The Chef Files: Tony Duman, Outer Banks Brewing Station

By on February 5, 2018

By Daniel Lewis

President, Outer Banks Restaurant Association

Tony Duman

Present gig: Executive Chef, Outer Banks Brewing Station
Age: 35
Hometown: Portsmouth, Va.
Years in OBX: 15
Training: A.O.S. Culinary Arts, Art Institute of Atlanta ’02
Style or specialty: Asian and South American
Favorite culinary book: The Flavor Bible (by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg)

What was your path like becoming a chef?
I took a culinary class in high school; it was either that or Chorus. The instructor saw something in me… encouraged me to compete in a C-CAP cooking competition. I won, and it included a partial scholarship for culinary school.

Any defining moments?
Choosing that cooking class in high school instead of chorus…my life would probably be SO different right now.

Why OBX?
Was involved in catering an event at the Currituck Club, All followed from there.

What’s your biggest kitchen pet peeve?
Leaning, not cleaning … drives me crazy!! No matter your scale (position) in the kitchen, line cook, pantry, dish, sous chef … you can always clean.

What’s a food vice that you might not want anyone to know about?
Love Wendy’s hamburgers…they’re the best!

When you’re not working, where can we likely find you?
Walking my dog on the beach or on Jockey’s Ridge. Don’t like sitting around; went stir crazy during the last winter storm!

What seasoning/spice/technique is top in your culinary arsenal?
Anything Latin or Southeast Asian. I love bold flavors … herbs? Cilantro and basil. I could eat Thai food every day.

Top three people living or dead that you would like to dine with and why.
My Grandma — she was a huge influence and she was around at the beginning (of my career) but I’d like her to see how far I’ve come. Sean Brock — cool guy and I’m really starting to discover Southern Cuisine and he’s got such talent. Anthony Bourdin (no explanation necessary).

Favorite OBX restaurant or hangout.
We go in phases — was hitting Eastside in Duck for a while … love those style of flavors. Viva for quick Mexican almost weekly.

What was your last meal (besides the Pumpkin Yogurt right now)?
I usually cook, by my wife Jen made some really good crock pot chicken lettuce wraps last night.

Any regrets in your career path?
I would have liked to travel more in my earlier years. I encourage the younger guys I see to not miss the opportunity.

What food destinations would you liked to visit that you haven’t been?
Charleston, New Orleans, Oaxaca, Thailand.

So you started here at the Brewing Station nine years ago under then Chef Pok, and took over for him after he left to do his own thing. One of the things you started was the Thursday Tapas, which seems popular. What are some of your favorite things about doing that program?
So I started out trying to bring guest chefs from other restaurants in for a little friendly ‘Knife Fight” like the show, but not really a competition. Just wanted to stretch beyond the everyday routine. But it was hard to manage that on a regular basis with everyone’s crazy schedules, so we just did our own tapas with different themes.

Any favorites?
The Vegan tapas are great because it’s a challenge for me, and it’s cool to make non-vegans appreciate that vegan food can simply be delicious. But the Halloween Tapas are a big favorite. It’s fun making semi grotesque looking food delicious and it’s a big house favorite!

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