Restaurants

Chupper Time Catering: Taste Alabama in Every Bite

Brandon Crosby’s father was all business—a secret service agent, one of the real-life men in black. That is, until he got home to his Yorkshire Terrier every night. Smokey the Yorkie brought out the sensitive side to Brandon’s father. Every night he asked the dog if he wanted some chupper, a play on the word for supper that became an inside family joke.

“When he was all business, he was all business,” Brandon said. “But he would turn into a sweet little guy when that dog came into the room.”

Years later, after Brandon had gone to culinary school in Gulf Shores and worked as a traveling chef for big-name country stars like Zac Brown Band and Jason Aldean, his wife would look back on the joke and mention that he should name his new catering business “Chupper Time” after his father.

Today, Chupper Time is one of the more popular catering services in the area, thanks largely in part to Brandon’s stint on the Food Network where he won a reality show called “Cooks Vs. Cons.”

Celebrity Cooking

Brandon grew up in Nashville in a home full of southern cooking, but he didn’t realize his passion for food until later on. His friends went off to colleges around the South, and he cooked for them at tailgates. They loved his food, so he decided to turn it into a profession, and Brandon set off for Faulkner State Community College in Gulf Shores to study the ins and outs of professional cooking.

After graduation, he went back to Tennessee to join a catering company that worked with high-end clients like country music stars and professional wrestlers.

“They’re just people, just like you and I,” Brandon said about the celebrities. “They have to eat, and they have their favorites, just like I do. … It was a young man’s game with all the traveling and the partying, but for a small time, I felt like a rock star.”

He worked 20-hour days, getting two hours of sleep only to wake up in a new city and do it all over again. That was fun for a while, but when he reconnected with a high school friend—his now-wife Casey—who was living in Huntsville, he decided it was time to settle down a bit. He moved to Huntsville and started Chupper Time Catering with Casey working the business side.

True to His Roots

Chupper Time started at area farmers’ markets before turning into a full-scale catering service. While they do have a store front now, you can also find them at the Huntsville Hospital Farmers’ Market.

“We try to stay true to the farm-to-table and support our local farmers and local vendors around here as much as we can,” Brandon said. “You can taste Alabama in every bite.”

Farm-to-table—chefs building relationships with farmers—is growing in popularity because it allows chefs to know where their ingredients are coming from while also supporting local farmers.

Eventually, Casey started sending information to the Food Network in hopes of getting Brandon some national recognition. The Food Network originally wanted him for another show, The Next Food Network Star, but Brandon couldn’t leave his family and business for three months for filming.

Producers called him back a week later with a proposition to have him on Cooks vs. Cons.

Contrary to popular belief, “con” is short for “con man” not “convict,” so you don’t need to wonder about prisoners walking around with filet knives. Two professionals and two amateur chefs compete for prize money. If the professional wins, he or she gets $10,000, but if the amateur chef wins, the prize increases to $15,000.

The best part for Brandon was that this show only required one day of filming. He flew up to Jersey City, New Jersey and met his competition—a lawyer from Chicago, the executive chef for the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon and a minor-league professional wrestler.

Brandon’s southern style wowed the judges, landing him a big win on the show. He started with a fried green tomato and pimento cheese breakfast sandwich with apple-smoked bacon and a fried egg for round one before moving on to smoked pork tenderloin over stone-ground, cheddar grits with a maple sauce.

Hungry now? So are we.

“I can do Southern because that’s what I was raised on, but I do a lot of Italian and some Thai and some German,” Brandon said. “I try to spread it out and do all kinds of stuff, but for that show it was a southern thing. That’s what they wanted me to stick to since I was a southern boy.”

While Brandon’s days of celebrity cooking and reality TV might be on hold for a while—his wife is eight months pregnant with their second son—Chupper Time is still going strong.

Meanwhile, Casey seems to have won the pregnant-woman lottery since her chef-husband is ready and willing to make her any dish her cravings desire.

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About the author

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Jessie Harbin

Jessie is a newlywed living in Meridianville with her husband and three dogs. She's learning to sail on their 26-foot sailboat in Guntersville. At the time of publication, nobody has fallen ill because of her cooking.

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