Oct. 29, 2016

by Allegra Zamore

Local soul food restaurants could have some competition on their hands if and when Andre Miles-Redmond acts on his dream to go into the business himself, but on a mobile level. He has ambitions to one day own and operate a food truck.

“We have food trucks on Grounds, but nobody is in the area of what I want to do,” said Miles-Redmond. “No one has good comfort food. I am going to keep it simple to start out, maybe with chicken wings or something.”

The defensive tackle from Richmond has always had a vision of success. From committing to play football at UVA to taking steps to keep himself financially secure, he focuses heavily on creating strong roots for the legacy that he will leave.

“Food service is something I’m really interested in, and I would really like to pursue opening a food truck or restaurant,” he said.

Growing up, Miles-Redmond spent a lot of his time hanging around the kitchen with his mother, Valane, who taught him all he knows about cooking.

“I started cooking really early because I was always in the kitchen, and eventually I had to learn how to do it for myself,” he said. “My mom is a great cook. I know everyone says that but she is truly exceptional in the kitchen. I was always there, especially when it came time for big meals. She cooks on a daily basis, but for Thanksgiving and Christmas, she makes big meals when the whole family comes together.”

Miles-Redmond said his favorite thing to cook is anything on the grill, but chicken and seafood are his specialties. His love for his friends, family and the outdoors gives him passion for the craft.

“I like cooking and being outside, hanging out with the people that I love,” said Miles-Redmond. “Even though as a team we go out to eat a lot, we find time to get together and cook. We have definitely done that a lot more this year than we ever have. I think this team is a lot closer now, and we like to find someone who has a grill and spend time together.”

Miles-Redmond appreciates the sense of unity he has with his teammates, something head coach Bronco Mendenhall has emphasized.

“I love to bring people together through food,” said Miles-Redmond. “You can make other people feel good through food. You would be amazed at what it can do for people. I am a firm believer that if you put out good then you will get good back in return.”

The fifth-year senior has already received a bachelor’s degree in African American studies from UVA, and he’s pursuing a graduate degree in sports management from the Curry School of Education to help him get started when he leaves college.

“Reading is another thing I like to do, to keep my mind sharp and my vocabulary strong,” said Miles-Redmond. “I really want to start investing my money as well. You never know what it is going to turn into, but I’m positive that it will help me in the future with the food truck.”

Miles-Redmond has taken that mindset and started setting aside money for the future. He developed a love for traveling during his college recruiting and hopes that this skill will allow him to cross more destinations off of his list.

“When I was younger I saved up a lot, I even had a piggy bank at my grandma’s house,” he said. “I remember saving up 85 dollars and thinking that was a lot. Investing is something new for me that will help me with traveling and in the restaurant business. I have never been complacent. I always want more for myself and to be able to provide for the people who did for me.”

Miles-Redmond’s parents taught him to be smart financially and save what he had for the future. He has been able to follow their example and hopes to build a similar foundation for his own family some day.

“I am following family and friends’ advice [to save money] so that when it comes time to put that money into bigger things, I’ll have a sound foundation to do that,” he said. “Things like that speak to who I am today. This is something I can pass on, whether it is to other people right now or when I have kids of my own. I have always wanted to be able to do things for myself and get things on my own. That is what I live by and what I stand on.”

As for that future food truck he will own, Miles-Redmond says he is not sure what he will name it, but that it will be related to family.

“It will either be named after my mom or maybe just be my name, so that people know where it all started,” he said. “Who knows, I might be here [on Grounds] in a few years with a popular food truck of my own.”

A good soul food truck run by a Virginia football alum, that is something all Cavaliers can sink their teeth into.