Chef Phalen’s appreciation for fresh, quality ingredients began at a young age while he spent summers on his family’s farm where just-picked peaches and tomatoes off the vine were daily pleasures. He earned a degree in hotel and restaurant management from the University of Mississippi from Johnson & Wales University in Charleston, SC, graduating magna cum laude.
Influenced by culinary greats such as John Currence and Bob Wagner, he settled in Atlanta as Shaun Doty’s protégé at consulting Chef Guenter Seeger’s Mumbo Jumbo. He then became the executive chef for Alon Balshon at his namesake Alon’s and later succeeded Shaun Doty at Atlanta’s magazines restaurant of the year 2003 MidCity Cuisine.
In February of 2008 Chef Phalen opened Holy Taco, a casual Pan Latin restaurant in the heart of east Atlanta. With a top-notch culinary education and a high-profile history under his belt, Chef Phalen remains consistent in his support of sustainability and organic farming. He is a member of the Slow Food Movement and Heritage Foods USA.