Alex’s path to becoming a chef started at the age of 15, working the different stations of the kitchen where he and everyone around him quickly realized he was a natural. That path was not uninterrupted by a number of other ventures, including graduating college with a degree in business marketing, although none of them felt as good as when he was working with and around food. His continued interest in cooking and restaurants carried through from high school to college and beyond, where he excelled in positions like Kitchen Manager and Lead Cook.
A life-altering change came in 2015 when Pennington was promoted to Sous Chef at a newly-opened steakhouse in downtown Indianapolis. He was working harder than ever before despite being physically drained, needing to take breaks frequently and coughing constantly. Pennington was eventually diagnosed with stage four germ cell cancer and started undergoing multiple radiation treatments to reduce a mass in his chest followed by intense chemotherapy for six months. He was fortunate enough to be treated by an oncologist that revolutionized the way germ cell and testicular cancer are treated and has been in remission for almost 4 years. He battled depression after recovery but working in the kitchen was the one place he could go to find joy and forget about everything he had been through.
Pennington currently serves as Executive Chef, Patachou Inc. He oversees all aspects of recipe development, seasonal menu changes, kitchen management, recruitment and back of house development. His cooking philosophy is to use the most sustainable, local when possible, ethically-sourced products in order to deliver the highest quality dishes to customers.
Working cleanly and efficiently is of utmost importance to Pennington, including treating people with respect while demanding great results. He’s passionate about developing young chefs, too. “It’s what keeps the industry going,” he says. “If we take short cuts and don't educate our young cooks, that is when we start to lose the quality and craft that we all love.”
He’s inspired by the camaraderie that cooking creates. “The type of work we do together creates a bond that most people won’t experience outside of the industry,” he says.