting and innovative dining alternatives. Bloom, who herself has been soy, corn, and gluten free for some time now, believes that even though you may have dietary restrictions, you should still be able to enjoy food and dine well.
For a chance to try some of Chef Bloom’s sweeter creations, you can head over to the Taste of Atlanta festival in Atlantic Station October 5-7 where she’ll represent Ray’s Killer Creek. Bloom will be on hand serving up the desserts for the Ray’s family of restaurants. Our mouths are already watering for the amazing Panna Cotta (gluten free, of course) and other tasty treats.
Also Bloom encourages readers to find their way out to Ray’s Killer Creek to check out the million-dollar face-lift and the accompanying fantastic new menu she’s created. Of course, she is aware that it might be a stretch for some of you Midtown dwellers to make it so far OTP. To make it worth your while, Bloom extends David Atlanta Readers a personal invitation. “Please mention this article when making your reservation or to your server and I’ll be happy to come out to your table and greet you,” Bloom announced. And not only will you receive personal attention from the chef but, Bloom promises to make a special appetizer tailored just for you (on the house) – definitely worth the drive!!
Executive Chef Tracey Bloom
Ray’s Killer Creek
1700 Mansell Rd, Alpharetta, GA 30004, 30009
Taste Of Atlanta
October 5,6, & 7th
Thoughts or comments? Contact Clayton Morey or visit his website at for more restaurant reviews. Follow Clayton on Twitter