Beverage Director/Floor Manager Mikey Kilbourne
Mikey Kilbourne, beverage director and floor manager at One Eared Stag, is young, ambitious and obsessed with food. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and a four-year veteran of Bacchanalia, Mikey is re-writing the cocktail program and service philosophy at Chef Robert Phalen’s Inman Park landmark.
As a teenager, Mikey took over family meal duties from his mother and discovered a passion for cooking and food. A native Atlantan (one of the few), he worked at McKendrick’s while attending Dunwoody High School. His first thought for the future was to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a medical doctor,but as he spent more time and effort in the kitchen, he found that he couldn’t imagine spending his career in another industry.
During his time at the CIA, he took on an externship at Kyma, the Atlanta seafood institution. He received an associate’s degree in Culinary Arts and ultimately graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts Management. He was hired at Bacchanalia almost immediately upon returning to Atlanta. During his time there, he learned about hospitality in one of the region’s great dining rooms, and he was able to develop his own philosophy about service. “Any problems can and should be solved before a diner leaves the restaurant,” says Mikey.
Of course, Mikey also brings a passion for great ingredients and unique flavor combinations to his work behind the bar. Guests will notice his culinary training in the house-made syrups, tinctures, bitters and other cocktail ingredients that ascribe to the One Eared Stag philosophy of making everything on premise from scratch. Mikey will also curate the beer and wine collection, where his experience as the Assistant Sommelier at Bacchanalia will come in handy.
When he’s not at One Eared Stag, you might find Mikey working with clients on private dinners through his company Pilot Light. A passion project that draws on his knowledge of high-level cooking, service and beverage pairing, Pilot Light is an extension of Mikey’s commitment to incredible food experiences that will be on full display at One Eared Stag. To keep up with Mikey, follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
Pastry Chef Kristia Paz
At One Eared Stag, the only constant on the menu is change; that same rule applies to the dessert and brunch selections created by pastry chef Kristia Paz. Every two weeks, Paz wipes the slate clean and introduces three new plated desserts to be served with dinner. During One Eared Stag’s famous weekend brunch, the changes come even quicker: Paz serves a pastry basket with four different baked goods that change every single week. That mandate for change might intimidate a lesser chef, but Paz appreciates the challenge – especially when paired with the creative freedom and trust granted her by owner and chef Robert Phalen. Paz’s only real restriction comes in the form of the seasonal ingredients brought in by Chef Phalen, though those tend to serve more as inspiration than limitation.
For her part, Paz enjoys using classic pastry and baking techniques to create pairings that feel familiar to diners but are presented with an unusual twist. She draws on a well of experience from some of Atlanta’s top dessert destinations, including Restaurant Eugene, where she was part of the opening staff and worked for three years. Prior to One Eared Stag, Paz spent seven years at The Little Cake Bakery, the beloved Buckhead cupcake shop where Jennifer Zyman of Creative Loafing Atlanta hailed Paz for her “wildly creative” creations. At One Eared Stag, her creativity has been allowed to roam beyond the land of cupcakes since 2013.
To see some of Paz’s artful desserts, follow her on Instagram @kris_cha, where she displays a great eye and showcases her photography hobby. Away from work, she likes to relax and spend time with her family. On Sundays after she finishes brunch service, Paz can be found at a weekly dinner with her parents, siblings, and nieces. She doesn’t usually have to cook, but when she does, she’s been known to create a full dessert buffet – whether it’s at home or One Eared Stag, Paz never does anything halfway.
Executive Chef/Owner Robert Phalen
Robert Phalen is the chef and owner of One Eared Stag, the intimate and refined Atlanta restaurant where he cooks with rare creativity and focus. Phalen has earned a reputation for using subtle flavor combinations to create dishes that are surprising yet familiar, delicious and addictive. Despite the ubiquity of “farm to table,” few chefs source their ingredients as locally or sustainably as Phalen – in fact, One Eared Stag was named the best farm-to- table restaurant in Georgia by Travel + Leisure in 2016. He will often challenge diners and win them over, using uncommon ingredients or preparation methods that are too tasty to overthink. Phalen has received acclaim from both diners and critics, and he balances his thoughtful, high-concept cooking with approachable favorites such as Monday Night Fried Chicken and his famed burger, The Meatstick. He received a four-star review from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, was listed among the best brunches in America by Food & Wine and featured on the Food Network show Best. Breakfast. Ever. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter.