We look forward to hosting you soon!
VANA is the second concept from Managing Partner Jayson Whiteside & Chef Owner Michael Noll. VANA translates in Sanskrit to “wooded area of the forest” & that meaning is reflected throughout the entire concept. Wood is an integral part of not only the food & beverage program but also as part of the elements that create this unique space in the Southend Neighborhood.
Michael Noll - Chef
Before opening Bardo, Chef Michael Noll worked in Chicago at Moto, Butter, Schwa & Sous Rising.
Chef Michael Noll sports an impressive résumé that includes some of Chicago’s finest restaurants. Growing up in Pittsburgh, Noll's earliest culinary influences were his grandparents and mother. Watching them cook for him is one of the first memories the chef has of food and cooking, and to this day, Noll considers his mother's food his favorite. His first professional experience happened by chance, when Noll was injured skateboarding and was made to get a job as a kitchen dishwasher by his mother, yet another way she managed to influence his career. Noll recalls chef and owner Michael Barbado as his first mentor during his time working in the kitchen at Peppercorns.
The budding culinarian went on to work at Baum Vivant Restaurant in Pittsburgh, where he served as Sous Chef for two years under the tutelage of Chef Toni Pais. In 2006, Noll went to Chicago and landed at Moto, then one of the most cutting-edge restaurants in the country. He followed this with tenures at Butter, Trenchermen, and Powerhouse, the latter of which he was part of the opening kitchen staff. Next up for Mike was a stint at yet another highly touted Chicago destination, Schwa. Noll worked under the guidance of chef-owner Michael Carlson, whose passion and love for his craft was instilled in this young chef. He also helped open Jam with Chef Jeff Mauro, whom Noll considers a major influence in his career. He worked as Sous Chef at Jam for a year before making his way to Elate, a busy downtown hotel where he started as the Sous Chef until he took over as Executive Chef for two years.
Mike wanted to get back into fine dining and landed a Sous Chef position at an underground dining club called Sous Rising where he worked along with chef Jake Bickelhaupt (former owner of the two Michelin-starred 42 Grams), and who he considers the most influential chef he has had the chance to work beside.
Amanda Britton - Mixologist
Originally from New Jersey, Amanda Britton has been in the food and beverage industry for over 10 years, spending six of them shaking her way through the Queen City. Moving to Charlotte in late 2011, Amanda fell in love with craft beer as breweries were opening all around. A growing passion led her to work behind the bar of respected craft beer bars & then as a Sales Rep for Artisan Beverage Group. She was able to expand her knowledge of not only craft beer but also cider, sodas, & wine. The desire to expand her understanding of how these liquids were made only pushed her further to explore the world of spirits, vermouth, & bitters.
A car accident in March 2016 put things into perspective, and she went back to what she truly enjoyed doing. Missing the feeling of being behind the stick, Amanda began showing the skills she had been acquiring while whipping up cocktails at home. She created signature cocktails while manager/lead bartender at 204 North in Uptown and consulting with Crowntown Collective, spreading spiritous learning through cocktail development, creative beverage catering, mixology classes, and brand spotlighting. Recently named NCRLA Mixologist of the Year, she loves to utilize lesser-known spirits with familiar flavors to help even the most skeptical drinker go out of their comfort zone.
William Underwood - Chef de cuisine
William originally planned on being a ballet dancer. After sustaining an injury that temporarily stopped him from dancing, he picked up a job as a dishwasher at a local burger joint. “Eventually, I found myself thinking about cooking and restaurants every second I wasn’t in class or rehearsal.” He says, “For hours on end, I would research the menus from the greatest chefs in the world.” After spending time working in the best restaurants in NE Florida, William is excited to be a part of the scene in Charlotte. “Sharing a vision with chef Mike and learning from him is an honor.”