Bryan and Shara Kilby, chefs/owners of The Water Oak Restaurant, both credit their passion for the culinary arts to their upbringing. Both their families ate, as a family, at the dinner table every night. Shara experimented frequently in the kitchen with her parent’s constant support while Bryan’s memories are of enjoying his mother’s, and grandmother’s great southern home-cooked meals. Bryan came up from the bottom in restaurants starting as a dishwasher and eventually becoming a kitchen manager. After securing a job at The Richmond Hill Inn, under Chef Robert Carter, Bryan was inspired by Chef Carter’s unique talent and ability to make food something more than food. At this point culinary school was the only option. Bryan and Shara both received their formal training at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College in the rigorous and well regarded Culinary Program. It was during this time that Bryan honed his skills as a Chef winning first place in the State Jr. Hot Food Competition and a gold medal in the Southeast Regional Jr. Hot Food Competition. Shara’s specialty is baking and pastry arts including magnificently decorated wedding cakes. Bryan’s focus is Southern Cuisine in the preparation of which he employs many classic Mediterranean techniques. Carried over from their schooling to The Water Oak is the belief in using only the freshest ingredients of the highest quality and that everything should be made from scratch.
Bryan and Shara, when asked about the impetus for The Water Oak, say they were blessed with an unbelievable opportunity that could not be ignored. The Tanner Family, owners of the complex in which The Water Oak is located, have greatly assisted in making the dream a reality in a comfortable, elegant environment. They are both very excited about the opportunity to be somewhat the “pioneers” in bringing the type of restaurant and high quality found at The Water Oak to Rutherford County.
Bryan and Shara greatly enjoy serving The Water Oak’s clientele and intend to continue improving the quality of food and service that is so appreciated by those who experience it