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June 12, 2014

Faces of Fauquier: Chef found his calling at age 16

Photo/Cassandra Brown
“As soon as I got into the kitchen, I loved it,” Woody Isaac says. “I never went to culinary school, because I didn’t have the money, but I learned working with different chefs.”
It’s beautiful — the countryside, horses, rolling hills. Great people. I like the fact that it is quiet and locally-driven. Lots of people here are trying to preserve the environment here. It would be nice to keep it beautiful the way it is, not turn it into a city like Gainesville.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
He can whip up shrimp and grits in the blink of an eye.

Woody Isaac also has a passion for cooking up fresh, local cuisine.

As a chef at The Bridge in Old Town, Mr. Isaac creates recipes, prepares food and manages the kitchen.

“Here, we create food that pairs well with wine. It’s a mix of modern American and French. It’s comfort food — shrimp and grits, steak and frites,” he said.

With a history of working in several restaurants, including the former Napoleon’s, his inspiration for cooking began at age 16.

“My dad had a lot to do with it. As soon as I got into the kitchen, I loved it. I never went to culinary school, because I didn’t have the money, but I learned working with different chefs,” Mr. Isaac said.

In November 2012, he qualified as one of eight finalists in the U.S. Foods Next Top Product competition. Mr. Isaac went to Las Vegas for the competition that included his appetizer, chocolate stout beer battered onion rings.

Eventually, he’d like to open his own restaurant, serving comfort food in Fauquier County.

“I like to put money back into the local farms and support the local community.”

• Age
28

• Home
Midland

• Work
Chef de cuisine (second in command) at The Bridge restaurant. (Formerly Iron Bridge Wine Co.) since June 2007. He previously worked at Poplar Springs for 10 months in 2011, at Hunter’s Head Tavern in Upperville for two years and at Napoleon’s from 2002 to 2006.

• Why do you do the job?
I’ve always had a passion for cooking. It’s something I’m good at. I like having leadership in the kitchen. Ultimately, my goal is to open my own restaurant in Fauquier County.

I have been cooking since I was 16. My dad had a lot to do with it. We would cook when I was little. I enjoyed it. As soon as I got into the kitchen, I loved it. I never went to culinary school, because I didn’t have the money, but I learned working with different chefs.

• Family

Father, Philip, who owns Marshall Maters, growing heirloom tomatoes ; older brother, Yannick; 4-year-old son, Drake, and grandmother, Jane Weatherford.

• Education
Fauquier High School, 2003.

• How long have you lived in Fauquier?
Since I was 8 years old, 20 years. I have lived all over Fauquier County.

• Why do you live here?
My family is a big part of it. I love the area. It’s quiet. I consider myself a country boy.

• How do you describe this county?
It’s beautiful — the countryside, horses, rolling hills. Great people. I like the fact that it is quiet and locally-driven. Lots of people here are trying to preserve the environment here. It would be nice to keep it beautiful the way it is, not turn it into a city like Gainesville.

• What would you change about Fauquier?
A drive-in theater would be nice.

• What do you do for fun?
I play a lot of basketball. I play Texas Hold’em with my friends.

• What’s your favorite place in Fauquier?
Crockett Park. You can go boating and fishing.

• What will Fauquier be like in 10 years?
Pretty similar to what it is now. There are new wineries opening up all the time. There are a lot of people living in Fauquier who want to keep it from blowing up.

• Favorite TV show?
“Game of Thrones”

• Favorite movie?
“Pulp Fiction.” It’s a classic I never get tired of.

• Favorite book?
“Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card was probably my favorite book growing up.

• Favorite vacation spot?
The Outer Banks, down by Hatteras and Ocracoke.

• Favorite food?
I’m a big seafood guy. I love king crab legs.

• What is the best advice you have ever received? From whom?
Keep an open mind, especially with the work you do in the kitchen. Times are always changing. Don’t let yourself focus on one thing too much. Eric Smith, my friend who is a chef, told me that.

• Who’s your hero and why?
My father. He’s always been laid-back and easygoing like myself. He has always been supportive. He knows what I want to do and he won’t let me give up.

• What would you do if you won $1 million in the lottery?
Open my own restaurant in Fauquier County. I like to put money back into the local farms and support the local community. It would be a local-style restaurant. Where we live in Virginia, comfort food is always a must.

>> Suggest a “Faces of Fauquier” profile subject

Do you know someone who lives in Fauquier County you would like to see in Faces of Fauquier? E-mail Cassandra Brown at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Editor Lou Emerson at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Previous Faces of Fauquier:

• Horses take Tommy Lee Jones all over the county.


• Retired nurse Angela Neal continues to volunteer in hospital ER.

• Gilmer Lee really knows high school sports in Fauquier.

• Stage remains central to Tim Bambara’s life journey.

• Bus driver Melissa Strain’s weekend job all about “fun.”


• Bartender Taylor Edgar has a pretty good standup routine.

• A nomad childhood led Paul Schmeling to start a moving company.


• Adam Lynch’s family owns café with local food focus and a special name.

• Patricia McMahon Rice turns passion for art into her livelihood.

• Cindy D’Ambro works as “director of first impressions” at LFCC.

• Ginger Hilleary leads local literacy organization.

• Farmers with groundhog problems call Rod Kirkpatrick.


• Horses “retire” to work with Jeanne Blackwell.

• Remington cattle farmer Doug Linton loves his home and work.

• Sports central to Robert Glascock’s life’s work.

• For Richard Mast, company ownership started with his summer work as a teenager.

• Bernice Simpson knows northern Fauquier back roads and the people who live along them.

• Eddie Payne has logged 38 years as a volunteer firefighter in Marshall.


• Stephanie Layton turns her lifelong passion for dance into her livelihood.


• Shawn LaRue matches children and adoptive families.


• Biker and psychology major Clif Stroud makes music in a big way.

• Becky Crouch greets lots of visitors.

• She helped blaze trail to equality for black teachers.


• Family and food come first for Marshall pizzeria employee.

• Rural “closeness” of Fauquier appeals to Kansas native

• A “spoke” in the wheel of preservation.

• His job dovetails with passion for hunting

• Veteran educator sees the potential in every child.

• His passions: Fixing cars and helping people


• Habitat ReStore volunteer appreciates Fauquier’s diversity.


• Dad’s example led to new career at Fauquier Hospital.

• He lives and works in a beautiful place.

• The Goldvein firehouse ranks as his favorite place.


• Pretty things everywhere she looks.

• Through scouting, he encourages girls to explore.

• One day, he might run the company.


• FISH volunteer likes to help others.

• She sees the community’s generosity.

• Cop patrols while most people sleep.


• Pastor a constant in Calverton.


• She keeps the courthouse spotless.


• He loves working working outdoors at the park.


• She sees “everyone” at Carousel

• Library assistant works in a “fun place"

• Hat lady sets up shop in Old Town Warrenton

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