Teacher Feature: Chef Payne of the Culinary Program

Leonel Veizaga, Staff Writer

This issue of the Jagwire’s Teacher Feature is putting Chef Payne in the spotlight. Chef Payne has been teaching at Falls Church High School for seven years (this year being the seventh), and I had the opportunity to interview him and ask him some questions about his life, so let’s get started!
What was life like for you growing up?
I was the youngest of four brothers, and I also became spoiled when I was younger. Nobody wanted to mess with me because I had three bigger and older brothers that could make anyone pay for messing around with me. So I guess you could say I had a good time growing up.
Do you have a favorite type of food or dish?
Of course! My favorite food is crab cakes. In fact, when I was working as an intern for a chef whose family owned multiple restaurants in Ocean City, I made a lot of crab cakes, which is a food that is typically associated with the state of Maryland, where Ocean City is located.
Did you participate in any sports back when you were in high school?
Indeed I did. I originally started out playing football, but I was pretty underweight and I thought that wrestling would be a better sport for me to participate in. I absolutely fell in love with wrestling and football though, and it inspired me to become a wrestling coach/chef because it combined the two things that I loved the most: wrestling and cooking. I certainly had a blast back in my high school years.
Do you have a favorite celebrity chef?
Absolutely! Bobby Flay is my favorite celebrity chef. His show, known as “Throwdown¬! With Bobby Flay,” is one of my favorites because each episode, he challenges different cooks who are renowned for making a specific type of cooking or dish to a cook-off. I wish that one day Flay would come into the culinary arts room and challenge me to a food fight (not literally, of course). I’d be honored to go head to head with him when it comes to making a mean batch of crab cakes.
As you can see, Chef/Coach Payne is a man of many talents. If you like to cook or like to wrestle, get to know him better—you’ll be glad you did!

Chef Payne talks about his love for wrestling and the culinary arts.
(Photo by Leonel Veizaga)