In the culinary realm of Atlanta, Chef Julian Parker stands out as a captivating force of flavor and inspiration. At just 30 years old, Parker weaves together a tapestry of Latin American, European and Asian influences, captivating taste buds with every bite as the visionary Executive Chef at The Select. His remarkable journey from Medellin, Colombia, to Sandy Springs showcases his unwavering determination and passion for exploration. Through his dishes, Chef Julian reveals the tantalizing beauty of cultural fusion, embodying perseverance, kindness and boundless creativity.
Who has been the most influential person in your life?
My mother has always been my greatest mentor. From the time I was 10 years old, I cooked alongside her as her sous chef and was as passionate about cooking as she was. I was the only kid in my neighborhood who knew how to cook great Chinese food as well as Latin American cuisine, and this always made me feel special. She always let me find my own path and never encouraged to go into nor dissuaded me from a culinary career. I originally got my degree in international business, and only when I was 20, on a trip to Argentina, did I reconnect with my passion for cooking.
How have you used your diverse culinary background to bring something new to Atlanta?
I grew up in Colombia and bring the Latin American flavors of my heritage to my food. In culinary school, we learned European techniques and flavors, and I have always had a passion for Asian cuisine. Each of these cuisines are represented in the dishes that I create at The Select. For example, the short rib dish that is on the menu now is primarily a French dish, as it has confit of both duck and potatoes, but the salsa verde and pink mole bring a Latin American flair to the dish. I love when one dish represents so many cultures.
What’s the most memorable journey you’ve taken?
I love to travel and have quite often since first leaving Colombia at 20. Traveling often helps with my work/life balance. Our Damsel team recently took a trip to St. Barts to do research on the Cabaret Supper Club concept that we are opening in The Works later this year. To be part of this team and bringing a new concept to Atlanta is such a beautiful thing.
Outside of your role at The Select how do you take care of yourself?
I love traveling, climbing and kayaking. I make sure that I have time every day to spend with my husband and on my days off we really connect through going out to explore new restaurants and hiking with our adventurous Blue Tick Coon Hound. I also think meditation is a great way to create balance in your life, and I try to incorporate it into my life on a daily.