Brian Paolina, Executive Chef of Lucy’s, in Auburn, AL, discovered his culinary inspiration through childhood memories made in the kitchen with his mom. By age 15, he landed his first job in a kitchen which fueled his determination to turn his passion into purpose, ultimately leading to his enrollment in Culinary Arts at the Art Institute of California.
At Lucy’s, a modern American eatery, Brian taps into his SoCal farming roots to create ingredient-driven, California-inspired cuisine by forging partnerships with local farmers and challenging vendors to source bounty rarely seen in the area. He has elevated the community’s culinary experience by offering dishes such as his current favorite, the Bourbon Miso Wagyu NY Strip, finished with king trumpet mushrooms, charred onion, cherry blossom bok choy, and blistered shishito butter. Lucy’s has won numerous awards and recognitions under his exceptional culinary leadership.
In 2022, Chef Brian Paolina and Lucy’s founder, Lisa van der Reijden, announced two additions to Auburn’s growing food and hospitality scene. Wildchild, a Southern California taco shop, and Little Darling Burger Company, delightfully classic all-American fare. Both were introduced at Hey Day Market, a chef-driven food emporium nestled within the Tony & Libba Rane Culinary Science Center, a first-of-its-kind hospitality education facility at Auburn University. Chef Brian Paolina’s culinary expertise is evident across the board, as he skillfully curates menus that prioritize flavorful, locally-sourced, and ingredient-driven cuisine.
Chef Brian is building a name for himself as a culinary powerhouse while simultaneously changing the face of the restaurant scene in a small Alabama town.