Randall Copeland was born and raised in East Dallas. Most of his life has been centered in the restaurant business. Between 1987 and 1989 he attended the culinary program at Skyline High School, it was there that he was introduced to the professional kitchen. Through his twenties he waited tables and cooked in restaurants across Dallas. In 1999, he decided to go back to school and study the Culinary Arts and has never looked back. From 1999-2002 he attended El Centro College in Downtown Dallas. The early part of his culinary career began under supervision of Chef Billy Webb at the Park Cities Hilton. Under Chef Webb he honed his knife skills and learned the basic principles of French and Creole cuisine. From the Hilton he moved to Eastern Hills Country Club in Garland in order to learn different technique and see another side of the business. After three months as a line cook he was promoted to Sous Chef. It was under Chef Keith Champy that he really began to understand the business side of running a kitchen and restaurant. After two years at Eastern Hills he began to get the urge to learn more refined techniques and get into fine dining. Through a friend he was introduced to Colleen O’haire, the Executive Chef of The Green Room, she offered him a Sous Chef position and he accepted. It was at the Green Room where he was first introduced to fresh seasonal ingredients. Since this moment he has been a changed chef. Chef O’haire introduced a new style of cooking that would change his view of food forever. After a trip to Las Vegas in 2004 he was offered a cook’s position at Bradley Ogden inside Caesar’s Palace, a James Beard Award Winning restaurant. Here he worked his way up to Sous Chef after a year and continued at Bradley’s until late 2007. It was here that he met Chef Teddy as well. After returning to Texas he decided that it was time to work for himself and thus the concept for AVA began. With longtime friend and Chef Nathan Tate the two began throwing around ideas and looking for locations. In the meantime, another friend and chef introduced him to chef Graham Dodds of Bolsa, in Oak Cliff, and the two quickly found that their attitude towards food was very similar. Randall worked side by side with Chef Dodds creating local seasonal menus nightly. He worked at Bolsa until his own endeavor made it too much to juggle the two projects.In October of 2008 he left Bolsa, so that he could focus all of his energies toward Restaurant AVA with Nathan Tate.
The stellar service makes a dining experience at Ava worth the drive. Not only do they consistently show an expert grasp of the ingredients and preparation of the dishes, but they have a sincere passion for their jobs. And that gentle soul of a restaurant is something that big money can’t buy these days. 108 S. Goliad St., Rockwall.