Chef has passion for cooking; calling for service

By Teri Vance

 

2Q.2015.Charlie.kitchenCharlie Abowd, a fourth-generation chef going back to his family in Lebanon, has made a life of feeding people.

“I feed people who want to be fed, and I have a passion for that,” he said. “But my calling is feeding those people who need to be fed.”

Abowd and his wife, Karen, have owned Adele’s Restaurant and Lounge – the restaurant his parents, Paul and Adele, opened in 1977 — for 19 years.

“I use a lot of Middle Eastern family traditions in what I do, even in my mainstream foods,” Abowd said. “I have some classic Lebanese dishes on my menu today.”2Q.2015.Abowd2

The continental restaurant in downtown Carson City has been successful for 38 years, a rare feat in the business world and even more impressive in the food industry.

Abowd, 63, credits several factors, down to the building itself.

“It’s a very attractive building,” he said. “It kind of asks you to come walking in.”

And it continues to be a welcoming atmosphere once you’re inside.

“Adele, my mom, was known as a gracious hostess,” he said. “And now, that’s Karen.”2Q.2015.Abowd1

Most importantly, however, he has had a relentless dedication to the quality of the food.

“I’m always micromanaging every aspect of the the food that comes out of the kitchen,” he said. “We’re always trying new things and refreshing the menu, without totally reinventing the wheel.”

When it comes to getting ingredients, Abowd makes it a point to shop locally. He will often buy a lamb or pig from kids in agriculture organizations like 4-H and FFA.

He goes to local ranches and farms for produce and other meats.

“Socially, it’s just part of what we should be doing,” he said. “There’s a face involved there. You’re making someone sustainable.”

As Abowd’s business has grown, so has his philanthropy. The service he holds most dear is his membership in an informal group that indiscriminately feeds the homeless and hungry every2Q.2015.Abowd3 Sunday.

Abowd and his wife volunteer monthly.

“We don’t try to save anybody. We don’t try to preach religion. We just go to feed,” he said. “If you’re high, we’re going to feed you. If you’re a drug addict, we’re going to feed you. If you’re a prostitute, we’re going to feed you. No questions asked.”

He said the classic face of the homeless — worn and weathered – isn’t always true. He said it’s often a single mother with young children.

Abowd.feature7“They will sit down on the curb and put their plate down in front of them,” he said. “It’s as comfortable as a child sitting down to a dining room table in a middle-class family. Those visions keep you coming back.”

And he will continue to come back.
“My life is not going to be judged by the stack of money I leave behind,” he said. “It’s what we’ve done for the community that counts.”

Adele’s Restaurant and Lounge

1112 N. Carson St.

(775) 882-3353