National Culinary Arts Month, Part V

National Culinary Arts Month in July recognizes the professional cooks and chefs who bring innovative, and unique cuisine from their kitchens to our tables. Green Energy Biofuel will talk with some of our great chefs to bring attention to their unique styles and environmental focus.

By Stephan Caldwell, 07/30/2020

Simple Twist, Cleveland NC

Chef Nathan Roby and his wife Colleen invite you to Simple Twist, a cafe and bar serving delicious, made from scratch meals unlike any other in Johnston County. Nathan works closely with local farmers and vendors to create fresh and interesting dishes. Our knowledgeable and friendly staff provides superior service, welcoming walk-in guests every day!

Our restaurant is all about family. A simple twist of fate brought us to the North Carolina restaurant business and we bring our honest, hardworking, community-focused, and fun atmosphere to work with us every day. Without the support of our friends, family, and the Cleveland area locals, we would not be here!

Q: What is your philosophy of cooking?

Start with great ingredients. Treat them right. Work with local farmers as much as possible, things that are in season. That is usually the way I start and finish everything.

Q: What is your favorite food to fry?

Potatoes! We make about 100 pounds of hand-cut potatoes every day. Potatoes are interesting just because the washing out of the starch, how much, or how little you rinse them will change the texture of them completely. If you cook them the same way but depending on the chemical makeup of them so to speak, you get a different finished product every time. It’s kind of neat to see the different things that can happen and the way things change, it’s kind of fun!

Pork rinds are good too! You have to do it for 1.5 minutes right on the money! Too long and they get chewy, too short don’t pop upright. It’s one of those things you have to hit right on the money or else it’s a total loss.

Q: Do you have a certain type of cooking oil you like to use when you fry?

We use Whole Harvest brand, expeller pressed, non-GMO cooking oil. We do a ton of frying and filter our fryers daily. We usually are able to get about 6-7 days out of a fryer by taking good care of it, filtering, and using quality oil. A lesser oil would last 2-3 days with that kind of volume.

Q: Why is recycling used cooking oil important to you?

Recycling everything is important to me. We only get ONE planet and it’s important to set examples at the restaurant level for our teams. If we can do it at the restaurant level and get 30 people to do it, you can get 3 people to do it at your house. It all starts somewhere and you have to take baby steps first. Recycling everything is important.


Opening a new restaurant during the Coronavirus pandemic is the most difficult thing I have done in my life! We are glad we finally get here!

Our Experience:

Chef Nate prepared one of my favorites – The Wakesimple twist N’ Bacon burger. The Wake N’ Bacon is either a 5oz or 8ozz burger prepared to order with your choice of cheese, applewood bacon and egg over easy. I chose the yummy NC grown fried sweet potatoes. Another scrumptious culinary success! Check out Simple Twist on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to see the latest happenings. Their website features a user-friendly online ordering system for all 3 locations.