Travel Experience, Local Ingredients key to Chef’s success

By / Photography By Erica Hilbert | March 14, 2018
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Chef Christopher Mengless
Chef Christopher Mengless

Chef Christopher Mangless of Three Three Five restaurant in Green Bay would tell you he’s been cooking pretty much his entire life.

He told the sweetest story about himself at age 6. He and his neighborhood friend made a brunch for their parents. They cooked homemade doughnuts, peaches and cream, turkey sausages and mimosas. Of course, the parents had to pay for the groceries to eat at the boys’ restaurant, but nonetheless at 6 years old, Mangless was standing on a chair, deep frying homemade doughnuts.

Mangless learned how to cook by working with his father, who had learned from his father (owner of former Widow Jones Bakery in De Pere). Mangless continued cooking through his high school years at local restaurants before he left his hometown and ended up in the culinary arts program at Denver’s Johnson and Wales University. He admits he loved living in Denver and had the opportunity to work for some of the most renowned restaurants in the area and under some of the best chefs.

From there, his title as “Traveling Chef’” began. He worked in a variety of major cities from Florida to Chicago and back to Green Bay, where he realized that while working for other people, he had a true passion for doing his own thing and staying creative. In his first year back home in Green Bay, Mangless started hosting dinner parties in people’s homes while still working in other restaurants. This put Mangless into the situation of working seven days a week, 30 days a month, and eventually led to the understanding that he no longer wanted to live this way.

Although Mangless wanted to move back to Denver, a few circumstances made him stay in Green Bay. A large factor was that he wanted to still be able to travel and experience the different cultures and environments that would be offered to him. He wanted to have his own restaurant as well. While most chefs would think there’s no way they can have a restaurant and be able to travel while cooking, Mangless found a way to do both.

The Traveling Chef is Mangless and his team traveling everywhere – cross-state, cross-country, even internationally – to provide high-quality meals to their clients. While travelling, they are building connections and a large web of community that will support, promote, learn, and experience with each other.

These experiences are then able to be brought to the Green Bay community, shared with us and have our culture grow through the events and food Three Three Five provides. The goal is to deliver a sense of community through everything he does. Whether it is here in Green Bay, in San Francisco or anywhere outside or between -- the food he cooks, the people he caters to and the music events he hosts are all adding to a much richer sense of community to the Green Bay and surrounding areas.

Another large reason that Mangless wanted to stay in the Green Bay area was that the resources for him as a chef were much richer in Wisconsin than they were anywhere else.

“The abundance of produce, dairy, lamb, beef, and pork ... The product is superior to anything I’ve worked with across the country. When you’re working for some of the best chefs outside of the Midwest and they’re utilizing products from the Midwest, you realize, “OK, this says something,” he said.

At Three Three Five, Chef Mangless is fortunate enough to have great connections to product grown right in his own “back yard.” With the Wednesday Green Bay Summer Farmer’s Market being right down the street or the Saturday Green Bay Farmer’s Market a few blocks away from the restaurant, the staff at Three Three Five is blessed to have such high-quality products readily available. They have also worked hard to build relationships with some of the area’s gardens. Wednesday night menus might include tomatoes from Ledgeview Gardens, or asparagus from Twin Elm Gardens or a sweet dessert made with Sunny Hill strawberries.

“The majority of the time, the best-tasting food you can get is right in your back yard,” he explained. “Generally speaking, it’s going to be a superior product. If we’re using high-quality ingredients, we can get away with doing little to nothing to those ingredients and really just let the quality shine through our art on the plate.”

The use of these local ingredients not only plays a large factor in how the food tastes, but it also plays into that sense of community that Three Three Five and the Traveling Chef is hoping to accomplish. While trying to keep 80 to 90 percent of all their product local, Chef Mangless of Three Three Five wants to provide his customers with the best-tasting food possible.

Article from Edible Door at
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