Educator, businesswoman, nutritionist, chef - Angela Bell wears a lot of hats these days. To say her life is a bit on the busy side is to simply state things as they are. She has no regrets, though. As owner and executive chef of Beyond the Bull in Seneca, this chef is on her game with gourmet dishes that are as fresh and flavorful as they are nutritious.
Before healthy eating became synonymous with "clean" eating, Bell introduced what she calls "smart" eating. With a focus on ingredients that reduce inflammation while boosting nutritional value, she creates dishes that diners can savor without guilt. Game, seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables get just the right balance on the plate.
"With few exceptions like olives and crushed tomatoes, nothing is from a box, bag, can or bottle," Bell said. "I turned to game for protein because Americans expect the center of the plate to be protein. And, not to disappoint, I turned to game, which if it is not fed by mankind, is a better choice than beef or pork in terms of longevity and wellness - of humans, that is."
The daughter of an Italian father and Scottish mother, Bell got an early introduction to the joys of cooking.
"Although I learned how to be a chef by attending culinary school, I learned how to cook from my parents," she said. "They were soooooo much better with the use of optimum cooking methods and seasoning than any chef/instructor I have ever known."
Bell's culinary career journey began in kitchens along the Connecticut coast in the 1970s. As a college student, she waited tables and tended bar to make ends meet. After graduation, she embarked on a career as a middle school mathematics teacher, continuing to subsidize her income by working in restaurants during the summer.
Though she was a natural teacher, the traditional classroom was not Bell's idea of a satisfying work environment. After dabbling in a number of other career options in retail, business and manufacturing, she finally realized she was happiest in the kitchen and earned a culinary degree at York County Community College in Maine.
She picked up her career as an educator, but this time teaching culinary skills at various colleges. Author of two books about her nutritional approach to food, the indefatigable Bell continues to offer cooking classes in her spare time. But her crowning career achievement is the wild success of Beyond the Bull, which she opened in 2012 after relocating to South Carolina.