Chris Hastings


CHEF/OWNER – Birmingham, AL

Hot and Hot Fish Club

Chris Hastings 2014


Chris Hastings is chef of the nationally-celebrated Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, AL, which he owns with his wife Idie. Located in a historic building on the city’s southside, the award-winning restaurant has earned a reputation for warm hospitality, seasonal cuisine with Southern influences and a beautiful space filled with the work of local artisans. Chef Chris Hastings and Hot and Hot Fish Club have been featured in publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bon Appétit, Food Arts, Nation’s Restaurant News, Santé Magazine, Coastal Living, Metropolitan Home, Executive Traveler, Cooking Light Magazine, Garden & Gun, Time Magazine, Southern Living, and Delta’s Sky Magazine as well as Good Day Atlanta, Good Day Alabama, the Food Network’s Best Of, Top 5 and NBC’s Roker on the Road. In addition Chris has appeared on the Martha Stewart Show and the CBS Early Show. Chef Hastings is a founding chef of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES:  James Beard Foundation Best Chef: South Winner, 2012; Best Chef South Nominee, 2007-2010; Food Network Iron Chef America Winner 2012; Wine Enthusiast Award of Distinction 2007-2010

BOOK:  The Hot and Hot Fish Club Cookbook, A Celebration of Food, Family and Traditions (Running Press 2009)

Chris Lilly



Big Bob Gibson BBQ



Chef Chris Lilly is one of America’s best-known barbecue pitmasters.  Lilly emerged on the barbecue scene in 1992 when he began working for the world-famous Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q restaurant in Decatur, AL.  Lilly is also head chef of the award-winning Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q Competition Cooking Team, and the winner of 10 World BBQ Championships, including three Memphis in May Grand Championships and eight state barbecue grand championships across the Southeast.  Lilly has served as a guest chef at the James Beard Foundation and the American Institute of Wine and Food, was a presenter at the Low-Country and Caribbean Food Conference at Johnson and Wales University, and recognized as a Celebrated Chef by the National Pork Board.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: Memphis in May World Champion 1997, 1999-2001, 2003, 2004; National Barbecue Association’s “Book of the Year” Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book 2009

BOOKS: Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book: Recipes and Secrets from a Legendary Barbecue Joint (Clarkson Potter 2009); Fire & Smoke: A Pitmaster’s Secrets (Clarkson Potter May 2014)

Drew Robinson



Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q

Drew Robinson

A native of Alabama, Drew Robinson cultivated a love of traditional Southern food as a child but felt called to explore what was beyond his home region.  Drew attended the New England Culinary Institute and, after completing his studies, moved to Northern California to work in restaurants that would help to expand his knowledge of technique and ingredient-driven food.  After settling back in Birmingham, Drew started working with legendary Southern chef, Frank Stitt at Highlands Bar and Grill where he rose through the brigade to become chef de cuisine.  Chef Robinson yearned to apply his formal training to traditional Southern food and started working with Birmingham’s Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q, proving that when prepared with great ingredients and care, old, Southern standard recipes are as special as food served in fine restaurants.  Drew loves the ritual of preparing the fire, turning on some great blues music and cooking a pig overnight, waiting patiently for it to reach perfection. 

NATIONAL VISIBILITY:  Featured in FOOD & WINE, Garden & Gun, Food Republic 

Frank Stitt


CHEF/OWNER – Birmingham, AL

Highlands Bar and Grill, Bottega Restaurant, and Chez Fonfon

Frank Stitt_Highlands Bar & Grill 2012

Chef Frank Stitt’s fondness for humble Southern ingredients comes from his own roots in rural Alabama.  Chef Stitt feels “a real spiritual connection to the food and to the land” as a result of his upbringing and supports produce from area farmers markets in his own restaurants as much as possible.  Chef Stitt’s flagship, Highlands Bar & Grill, takes Southern staples and blends them with French sauces and braises creating a new look at Southern tradition.  Chef Stitt is a founding chef of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Outstanding Restaurant Semifinalist, 2009-2013, Outstanding Restaurant Finalist 2014; “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America” inductee, 2011; Outstanding Chef Semifinalist, 2008; Best Chef: Southeast Winner 2001; Esquire   Restaurant Hall of Fame 2011 – Highlands Bar and Grill  

Rob McDaniel


EXECUTIVE CHEF – Alexander City, AL

Springhouse at Crossroads

Rob close

After graduating Auburn University in 2002 with a degree in hotel and restaurant management, Rob studied at the New England Culinary Institute.  Before leaving NECI, Rob moved to Grayton Beach, Florida where he worked for Chef Johnny Earles at Criolla’s.  Upon graduating from NECI in 2004, Rob moved back to the South, where he worked as sous chef for Chris and Idie Hastings at Hot and Hot Fish Club.  In 2007, Rob left the Hastings to continue his culinary path as a chef with Jim ‘N Nick’s BBQ.  Rob began to appreciate the culture behind southern cooking and its methods.  Two years later, Rob was offered the executive chef position at SpringHouse restaurant Russell Lands On Lake Martin.  SpringHouse, opened in 2009, has allowed Rob to express his love for sustainable southern food and the preservation of its methods.  In 2012, Rob became general manager and executive chef of SpringHouse  and in 2013, added general manager of the reborn Kowaliga Restaurant on Lake Martin.

NATIONAL VISIBILITY: James Beard Foundation Best Chef: South Semifinalist, 2013, 2014; Southern Living’s “100 Places to Eat Now.”


Mark Abernathy


CHEF/OWNER – Little Rock, AR

Loca Luna and Red Door Restaurants



Chef Mark Abernathy has more than 40 years’ experience in the restaurant industry as a chef, owner, manager, consultant, and developer.  His numerous critically-acclaimed, award-winning restaurants including Abernathy’s, The Bijou, Juanita’s, Blue Mesa Grill, Bene Vita, Loca Luna, and Red Door have landed him more than 425 televised cooking demonstrations.  Chef Abernathy is a founding chef of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.

NATIONAL VISIBILITY: Featured in Bon Appétit, COOK’S, Delta Sky Magazine, Gourmet, The New York Times, Southern Living, FOOD ARTS, The Washington Post and Food Network’s Rachael Ray’s Tasty Travels.

Rob Nelson


CHEF/OWNER – Bentonville, AR

Tusk and Trotter

Rob Nelson 2014

Rob attended the University of Arkansas and later headed to Boulder, Colorado to attend the Culinary School of the Rockies, a classical French culinary school focused on farm-to-table practice. As part of his culinary school program, Rob also attended Le Marmiton Cooking School in Avignon, France and Universite du Vin in Sousse la Rousse, France, where he studied under several French Master Chefs and Disciples d’Escoffier. While in Avignon, Rob worked at La Mirande, a Michelin 1-star restaurant. In 2011, Rob opened Tusk and Trotter – a casual restaurant with High South cuisine. Much of the menu is sourced locally from farmers and ranchers with whom Rob has spent years collaborating. Rob and Tusk & Trotter are proud members of the Bentonville community. Tusk & Trotter sponsors the Bentonville Farmer’s Market as well as several community events. Rob is a board member for the Bentonville Culinary Arts Commission 

NATIONAL VISIBILITYFeatured in Plate Magazine, Southern Living, and Arkansas Times

District of Columbia

Greg Engert


BEER DIRECTOR – Washington, DC

Neighborhood Restaurant Group: Birch & Barley, ChurchKey, Bluejacket Brewery, and GBD Fried Chicken & Doughnuts


As the beer director for Neighborhood Restaurant Group, Greg Engert draws on his extensive beer knowledge to source beers for the company’s ten concepts.  To create unparalleled selections, Engert sources from both widely and little known breweries around the globe to find the best beers available.  While studying abroad in Munich and Dublin, he cemented his passion for international beer styles, the brewing process, and the history of craft beer.  In 2006, Engert signed on as the Beer Director at beer-centric restaurant Rustico in Alexandria, and worked closely with the team to build a strong selection of craft beers that would both educate and appease every type of beer drinker. Three years later, Engert expanded his position to Beer Director for all of the Neighborhood Restaurant Group.  Engert serves on the Beer Committee for the Good Food Awards, which recognizes artisanal producers who demonstrate dedication to the environment and their communities. Engert newest project Bluejacket, a boutique production brewery and restaurant in Navy Yard district of southeast Washington, D.C.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Outstanding Wine & Spirits Professional, 2012; FOOD & WINE  Sommelier of the Year 2010; Starchefs.com Rising Stars Award 2010


Kathy Morgan, MS






Master Sommelier Kathy Morgan is an award-winning sommelier and wine director.  She currently teaches classes for wine professionals and consumers, and runs her own consulting firm, handling restaurant wine programs and private events.  Morgan has spent the last twelve years working in Washington, DC.  Her experience began at DC’s historic Occidental Grill where she dramatically improved the wine list, and increased the visibility of what had been a struggling wine program.  She later served as sommelier and wine director at other top restaurants in the area, including the elegant Italian, Ristorante Tosca, and the modern American, 2941 Restaurant.  Most recently, she ran the vast and highly esteemed French focused wine program for Michel Richard at Citronelle Restaurant in Georgetown.  Under her direction, 2941, Tosca and Citronelle all earned nominations for “Best Wine and Beverage Program” from the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington.

NATIONAL VISIBILITY: Washington City Paper Best Sommelier in Washington 2010


Katsuya Fukushima


CHEF – Washington, DC

Daikaya Ramen


Katsuya Fukushima 2014


After a fifteen-year tenure with DC-based ThinkFoodGroup by José Andrés, Chef Fukushima left TFG to embark on a new chapter of his prestigious career. Chef Fukushima has spent the past year traveling across the country, delighting peoples’ palates with his charming, playful, and highly personal style of cuisine. Before beginning his whirlwind US tour, Fukushima served as one of Andrés’ closest and most trusted collaborators. In addition to holding positions as Executive Chef of José Andrés Catering by Ridgewell’s, Executive Chef for TFG’s Special Projects, and Head Chef of Café Atlántico, Fukushima played instrumental roles in opening both the critically acclaimed minibar by josé andrés in Washington, DC, and the Bazaar by José Andrés in Los Angeles. He received his formal culinary training at L’Academie de Cuisine. Fukushima has cooked for some of the world’s most influential chefs– such as Ferran Adria, Thomas Keller and David Bouley– and worked alongside other culinary leaders including Andrés, founder of Nuevo Latino cooking Douglas Rodriguez, and Sergi Arola of La Broche in Madrid.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: GQ The 25 Best New Restaurants in America, 2014 

Kyle Bailey



Neighborhood Restaurant Group: Birch & Barley, Bluejacket, ChurchKey and GBD Fried Chicken & Fresh Doughnuts

Kyle Bailey 2014

Kyle Bailey brings an impressive culinary background, a deep commitment to fresh, seasonal ingredients and a passion for beer to his position as Executive Chef of Birch & Barley and ChurchKey in Washington, DC.  Bailey has worked in world-famous luxury resorts in the Caribbean and Florida, as well as several notable New York City destinations before finding his way to the nation’s capital.  Bailey spent three years at Cru, the critically acclaimed, wine focused wine bar and restaurant located in New York City.  In 2007, Bailey headed north to work for renowned chef Dan Barber at his critically acclaimed restaurant, Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Tarrytown, New York. In 2008, Bailey assumed his first executive chef position at Allen & Delancey, a Michelin star restaurant in New York City.  During his tenure, Bailey’s style was quickly defined by his inventive creations and dedication to farm fresh products.  In his position as Executive Chef of Birch & Barley, ChurchKey, Bailey draws from the finer points of his past experiences, melding his farm-to-table approach with the beer-forward mission of both establishments.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: FOOD & WINE The People’s Best New Chef: Mid-Atlantic, 2011


Scott Drewno



The Source by Wolfgang Puck

Scott Drewno 2014

Scott Drewno is the Executive Chef of The Source by Wolfgang Puck, the Modern Asian fine dining restaurant located adjacent to the Newseum in Washington, DC. His cuisine at The Source showcases his expertise with Asian flavors, while the use of local produce and humanely raised animals underscores his commitment to seasonality and sustainability. Chef Drewno’s contemporary interpretations of classic Eastern dishes have garnered The Source accolades from top food publications, such as Travel + Leisure, The Washington Post and Washingtonian Magazine. In 2010, Chef Drewno was named “Chef of the Year” by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. During his career, Chef Drewno has competed in and won numerous culinary events, including the American Institute of Food and Wine’s crab cake competition, DC Central Kitchen’s Capital Food Fight and Cochon 555.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic Semifinalist, 2012, 2013

Tiffany MacIsaac


PASTRY CHEF – Washington, DC

Birch & Barley


Executive Pastry Chef at Neighborhood Restaurant Group, Tiffany MacIsaac is the guiding force behind the groups desserts and baked goods.  MacIsaac devotes an extra dose of her attention to kitchen at Birch & Barley restaurant and ChurchKey where the Executive Chef, Kyle Bailey, also happens to be her husband.  There, she offers an exceptional bread program and creates innovative desserts to complement the cuisine at the beer-centric restaurant.  A graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, MacIsaac began her career as a pastry assistant at the busy Union Square Café in New York, under pastry chef Deborah Snyder, before spending time in the pastry kitchens at ILO and Tuscan Restaurant.  She then rose to the Pastry Chef role at CRU restaurant in New York.  Prior to joining NRG, she was the Pastry Chef at Allen & Delancey, where she created imaginative desserts to complement the restaurant’s modern American dishes. MacIsaac was also responsible for the in-house bread program at the award-winning restaurant. 

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Outstanding Pastry Chef Semifinalist, 2013, 2014; StarChefs.com Rising Star 2010


Andreas Schreiner



Pubbelly Restaurant Group: Pubbelly, Pubbelly Sushi, Barceloneta, Macchialina, Barceloneta South Miami, PB Steak

Andreas Schreiner


Fluent in Spanish, English, German and Italian, Schreiner has over 12 years of food and beverage management experience in four different countries. A graduate of Florida International University’s School of Hospitality Management and Master’s degree in Business Administration from NOVA Southeastern University. Schreiner worked for Barton G catering and Hyatt Corporation before joining Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. He continued his career with Four Seasons in the Bahamas and Costa Rica before returning to Miami. After three years he was recruited to open Elysian Hotel in Chicago. In 2010, Schreiner returned to Miami and Casa Tua with the goal of establishing himself in the city’s growing restaurant industry, and developing his dream of opening and owning a restaurant company of his own. He joined forces with partners Jose Mendin and Sergio Navarro to open the popular Asian-inspired gastropub Pubbelly, as well as SM&N Hospitality Group and Pubbelly Restaurant Group. The group quickly built a restaurant empire.


Andrew McNamara, MS



Premier Beverage


Prior to arriving at Premier Beverage Company, Andrew was a member of the prestigious sommelier team at the Breakers Palm Beach. Shortly after arriving at L’Escalier, McNamara passed the three-part Court of Master Sommelier’s Advanced Sommelier Exam and the following year, he competed in the Finals of the Best Young Sommelier in America Competition. Then in March 2007, he became the 10th person to win the Krug Cup – a prestigious award given to a person who passes the Master Sommelier Exam on the first attempt with the highest score, joining a group of just 13 other individuals who hold that accolade. Andrew oversaw the beverage operations of L’Escalier, a winner of the AAA Five Diamond award and the Wine Spectator Grand Award since its inception in 1981, as well as the Tapestry Bar. Prior to departing the Breakers, he designed and ran the beverage program for the Phillips Point Club by the Breakers.

NATIONAL VISIBILITY: Wine & Spirits Best New Sommeliers 2008; Guild of Sommeliers Board of Directors; Court of Master Sommeliers Americas Board of Directors

Brandon McGlamery



Luma on Park and Prato



After graduating from the California Culinary Academy, Chef Brandon McGlamery passionately pursued his culinary career seeking exposure to both domestic and international techniques and experiences.  He attributes much of his inspiration and success to time spent at notable Northern California dining destinations, including Delfina in San Francisco, French Laundry in Napa, and Chez Panisse in Berkeley.  Additionally, Chef McGlamery apprenticed at Gordon Ramsey in London and Guy Savoy in Paris.  Since 2006, Chef McGlamery has served as the Executive Chef at Luma on Park, where he has assisted the restaurant in achieving much critical acclaim, including top reviews from critics and Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence.  With the opening of his second restaurant Prato, Chef Brandon hosts guests with Italian-inspired plates crafted from market-fresh ingredients authentically prepared in imported Acunto oak-burning ovens. NATIONAL VISIBILITY: Oprah.com, Esquire.com, Huffington Post – Find. Eat. Drink., FoxNews.com, Departures, CNN Eatocracy.  Chef McGlamery is a founding chef of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.


NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef: South Semifinalist, 2013

Clay Conley


CHEF/OWNER – Palm Beach, FL

buccan and Imoto

Clay Conley 2014 (2)


Chef Clay Conley is chef/owner of the acclaimed restaurants buccan and Imoto in Palm Beach, FL – both emphasizing small plates, big flavors. Chef Clay and his restaurants have been recognized in national and international media outlets including Condé Nast Traveler, NY Post, Travel Channel, Miami Herald, Robb Report, Complot, USA Today, Fodor’s, Boston Globe, Taste & Travel, and Wall Street Journal. Travel + Leisure called buccan “the restaurant that kicked off the local culinary revolution.” Buccan is listed as Forbes Travel Guide’s “hottest spot” in Palm Beach and as Esquire’s “Where to Eat in South FL Now,” and has received “Best Restaurant” honors from all area publications. Clay has also cooked on Emeril’s Florida, and been featured on the Food Network and Cooking Channel, The Today Show and Fox and Friends.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef: South Nominee, 2012, 2013

Clayton Miller



Yardbird Southern Table and Bar and 50 Eggs

 Clayton Miller 2014



Executive Chef Clayton Miller brings his culinary expertise and love of the American South to the James Beard-nominated Yardbird Southern Table and Bar in Miami Beach, Florida. Miller, who has worked alongside star chefs Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, and Norman Van Aken, has a culinary background that stems from Georgia, Florida, and Virginia with 20 years of experience. He creates modern takes on classic Southern comfort food and uses local, wholesome ingredients. “Yardbird is known as an innovator in Southern food and drink, making it the perfect place for me to really think outside the box in terms of the cuisine,” says Miller.


NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best New Restaurant Semifinalist, 2012; FOOD & WINE   Best New Chefs 2010; Starchefs.com Rising Chef 2010

Dena Marino



MC Kitchen Miami

Dena Marino 2014


Marino hails from Aspen where she gained reputation as the chef of the much respected D19, Ellina and Ajax Tavern. Marino’s refined taste comes from her three years spent under the tutelage of acclaimed chef and restaurateur, Michael Chiarello.

Marino opened MC Kitchen in Miami’s Design District (November 2012). The cuisine speaks to her rustic Italian approach and showcases modern techniques through the use of seasonal ingredients. Miami has welcomed this bella with headlines touting “Miami’s New Heat” and rave reviews from Lee Schrager, who named it one of 2012’s best new spots.

Marino was spotlighted in Wine Spectator as one of six nationally-recognized Italian chefs and just shy of MC Kitchen’s first anniversary, restaurant critic and international gourmand, John Mariani, named it one of the nation’s Best New Restaurants in Esquire (2013).

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: Esquire Best New Restaurant 2013

Greg Baker



The Refinery


Greg Baker 2014

Greg Baker takes every opportunity to cultivate a new food climate in an area known for having very little culinary creativity. In 2010, Greg opened The Refinery with his wife, Michelle, in Tampa’s historic neighborhood of Seminole Heights. His ever-changing menus incorporate flavors from across the globe and classical French technique, while keeping in mind Florida’s rich history, and has a commitment to resurrecting nearly lost Florida ingredients and cooking techniques.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef: South Semifinalist, 2012, 2013, 2014; James Beard Foundation Best New Restaurant Semifinalist, 2011

Jose Mendin



Pubbelly Group


Jose Mendin 2014

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Jose Mendin began his love affair with food on the vibrant Caribbean island he calls home. Being born amidst a heavy food culture to foodie parents and great-grandmother who was a cooking instructor may have paved his way, but it wasn’t until Mendin went off to college that he picked up a pan and realized he had a talent and adoration for cooking. As culinary director for The Pubbelly Group, Mendin has overseen concept and menu development for all seven concepts and serves as executive chef for Pubbelly, Pubbelly Sushi, PB Steak, Taco Belly and L’echon Brasserie. Locally, nationally and internationally recognized, Mendin’s cuisine has received numerous accolades and awards. The Pubbelly Group continues to garner positive accolades, attention and reviews from outlets such as Travel + Leisure, The New York Times, Food & Wine, Cooking Channel, Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, and due to their important part in the revitalization of the now bustling Sunset Harbour area of Miami Beach, the City of Miami Beach has officially recognized March 13 as The Pubbelly Group Day.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef:South Semifinalist, 2012, 2013, 2014

Laura DePasquale, MS



The Vintner Group

Laura DePasquale


As Senior Vice President/General Manager for Stacole and The Country Vintner, Laura DePasquale, MS is the first woman in the U.S. to lead a major wine & spirits distributor in a major market and the first woman elected Vice Chair of the Court of Master Sommeliers-Americas. DePasquale passed the rigorous Master Sommelier Exam in London, 2004.

Prior to joining the Vintner Group, DePasquale was Vice President of Fine Wine Development at Palm Bay International.

DePasquale also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from American University in Washington, DC and a Master of Fine Arts in Painting from SUNY Purchase.

NATIONAL VISIBILITY: Court of Master Sommeliers Master Sommelier 2004; Vice Chair Court Master Sommeliers 2012

Norman Van Aken


CHEF/OWNER – Orlando, FL

Norman Van Aken Enterprises – Norman’s and Tuyo


Chef Norman Van Aken is known as “the founding father of New World Cuisine.”  He is the sole Floridian to be inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s “Who’s Who of Cooking and Beverage in America.”  In 2006, he was honored as one of the Founders of the New American Cuisine, alongside Alice Waters, Paul Prudhomme, and Mark Miller at Spain’s International Summit of Gastronomy, “Madrid Fusion.”  He was the first chef in America to become a member of the James Beard Foundation’s Board of Trustees and is on the James Beard Foundation’s National Advisory Board.  In addition to overseeing his acclaimed restaurants, he is a member of The Culinary Institute of America’s Latin Cuisines Advisory Council Executive Committee. Chef Van Aken is a founding chef of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.


NATIONAL ACCOLADES:  James Beard Foundation Outstanding Restaurant in America Semifinalist, 2005 – Norman’s; “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America” Inductee, 2003; Best Chef: South Winner, 1997; Book Semifinalist, 2004 – New World Kitchen; Best New Restaurant Winner, 1996 – Norman’s


BOOKS:  No Experience Necessary: The Culinary Odyssey of Chef Norman Van Aken (Taylor Trade Publishing 2013); My Key West Kitchen: Recipes & Stories (Kyle Books 2012); Norman’s New World Cuisine (Random House 1997)

Timon Balloo



SUGARCANE raw bar grill and Bocce Bar


Chef Balloo’s award-winning SUGARCANE raw bar grill was developed in the spirit of “eating well,” a spotlight of signature dishes celebrating unique takes on global cuisine. The restaurant succeeds in capturing Miami’s laid-back nature and South America’s spirit – while playing into the world’s culinary creativity.

The close of 2013 brought the opening of a second location for Balloo, Bocce Bar, located in Midtown Miami just steps for its sister concept. At Bocce Bar, Balloo’s nod to rustic Italian cuisine is developed with the like-minded spirit of good food, drink and relaxation. A stand out so far, the restaurant has opened to rave-reviews, highlighting Balloo’s zeal and vivacity, which are both manifested in the energy of his team, but also in the flavors of his dishes.

Chef Balloo was previously chef/partner of Domo Japones, has worked at SUSHISAMBA restaurants in both New York and Miami as well as acclaimed restaurant concepts La Broche, Azul and Chef Allen.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best New Restaurant Semifinalist, 2011; FOOD & WINE  People’s Best New Chef Nominee, 2012


Anne Quatrano


CHEF – Atlanta, GA

Bacchanalia and Floataway Café





Chef Anne Quatrano lives by turning the basic into the spectacular. From the fifth generation farmland she resides on to the six restaurants she operates with husband Chef Clifford Harrison, she approaches everything with a love for simplicity and all things organic and sustainable. Chef Quatrano has gone on to be recognized nationally not only for her culinary talents, but also for the beautiful homestead she has created with her husband. Chef Quatrano is a founding chef of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival. 


NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Southeast Nominee 2000, 2002; Best Chef: South Winner 2003; Outstanding Chef Semifinalist 2013, 2014; Outstanding Service Semifinalist 2014; Chef Magazine Chef of the Year finalist 2010; FOOD & WINE Best New Chefs 1995; Starchefs.com Rising Stars Award 2007; Women Chefs and Restaurateurs Golden Whisk Award 2008


BOOKS: Summerland: Recipes for Celebrating with Southern Hospitality (Rizzoli 2013)

Asha Gomez


CHEF/OWNER – Atlanta, GA

Cardamom Hill, The Third Space, and Spice to Table

www.cardamomhill.net, www.thethirdspaceatl.com, www.spicetotable.com

 Asha Gomez 2014  

Asha Gomez began introducing Atlantans to the tastes and flavors of Kerala, the southwestern Indian state where she grew up, when she launched the Spice Route Supper Club.  It instantly became one of the can’t-miss events on the food scene.  It was so successful that Gomez took the next step to open a brick and mortar restaurant in early 2012.  Cardamom Hill is named for Kerala’s mountainous, spice-growing region, which departs from the typical Indian restaurant by highlighting ingredients indigenous to the subcontinent’s Southwestern region. It is one of the few upscale restaurants in America to pay homage to this specific region of India, and has gained national recognition from the James Beard Foundation and in major press including: Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Bespoke Magazine, Delta SKY, Southern Living, and more.  Asha opened The Third Space in 2013, an upscale and comfortable home kitchen where she hosts intimate cooking classes where notable guest chefs can test and develop recipes, and private events happen.  Recently Asha announced two new endeavors, a breakfast/lunch spot called Spice to Table opening in March 2014 and Spice Road Chicken opening in Summer 2014 at Krog Street Market.


NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best New Restaurant Semifinalist, 2013; FOOD & WINE People’s Best New Chef Southeast Nominee 2013; Bon Appétit Top 50 New Restaurants nominee 2013; Southern Living The South’s Best New Restaurants NO. 3 2013 



Chris Hall



Local Three, Muss & Turners & Common Quarter

Chris Hall


A partner at Local Three, Muss and Turner’s, and Common Quarter, Chris divides his time between all three kitchens, which is why he has the least hair of the three partners. A self-taught cook, Chris has worked in kitchens from Philadelphia’s Le Bec Fin to Atlanta’s Canoe and 4th & Swift. His culinary style is completely unrestricted and might often be characterized as simple while at the same time a bit irreverent, and always with respect for tradition and method… However you describe it, the net results illustrate imaginative combinations of ingredients, technique and exceptional flavors.

 Chris grew up around the corner from Local Three on Peachtree Battle Avenue and thus really is a local. He now lives in Smyrna with his wife Julie, who you’ll see in the restaurant frequently. An avid Georgia Tech fan, Hall considers home game Saturdays religious ceremonies. You have been warned…

NATIONAL VISIBILITY: 2011 GRACE Award Winner (Georgia Restaurateur of the Year from the Georgia Restaurant Association)

Duane Nutter


CHEF/OWNER – Atlanta, GA

One Flew South



Chef Duane Nutter delivers chef-driven “southernational’ cuisine at One Flew South. Nutter has truly come into his own as one of Atlanta’s most innovative chefs, impressing diners and critics with his signature modern spins on classic dishes for more than 15 years. Chef Nutter began his culinary career in 1994, studying under well-respected Chef Daryl Evans at the Four Seasons Hotel in Atlanta. Chef Nutter went on to work at the Ritz Carlton in Palm Beach, FL before making his next big move in 2004 to Louisville, KY’s Seelbach Hilton’s Oakroom, one of only 48 AAA Five-Diamond restaurants in the world.  Nutter became chef de cuisine and received incredible reviews. In 2006, Nutter was invited to compete on the Food Network’s Iron Chef America and he cooked at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City the following year. In 2008, Nutter became the Executive Chef at One Flew South. He blends Southern ingredients with world influences into the dishes for the first upscale travel-dining restaurant in the world’s busiest airport. Chef Nutter is a founding chef of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival. 


NATIONAL VISIBILITY: James Beard Foundation Outstanding Service 2014; Esquire One of the “Best Bars in America” 2011; FOOD & WINE Best Airport Restaurant in the US 2012

Eric Crane, CWE



Empire Distributors Inc.


Eric S. Crane is a Georgia native and the Director of Training for Empire Distributors, Inc. in Atlanta.  He is also a Certified Wine Educator and an Advanced Sommelier.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: U.S. Sommelier Championship Finalist 2010; Wine Australia Regional Wine Education Ambassador 2008

Eric Wolitzky



Fifth Group Restaurants

Eric Wolitzky 2014


Eric Wolitzky is the Executive Pastry Chef of Fifth Group Restaurants in Atlanta. He is a nationally recognized pastry chef and baker widely known for his appearance on “Top Chef Just Desserts.” Wolitzky previously led the bakery and pastry programs at Cakes & Ale. While there, he received a five-page feature in Bon Appétit and earned a spot on Food & Wine’s “The People’s Best New Pastry Chef” list. The native New Yorker holds a culinary degree from the French Culinary Institute as well as a BFA and MA from NYU. Before moving to Atlanta, Wolitzky worked at Baked in Brooklyn, where he specialized in presenting a modern take on classic American desserts. Wolitzky’s recipes have appeared in national publications including FOOD & WINE, Bon Appétit, O Magazine, Garden & Gun, and Martha Stewart.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: FOOD & WINE  People’s Best Pastry Chef nominee

Ford Fry



The Optimist, JCT Kitchen, No. 246, King + Duke, & St. Cecilia


 Ford Fry by Richie Arpino 1  

Ford Fry’s culinary inspirations cover many years and much of the country: from eating out with his family as a child in Texas, to studying at the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, to spending time as a fine dining chef in Florida, Colorado and California—and eventually as a corporate chef in Atlanta. Although the corporate chef position didn’t last, Fry’s love for Atlanta stuck with him. In 2007, he opened his first restaurant, JCT Kitchen & Bar, which is also home to Fry’s annual Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival. Since then, he’s continued to draw crowds and impress critics with his top-notch cuisine and unique concepts, including Italian-inspired No. 246; award-winning seafood spot The Optimist; and Buckhead-area restaurants King + Duke and St. Cecilia. The talented chef also plans to open new restaurants in Krog Street Market, Inman Park and Alpharetta’s Avalon development this year. Chef Fry is a founding chef of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival. 


NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Outstanding Restaurateur Semifinalist, 2013, 2014; The Optimist named Esquire’s 2012 Restaurant of the Year; King + Duke named one of Esquire’s Best New Restaurants of 2013; The Optimist makes Bon Appétit’s top 10 list of Best New Restaurants 2013; The Optimist included on Condé Nast Traveler’s list of 70 Best Restaurants in the World 2013; StarChefs.com Best New Restaurant Concept Rising Star Award 2007; King + Duke named GQ The 25 Best New Restaurants in America, 2014


Gerry Klaskala




 Gerry Klaskala 2014  

Gerry Klaskala is the chef and owner of Aria, the award-winning Buckhead restaurant known for its modern take on fine American cuisine.  He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and co-owner of Canoe, one of Atlanta’s most celebrated restaurants. Previously, Klaskala was the executive chef at The Buckhead Diner and spent 10 years at the Hyatt Hotels Corporation’s culinary division in Boston and Savannah.  His cuisine has been featured in Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Esquire, FOOD & WINE, The New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and Zagat. He is a founding chef of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, a member of the Vidalia® Onion Committee’s Chefs Advisory Board and on the board of advisors for One Hundred Tables. Klaskala enjoys donating his time to events benefitting organizations such as the Atlanta Community Food Bank, American Heart Association, Georgia Organics and Share Our Strength, among others.


NATIONAL ACCOLADES: Esquire Best New Restaurant 2000

Greg Best



Greg Best 2014 new  


Originally hailing from New York’s Hudson Valley, drinks-man Greg Best has several years of experience in the restaurant industry. He has been oft credited with igniting the craft cocktail movement in Atlanta, and during his tenure as founding partner at Atlanta’s Holeman and Finch Public House, Best earned numerous accolades including two consecutive nominations as a James Beard Awards Outstanding Bar Program semifinalist. A relentless barman at heart, Best’s innovative cocktail recipes can be found in such prominent publications as The PDT Cocktail Book, Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide, and 5 consecutive Food & Wine: Cocktails editions. In an Atlanta TEDxTALK, Best stepped out from behind the bar to deliver a rousing dissertation on “The Role of a Social Chemist,” identifying his craft as one that goes far beyond serving drinks. Through an increasing number of avenues, including an as-yet-unnamed though very-much-underway Atlanta project, Best continues to find time for refreshing spirits. He also likes thunderstorms.  Greg is a founding mixologist of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.


NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation – Outstanding Bar semifinalist (2012, 2013), Playboy – America’s Top 10 Mixologists (2009), Bon Appétit – Bloody Mary (2009)

Justin Amick



The Painted Pin, Concentrics Restaurants


Amick is no stranger to the hospitality business. Part of a “new wave of vino pros” (CNN), he has worked closely with his father, Bob Amick, in their family business of Concentrics Restaurants, which develops nationally successful restaurant concepts across the country. As the manager of Atlanta’s always popular TWO urban licks and General Manager and Beverage Director for Parish Foods & Goods and Chef Richard Blais’ The Spence, where he also created the highly acclaimed and award winning “Tried & True and Leap of Faith” wine program, he is no stranger to success. Prior to joining the family business, Amick worked in Chef Tom Colicchio’s New York CRAFT Restaurant’s and then in the Napa Valley, where he worked for the Trinchero Family Estates’. In Spring 2014, Amick started his own company and opened his first solo venture, The Painted Pin, an upscale boutique bowling entertainment venue in the heart of Buckhead. He also continues to consult and develop Concentrics Restaurant’s wine programs across the country. Currently, Amick is studying for The Court of Master Sommelier’s final intensive Master Sommelier Diploma Examination of which only 215 have passed, worldwide.

NATIONAL VISIBILITY: Rudd Scholarship from The Court of Master Sommeliers in 2011; Atlanta’s Magazine Best Of Awards 2012; Creative Loafing Critic’s pick Best Wine 2012, 2013 – The Spence.

Kevin Gillespie


CHEF/OWNER – Atlanta, GA





Chef Kevin Gillespie’s true passion lies in serving his guests quality food every day. This enthusiasm means incorporating the use of fresh, organic and sustainable ingredients in all of his dishes. In May 2013, he opened his new restaurant, Gunshow, in the Glenwood Park neighborhood of Atlanta. The restaurant features a unique dining style where Gillespie prepares both refined and rustic dishes and sends them out to the small dining room for guests to choose from. The menu is ever evolving with wonderfully delicious food that is seasonally rooted, locally focused and unlimited in its stylistic boundaries.  He is a member of Slow Food Atlanta, Southern Food Ways Alliance, Chefs Collaborative, Georgia Organics, Community Farmers Markets Chefs Advisory Board and the Society for the Preservation of Traditional Southern Barbecue.


NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef of the Year Semifinalist, 2010-2012; Forbes “30 Under 30” 2011; FOOD & WINE People’s Best New Chef Southeast Semifinalist, 2011; GQ The 25 Best New Restaurants in America, 2014


BOOK: Fire in My Belly: Real Cooking (Andrews McMeel 2012)

Kevin Rathbun


CHEF/OWNER – Atlanta, GA

KR Steakbar, Rathbun’s, Krog Bar and Kevin Rathbun Steak


Chef Kevin Rathbun has worked his way up the culinary ladder working under celebrity chefs including, Bradley Ogden, Emeril Lagasse, and Stephan Pyles.  Chef Rathbun introduced the city of Atlanta to Southwestern cuisine working under Pano Karratossos at Nava.  After 30 years in the restaurant business working and learning from others, Chef Rathbun opened his namesake restaurant, Rathbun’s, followed by Krog Bar, Kevin Rathbun Steak and KR Steakbar.  Today, Chef Rathbun continues to be a pivotal and driving force in the local and national restaurant scene.  He has perfected not only his technique in the kitchen, but his passion for owning and operating his own businesses.  Chef Rathbun is a founding chef of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.


NATIONAL ACCOLADES:  FOOD & WINE  Best Steak in the U.S. 2012; Playboy Best Steakhouse in Atlanta 2008; EsquireTop 21 Restaurants in the U.S.  2004; Travel + Leisure Top New Restaurants in America 2004

Kristen Hard



Cacao Atlanta



Kristen Hard’s passion for culinary creativity began at the tender age of five.  That initial curiosity has led to years of rigorous research, which propelled Hard’s success to a level commonly reserved for tenured chocolatiers well beyond her age.  Hard hails from Atlanta and is a true daughter of the South.  It is through her experiences abroad, that the evolution from chef to chocolate maker has taken place.  After college, Hard traveled to Rome and was hired as a private chef aboard boats crossing the Atlantic and sailing the Caribbean.  After returning to Atlanta, Hard began her wholesale company, K Chocolat, in 2004.  Just five short years later, she opened her first storefront, Cacao Laboratoire du Chocolat and Boutique, in Atlanta’s Inman Park neighborhood.  Each step in Hard’s journey has been a progression of getting closer to the source of chocolate.  Hard’s evolution continued as both the first bean to bar chocolate maker in the Southeast and the first female bean to bar producer in the U.S.  Since then she actively sources her own cocoa beans, working hands on with farmers in the harvesting and fermentation process and is heavily involved in elevating cacao farming practices. 


NATIONAL VISIBILITY: FOOD & WINE Top 100 Things to Taste in America 2012; Best New American Chocolate 2011; Small- Batch Superstars September 2010; Best New American Chocolate August 2010; Bon Appétit The Best Chocolates in America 2012

Linton Hopkins



Restaurant Eugene


Chef Linton Hopkins is an Atlanta native with a deep passion for Southern food and beverage traditions.  His commitment to celebrating the rich bounty of Georgia farms is evidenced in each meticulously-and lovingly-created meal.  Chef’s house-made preparations of natural meats and fresh, local product have garnered him national acclaim.  Teaming with his wife, Sommelier Gina Hopkins, Chef also shares his passion for local ingredients with his hometown through the Peachtree Road Farmer’s Market, which he founded.  Chef Hopkins is president of the board of the Southern Foodways Alliance and the founder of the Fellowship of Country Ham Slicers.  Chef Hopkins is a founding chef of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.


NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Southeast Winner, 2012; Best Chef Southeast Semifinalist, 2008-2011; FOOD & WINE Best New Chefs 2009


Michael McNeill, MS



Quality Wine and Spirits



Michael McNeill, MS, was the first (and for several years the only) Master Sommelier in the State of Georgia.  During the last two decades, McNeill has worked alongside numerous world-renowned, five-star chefs including Gray Kunz at Lespinasse, Craig Shelton at the Ryland Inn and Guenther Seeger and Bruno Menard at The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead.  McNeill is a two-time national champion of the “Best Sommelier in America.” He represented the U.S. in two world finals; at the Sopexa Gran Prix du Sommelier in Paris in 1994—which entitled McNeill to serve as President of the Jury for the U.S. competition that followed in 1997—and the Concours Mondial du Sommelier in Tokyo in 1995.


NATIONAL ACCOLADES: American Sommelier Association Best Sommelier in America 1994, 1995; Court of Master Sommeliers Master Sommelier 1993

Olivier Gaupin



Loews Atlanta Hotel




Chef Olivier Gaupin joined the Loews Atlanta Hotel in 2010 as Executive Chef overseeing the hotel’s signature restaurant eleven, Bar eleven, banquet services and catering.  Eleven’s Southern-styled cuisine is prepared in a Mediterranean style with an emphasis on natural ingredients.  A native of Orleans, France and a 1989 culinary graduate of France’s CFA Charles Peguy School, Chef Gaupin permanently relocated to the United States in 1994 and was names executive sous chef at Provence Restaurant in Washington, DC.  In 1996, Chef Gaupin continued his work in hotels and resorts as the Dining Room Chef for the Pfister Hotel Milwaukee, WI, The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta, GA, and The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis, MO. 


NATIONAL VISIBILITY: Maîtres Cuisiniers de France (“Master Chef of France”) inductee 2013

Pano I. Karatassos



Kyma, The Buckhead Life Restaurant Group


Pano Karatassos 2014


As the Executive Chef of Kyma, the Country’s most celebrated and well-respected Greek Seafood Restaurant, Pano I. Karatassos has been instrumental in the modernization and refinement of upscale Mediterranean cuisine, both nationally and internationally.  Prior to assuming his role at Kyma for the past 12 years, Chef Pano spent over a year as Saucier under Chef Thomas Keller at the Michelin 3-Star French Laundry, two years as Saucier under Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten at the Michelin 3-Star Jean-Georges and two and a half years as Tournant under Chef Eric Ripert at the Michelin 3-Star Le Bernardin.  Chef Pano is a founding chef of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.

Chef Pano first started cooking in his father’s company, the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, when he was 16.  He went on to graduate from The Culinary Institute of America in 1996 and from Florida International University (FIU) in 1993 with a degree in Hospitality Management.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: Esquire Magazine Best New Restaurants 2002 – Kyma; Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 2013 – Kyma 

Paul Calvert



Paper Plane and Victory Sandwich Bar


Paul Calvert 2014


Paul hails from Maine, but has called the South his home for nearly half his life. A graduate of the College of Charleston and Georgia State University, with a BA and a MA in English literature respectively, Paul wasn’t clear on how studying Shakespeare would help him discuss the finer points of a good Sancerre or a well-crafted Franconian Lager, or how directing Samuel Beckett’s plays might help him craft a well-balanced Sazerac – and he still isn’t, exactly. However he got here, Paul loves Atlanta and couldn’t imagine serving folks anywhere else.

NATIONAL VISIBILITY: CNN Eatocracy.com – Best US Bars 2013, Imbibe, Garden & Gun, Southern Living, Eater.com National Edition

Shaun Doty


CHEF – Atlanta, GA

Bantam + Biddy and Chick-a-Biddy


Atlanta Chef and Restaurateur Shaun Doty has made significant contributions to the Atlanta food scene since his arrival in 1991. A graduate of Johnson and Wales, Doty spent his formative years working in Charleston, SC, Dallas, TX and New York, NY, and also staged at several Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe, including Comme Chez Soi and Restaurant Troisgros. Upon his arrival in Atlanta, GA, Chef Doty worked with renowned Chef Guenter Seeger at The Ritz-Carlton in Buckhead and Mumbo Jumbo before opening his own restaurants – MidCity Cuisine in 2005, and then Shaun’s in 2006. At Shaun’s, Chef Doty spent four years creating ingredient-driven, seasonal and creative American cuisine that earned him a great deal of praise until he closed the restaurant in 2010 to focus on other endeavors. Currently, Doty is co-owner and executive chef of Bantam + Biddy and Chick-a-Biddy, a whimsical, modern diner, serving classics made with quality ingredients and expert, creative cocktails. Doty is a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and Georgians for Pastured Poultry, and is actively involved in fundraising for causes relating to Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder. Chef Doty is a founding chef of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.


NATIONAL ACCOLADES: Esquire Best New Restaurant, SHAUN’s 2007

Steven Satterfield



Miller Union





Chef Steven Satterfield’s 15 years of experience in restaurants has yielded a fruitful relationship between his culinary talents and the local products of Georgia’s farms, dairies, and creameries.  As a child, Satterfield spent summers in Asheville, NC, with his grandmother, Hilda, who taught him everything from stringing pole beans to making the perfect biscuit.  Her simple approach to cooking, canning, preserving and using local ingredients is a philosophy that he references daily.  Today, Chef Satterfield uses old school cooking techniques with as little manipulation of the freshest ingredients as possible to create and serve dishes at his restaurant Miller Union, which is located on the site of the old Miller Union Stockyards.  Chef Satterfield is a founding chef of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.  


NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Southeast Semifinalist 2013, Best Chef: Southeast Finalist 2014, Best New Restaurant Semifinalist 2010; Esquire Best New Restaurants 2010; Bon Appétit 10 Best New Restaurants in America 2010

Todd Richards



The Shed

todd richards  

Chef Todd Richards’ commitment to using naturally raised or grown ingredients is the cornerstone of his culinary philosophy.  His passion for food as a work of art began at a young age and has translated into his culinary skill and career today.  Chef Richards strives to create the perfect flavor balance in all of his meals, following the idea that every flavor in each ingredient must complement the others.  Chef Richards treats each meal as an exquisite example of his talents and ambitions, reflecting both beauty in presentation and taste.  Chef Richards is a founding chef of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival. 


NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Southeast Semifinalist, 2006 -2008, 2013; Esquire Best New Chef 2011; AAA 5 Diamond Restaurant Award Winner 2004 – 2008; Food Network — Iron Chef competitor 2007


Anthony Lamas


CHEF/OWNER – Louisville, KY



Chef Anthony Lamas’ soulful combination of Latin spice and Southern seasonal ingredients honors the diversity of Kentucky’s culinary traditions at Seviche, a Latin restaurant.  By working with local farmers and committing to sustainable seafood on his menu, Chef Lamas has attracted local and national acclaim, including the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Ambassador award.  Chef Lamas’ appetite for a challenge has led him to participate in several exciting culinary adventures, including a winning performance on Food Network’s Extreme Chef.


NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Southeast Semifinalist, 2010-2012

Coby Lee Ming


CHEF/OWNER – Louisville, KY


Coby Lee Ming 2014


Chef Coby Lee Ming, born in Oklahoma and raised in Louisiana, has cut out a space in the regional culinary world passionately celebrating local ingredients by showcasing them at their very finest. Her ability to reinterpret traditional Southern dishes with creative culinary skills elevates them into delicious and creative casual fine-dining cuisine. This marriage of culinary nostalgia and innovative combinations of ingredients, flavors, and textures is one of the key elements that makes Chef Ming’s menu at Harvest so deceptively brilliant. A deep respect and love for food drives Chef Ming forward in her career. She is a true believer in, and supporter of, the local and regional food movement. Harvest provides the perfect platform for Ming’s passion for celebrating the produce and ingredients of our local farmers. After graduating from Sullivan University.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best New Restaurant Semifinalist, 2012; Bon Appétit Best New Restaurant 2012, FOOD & WINE  Best Southern Food in the U.S. 2012

Edward Lee


CHEF/OWNER – Louisville, KY

610 Magnolia and MilkWood Tap House

Chef Edward Lee



Chef Edward Lee’s story – and his food – could only happen in America.  One part Southern soul, one part Asian spice and one part New York attitude, Chef Lee’s passion for food is only surpassed by his sense of adventure; it is, after all, what brought him to Louisville from a successful career in New York City. Chef Lee’s idiosyncratic culinary style draws inspiration from his heritage, his classical training and his adoptive hometown, while celebrating the best ingredients from local farms. His restaurant 610 Magnolia serves upscale Southern food with an Asian spin. His newest venture, MilkWood, is Chef Lee’s interpretation of Southern bar food with an Asian pantry. Chef Lee is a founding chef of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.


NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef Southeast: Semifinalist, 2010-2013; Best Chef Southeast: Finalist 2014; Best New Restaurant Semifinalist (Milkwood), 2014


BOOKS: Smoke & Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen (Artisan 2013)

Julian Van Winkle


OWNER – Louisville, KY

Old Rip Van Winkle

 Julian Van Winkle  

Julian P. Van Winkle, III is the third generation Van Winkle to produce bourbon whiskey in Kentucky.  He joined his father, Julian, Jr., in 1977.  At that time, Old Rip Van Winkle produced only two labels of their wheated bourbon whiskey.  Since then Julian has added 12-year, 15-year, 20-year and 23-year bourbon labels to the Van Winkle selection of premium bourbon whiskeys.  He has also added a 13-year premium rye whiskey to the whiskey portfolio.  All of these whiskeys have received ratings in the 90’s by the Beverage Tasting Institute in Chicago, with the 20-year, “Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve” receiving a 99 rating.  Van Winkle’s son Preston joined the company in June of 2001, the fourth generation of Van Winkles to venture into the whiskey business.


NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Outstanding Wine & Spirits Professional 2011; Outstanding Wine & Spirits Professional Semifinalist, 2009, 2010; Southern Foodways Alliance – Fellowship of Southern Farmers, Artisans, and Chefs Inductee 2010

Ouita Michel



Holly Hill Inn, Wallace Station Deli and Bakery, Windy Corner Market and Restaurant, Smithtown Seafood, The Midway School Bakery, Chef-in-residence, Woodford Reserve Distillery

Quita Michel

Since 2001, when Chef Ouita Michel and her husband, Chris, opened the Holly Hill Inn in Midway, Ky., she has made locally grown ingredients a priority in her world-class cuisine. Her restaurants have purchased more than $1 million of Kentucky-grown meats, dairy products, fruits and vegetables over the last 12 years. Ouita and Chris are graduates of the Culinary Institute of America in New York. Ouita is a member of Slow Food USA; congregational coordinator of Kids in the Kitchen and free community supper programs for Midway Christian Church; board member of FoodChain, a non-profit food incubator in Lexington, Ky.; and is a member of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, a statewide citizens group working to improve education for Kentuckians. She, Chris and their daughter, Willa, live in a 200-year-old cabin with an expansive garden adjacent to the Holly Hill Inn. 

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Southeast Semifinalist, 2012; Southern Living, “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,”; The New York Times travel guide 36 Hours.


Adolfo Garcia


CHEF/OWNER – New Orleans, LA

High Hat Café, Ancora Pizza, LaBoca Steaks, Gusto at Canal Place




Chef Adolfo Garcia cooks from an historical perspective to bring the old flavors of New Orleans into new dishes made with the freshest seafood and best ingredients.  Growing up a Panamanian in New Orleans, Chef Garcia became aware of the cultural heritage around him and cultivated over time his love of history and food to create the unique experiences he offers at his New Orleans based restaurants.  Chef Garcia’s culinary talents have brought him recognition as one of the best Latin chefs in the country and his fusion of Spanish and Latin American cuisine has set him apart.  Chef Garcia is a founding chef of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.


NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef: South Semifinalist, 2010, 2011; James Beard Foundation Best New Restaurant Semifinalist, 2010; Hispanic Magazine Top 8 Latin Chefs in the Country 2002; FOOD & WINE Best Steak in the U.S. La Boca, 2012

Alon Shaya




 Alon Shaya Web 2014



As a little boy in Philadelphia, Alon Shaya spent most of his time in the kitchen with his mother and grandmother, which instilled in him a passion for cooking.  In 2001, Alon opened Antonio’s Ristorante for Harrah’s at its casino in St. Louis.  He met Octavio Mantilla, General Manager and Co-Owner of Besh Restaurant Group, who lured him to New Orleans.  As Chef de Cuisine at Besh Steak in Harrah’s Casino, New Orleans, Alon worked closely with Chef John Besh.  In 2007, Louisiana Cookin’ showcased him on its cover and in a corresponding feature about five young “Chefs to Watch.” Alon and Chef Besh forged a partnership in 2008 to open Domenica, a family-oriented, authentic Italian restaurant in New Orleans Historic Roosevelt Hotel.  In 2010, Esquire Magazine named Shaya one of four Chefs to Watch. In 2011, the restaurant was awarded “Best Hotel Restaurant” by Gambit Weekly and a Top Ten restaurant in the Times-Picayune’s Dining Guide, and Shaya was named “Chef of the Year” by Eater New Orleans. In 2012 and 2013, Alon was a finalist for a coveted James Beard Foundation Award, in the “Best Chef – South” regional category.


NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef: South Semifinalist, 2012, 2013; Best Chef: South Finalist 2014; FOOD & WINE   People’s Best New Chef Gulf Coast 2013; StarChefs.com Rising Star Chef 2012

Cory Bahr


Restaurant Cotton

Cory Bahr 2014


Chef Cory Bahr sings the praises of North Delta Cuisine in the confident repertoire of dishes at his warm and welcoming Restaurant Cotton, and at the most recent addition to his Monroe, LA family of restaurants, Nonna, a rustic Italian establishment that hit the scene in spring 2014. With a considerable appetite for the area’s culture and cuisine, Bahr exercises great resourcefulness in promoting the local ingredients of his native region, creating honest dishes with a strong sense of place. Along with his buddies the Robertson family of Duck Dynasty fame, Bahr is deeply involved in Monroe’s Downtown Association, and his restaurant is a cornerstone of the town’s recent economic and cultural revival. Bahr, a 2012 Food Network’s Chopped! champion, 2011 King of Louisiana Seafood, presents beautifully executed plates with a focus on the past, but with all the innovation and inspiration of the 21st century – serving up everything that’s important in the South: family ties, culture, and connectedness.


Justin Devillier


CHEF – New Orleans, LA

La Petite Grocery

Justin Devillier Headshot

Justin Devillier grew up in southern California where he spent summers fishing and in the fall and winter he would dive for lobsters just steps from his front door. The bounty of local seafood inspired him to enter the culinary industry and eventually move to New Orleans, where he has deep family roots. Justin arrived in New Orleans in 2003 and started out cooking in the kitchens of Bacco, Stella and Peristyle. Justin joined the La Petite Grocery team in 2004 and in 2007; he was promoted to executive chef. He was named “Chef to Watch” by Louisiana Cookin magazine and the Times-Picayune in 2008. He and his wife Mia bought La Petite Grocery in 2010 and will celebrate La Petite Grocery’s 10th anniversary in March 2013.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef: South Nominee 2012 – 2014

Justin Girouard


CHEF/OWNER – Lafayette, LA

The French Press


Justin Girouard 

A native of Lafayette, LA, Justin Girouard entered the culinary world quite by accident in the fall of 2001, when he moved to New Orleans to attend the University of New Orleans (UNO) and got a part-time job washing dishes at one of the city’s up-and-coming fine dining restaurants, Stella!. Although originally Justin only intended for the job to be a way to pay his bills, he was immediately drawn to the fast-paced atmosphere of the kitchen and to Executive Chef and Owner Scott Boswell’s get-it-right-or-leave attitude.  It didn’t take long for Boswell to notice his new, hardworking dishwasher, who was always eager to go above and beyond his prescribed duties. Recognizing his potential, Boswell took Justin under his wing and began to teach him to cook. Rising from Garde Manger to Sous Chef in two years, Justin dropped out of UNO and turned to full-time cooking as his profession.  In 2009 Justin and his wife Margaret, also a Lafayette native, returned home to open a new staple in the Lafayette restaurant scene.  Located in Lafayette’s rejuvenated and thriving downtown district, The French Press serves breakfast and lunch seven days a week in a casual, family-friendly atmosphere as well as a more formal fine dining dinner menu on Friday and Saturday nights, which allows Justin to showcase the artistic and technical abilities he honed in Southern France.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef: South Semifinalist, 2014

Michael Gulotta






Born and raised in New Orleans, Michael Gulotta began cooking in professional kitchens at age 17 and later graduated from Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, LA.  After working in several area restaurants including Folse’s Lafitte’s Landing, he started at the newly opened Restaurant August under Chef John Besh.  In 2004 he took leave to study and work in the Italian Riviera and the Black Forest of Germany.  After Hurricane Katrina, Michael returned home to help re-open Restaurant August.  In 2007, he was promoted to Chef de Cuisine and led the kitchen for over 5 years, consistently earning positive reviews, establishing relationships with local farmers and utilizing the best local ingredients.  He and his brother Jeff, opened their own restaurant, MOPHO, in January of 2014 with their friend Jeffrey Bybee.  Located in New Orleans’ Mid City, MOPHO strives to be both a true neighborhood restaurant as well as a destination for Southeast Asian inspired cuisine using the Louisiana pantry. 

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Outstanding Restaurant Semifinalist, 2012, 2013 –August

Neal Bodenheimer


MIXOLOGIST – New Orleans, LA

Cure, Fulton Alley and Bellocq



Born in New Orleans, Bodenheimer began working in a bar at age 18. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, he embarked on a trip around the world getting to know the food and beverage traditions of New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Nepal, India, Turkey, and Europe. Hungry to get back to the states, Bodenheimer moved to New York City where he worked for B.R. Guest Corporation, Danny Meyer, and studied under respected mixologists Eben Klemm and Junior Merino. After Hurricane Katrina, Bodenheimer felt the call back to New Orleans, where he opened CURE in 2009.


NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Outstanding Bar Program Semifinalist, 2012, 2013, 2014

Tory McPhail



Commander’s Palace

Air BnB New Orleans MIlan


At Commander’s Palace, Chef Tory McPhail continues the iconic restaurant’s legacy by creating dishes that pay homage to the past, while looking toward the future. Inspired by local, seasonal products, of which 90% are sourced from within 100-miles of the restaurant’s back door, McPhail continues to raise the bar for Commander’s Haute Creole Cuisine. Hailing from Ferndale, WA, he learned to appreciate local food while gathering around the table of his parents’ kitchen. Fueled by his passion for food, and compelled by New Orleans’ history, soul, and Mardi Gras celebrations, he moved upon graduation and at just 19, he was hired by Commander’s Palace’s former Executive Chef Jamie Shannon. Today, McPhail’s dedication to preserving and promoting the cuisine of New Orleans, has garnered him with great acclaim.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Rising Star Chef, 2003, Best Chef: South Nominee, 2011, 2012,  Best Chef: South Winner, 2013, TheDailyMeal.com’s “Best Chef’s in America” 2013

Books: Commander’s Wild Side, 2008


Julie Dalton


SOMMELIER – Baltimore, MD

Wit & Widsdom

Julie Dalton 2014


Julie Dalton discovered her passion for wine while waiting tables in college at Texas A&M University. While holding a full-time career in the Biotech industry, she continued to nurture this passion for twelve years. In 2006, she began moonlighting as a sommelier at Ranazul Tapas and Wine Bistro in Fulton, Maryland until 2010 at which point Julie decided to go into the wine business full time. After a year of working on the supplier side of the industry, she returned to hospitality as a sommelier at the new Four Seasons Hotel in Baltimore. Michael Mina’s Wit & Wisdom is where you will currently find her happily creating synergy with Chef Zachary Mills’ cuisine. Dalton has earned sommelier certifications up to the Advanced level through the Court of Master Sommeliers, and she is a Certified Wine Educator through the Society of Wine Educators. She’s currently in the process of completing her Diploma in Wine and Spirits through the Wine and Spirits Education Trust.

NATIONAL VISIBILITY: Julie has represented the Mid-Atlantic Sommelier community for several competitions including the Chaîne de Rôtisseurs Young Sommelier in 2010, the ICC StarChefs SommSlam in 2013 and 2012, the Guild of Sommeliers’ Ruinart Challenge in 2012, and the Wines of Chile competition in 2013.


Derek Emerson



Walker’s Drive-In and Local 463



Chef Derek Emerson was born and raised in Beverly Hills, CA and later moved to Mississippi as a teenager.  After getting his feet wet in the kitchens of Brick Oven and BRAVO! restaurants, he attended culinary school in Memphis, TN.  Seeking to further hone his skills, Chef Emerson moved to Atlanta and worked at such renowned establishments as Nava, Buckhead Bread Company and Blue Ridge Grill.  He soon accepted the Executive Sous Chef position at Dick & Harry’s.  During his time there, Dick & Harry’s was voted “Best New Restaurant” by Atlanta Magazine.  After six years in Atlanta, he returned to Mississippi to become Executive Chef at a new restaurant, Schimmel’s.  It was at Schimmel’s that Chef Emerson met his future wife, Jennifer.  The two joined forces to purchase a Jackson landmark, Walker’s Drive-In, in 2001.  Under Chef Emerson’s keen eye, Walker’s Drive-In has become a local favorite recognized in local and national publications.


NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef: South Semifinalist, 2008-2010, 2014

John Currence


CHEF – Oxford,  MS

City Grocery


Chef John Currence’s first cooking job was while working offshore as a deckhand on a tugboat in the Gulf of Mexico.  He saw his first kitchen job while in school at the University of North Carolina where he started washing dishes at Bill Neal’s Crook’s Corner.  Chef Currence moved on to the Brennan family of restaurants in New Orleans to open Bacco before finally settling in Oxford in 1992 and opening City Grocery.  Since then, City Grocery Restaurant Group has seen a number of openings, including Nacho Mama’s, Kalo’s, Ajax Diner, City Grocery Catering Company, Bouré, Big Bad Breakfast and Snackbar.  Chef Currence is a founding chef of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.


NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation American Cooking: Book Nominee 2014; Best Chef: South Winner 2009; Best Chef: South Nominee 2006-2008; Esquire Top 10 Best Bars in America 2000


BOOK: Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey: Recipes from My Three Favorite Food Groups and Then Some (Andrews McMeel 2013)

Matthew Kajdan



Parlor Market

Matthew Kajdan 2014

Chef Kajdan’s professional career started around the age of 16 years old at Bravo! Italian Restaurant. Matthew learned under Chefs Louis Larose and Dan Blumenthal who taught him the basics of line cooking and culinary arts. After his years at Bravo!, Matthew went to work in the kitchen of Nick Apostle, where his skills were honed over the next few years. He left his home state of Mississippi in 2006 to pursue a position in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. Matthew worked at the historic Sagamore Hotel. In 2008, Matthew moved back to his home state and returned back to work under his mentor Nick Apostle. In 2011, Matthew went back to work for Dan Blumenthal at Broadstreet Baking Company where he stayed until October of 2012. Currently, Matthew is overseeing day to day operations at Parlor Market where he is the Executive Chef.

NATIONAL VISIBILITY: Featured in Mississippi Business Journal, Sun Herald, Eat Jackson & Jackson Free Press

North Carolina

Andrea Reusing


CHEF/OWNER – Chapel Hill, NC

Lantern Restaurant


Chef/owner Andrea Reusing collaborates with nearby family farms in her marriage of North Carolina ingredients and Asian flavors at her Chapel Hill, NC restaurant, Lantern.  Since opening in 2002, the restaurant has been named one of “America’s Top 50 Restaurants” and “best farm-to-table restaurants” by Gourmet, one of “America’s 50 Most Amazing Wine Experiences” by FOOD & WINE and “Restaurant of the Year” in 2009 by The News & Observer. A 2010 James Beard Nominee, Reusing, partners with local farms on a dinner series, The Lantern Table and serves on the boards of the Center of Environmental Farming Systems and Chefs Collaborative. She has written for Saveur, Domino, Fine Cooking, Gourmet.com and The News and Observer.  Reusing’s first book Cooking in the Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes was published by Clarkson Potter in April, 2011.  She lives with her husband and their children in Chapel Hill.  Chef Reusin is a founding chef of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival. 


NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Outstanding Restaurant Semifinalist, 2013; Best Chef: Southeast Winner, 2011; Best Chef: Southeast Nominee, 2010; New York Times   Most Notable Cookbooks 2011; Gourmet Magazine   Best Farm-to-Table Restaurants 2007


BOOK: Cooking in the Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes (Clarkson, 2011) 

Ashley Christensen


CHEF/OWNER – Raleigh, NC

Poole’s Downtown Diner, Beasley’s Chicken + Honey, Fox Liquor Bar, Chuck’s, Joule Coffee (opening 2014) and Death & Taxes (opening 2014)


The combination of food and community has always played an integral role in Chef Ashley Christensen’s personal and professional life. Chef Christensen began cooking for friends and family in college. Bringing people together at intimate dinner parties helped her recognize her passion for the craft of cooking and sharing food. When Chef Christensen landed her first professional cooking job at 21, she knew she had found her life’s work. In 2007, Chef Christensen opened Poole’s Diner; a former shotgun diner of the same name that had been one of Raleigh’s oldest dining establishments. Christensen has returned Poole’s to its diner roots.  Marrying a clean aesthetic with retro-chic charm, she has restored and highlighted the “bones” of the original restaurant. An ardent supporter of North Carolina farmers, Chef Christensen’s dishes are all inspired by the seasons and reflect the local growers and artisan producers from whom she sources her ingredients. Chef Christensen’s work has gained national attention from Bon Appétit, Gourmet, The New York Times and Southern Living and she holds the title of The Independent Weekly’s “Best Local Chef” four years running. Chef Christensen is a founding chef of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.


NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Southeast Semifinalist, 2010 – 2013; Best Chef: Southeast Finalist 2014; Bon Appétit   Female Chefs of Next Generation 2008

Gary Crunkleton


BARMAN – Chapel Hill, NC

The Crunkleton

Gary Crunkleton 2014


Gary Crunkleton’s first bartending job was around twenty years ago at an undergraduate bar in Chapel Hill, North Carolina as a student at the university. Gary cut his teeth at the busy bar as the co-eds wanted their drinks fast and often. A more civilized and sophisticated bartending opportunity followed as he developed the necessary personal skills of a true barman. Realizing the significance of his achievements as a bartender, Gary opened his own bar, The Crunkleton, in Chapel Hill after more than a third of his life working on his craft. The Crunkleton has become one of the most acclaimed bars in the region by a few of the more popular magazines of the South. When not at the bar following his passion, Gary spends his time with his other loves – an adoring wife, Megan, and their three boys (all under five years old), Montgomery, Hudson, and Beaufort.

NATIONAL VISIBILITY: Southern Living The South’s Best New Bars 2013

Jacob Sessoms



Table Asheville, Tod’s Tasties & The Imperial Life Bar



Jacob Sessoms is a Southerner with French culinary training. His restaurant, Table, located in Asheville, NC, is the result of channeling these two influences into one endeavor and has earned the inventive chef an array of accolades. Nine years into his primary restaurant as executive chef, managing partner & wine director, Jacob and his wife own and manage a cafe and a craft cocktail and charcuterie bar (Tod’s Tasties & The Imperial Life). Even with so much on his plate, he imparts as much passion into his personal life as he does in his work. “I approach my vocation as I do my avocation,” Sessoms says. “My avocation is to exercise, to eat well, & to drink well, and my vocation is to cook, and I approach them as the same thing.” When he’s not at Table, Sessoms still carves out time to run & cycle in the Blue Ridge Mountains and spend time with Alicia and their two sons.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef Southeast Semifinalist 2010

Katie Button


CHEF – Asheville, NC

Cúrate and Nightbell


Chef Katie Button draws her inspiration from an unconventional path that began in a science laboratory and led her to the kitchen. Now, as executive chef for Cúrate bar de tapas and its around-the-corner nightclub neighbor, Nightbell in Asheville, North Carolina, she inspires others to take the road less traveled.

After earning a BioMaster’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from L’Ecole Centrale in Paris and before entering a Neurosciences PhD program, she took a detour. That path included jobs in José Andrés’ restaurants in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, CA; work with Chef Johnny Iuzzini at Jean Georges in New York; and ultimately a seven-month internship in the kitchen of elBulli, Ferran Adrià’s world-renowned Spanish restaurant. It is this unique world view that infuses Chef Button’s creations at Cúrate, where her work has earned national acclaim for its Spanish authenticity and creativity, and at Nightbell, which opened in February 2014 featuring a menu of innovative American bar cuisine complimented by choice selections of cocktails, wine, beer and spirits.

Chef Button has been named a James Beard Rising Star Chef Semi-Finalist for three consecutive years (2012-2014). Her creations have been featured in national publications such as The New York Times, Southern Living and FOOD & WINE.

With all of this to her credit, it is no surprise that Chef Button is working on her first cookbook. The book, which is scheduled for publication in 2015, celebrates the broad appeal of Spanish cooking and shows readers how to re-create and adapt classic dishes in the home kitchen using seasonal local ingredients.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef Semifinalist, 2012 – 2013, Rising Star Chef Finalist 2014;  FOOD & WINE People’s Choice Best New Chef Finalist 2012, 2013

Scott Crawford



The Umstead

Scott Crawford Farm

Executive Chef Scott Crawford leads the helm Herons restaurant at The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, N.C., combining his love of the dining room with his allure in the kitchen.  The Pennsylvania native has made a name for himself in the South, cooking across most of the region, and blazing a trail of culinary prestige everywhere he’s worked.  Under his direction, Herons was named one of 2012’s “101 Best Places to Eat in the World” by Newsweek, in addition to accolades by Food & Wine, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and Southern Living among others.  Formally trained, Crawford credits most of his culinary prowess to his role as stagiaire at restaurants in San Francisco, but most notably at the now-shuttered Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead in Atlanta, under then-Executive Chef Bruno Menard.  “I haven’t looked at food or cooking in the same way since,” says Crawford of his time with Menard.  Crawford is dedicated to utilizing organic produce, farm-raised meats, and local dairy products and he incorporates his passion for them throughout The Umstead’s food and beverage program.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Southeast Semifinalist, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2014; Esquire Best New Restaurant, Georgian Room 2007

Vivian Howard



Chef and the Farmer & The Boiler Room

Vivian Howard 2014

Born in Deep Run, North Carolina to tobacco and hog farming parents, Vivian Howard began her culinary career in some of New York City’s most progressive restaurants. In 2006, Howard returned home with her husband, Ben Knight, to open Chef and the Farmer, a restaurant focused on helping revitalize Eastern Carolina’s agricultural community. Vivian’s restaurants, Chef and the Farmer and the Boiler Room, serve modern regional foods and attract diners from all over the Southeast. She is the mother of twins and the host of the PBS Series, “A Chef’s Life.”

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Best Chef: Southeast Semifinalist, 2012 2013, 2014; StarChefs.com Rising Star of the Carolinas, 2013

South Carolina

Brooks Reitz


OWNER – Charleston, SC

Jack Rudy Cocktail Co., Neighbourhood & Leon’s & St. Alban (Summer 2014)


Brooks Reitz of Charleston, SC is the Founder of Jack Rudy Cocktail Co., producing quality bar goods and all-natural cocktail mixers distributed nationally. At Neighbourhood, he and a partner focus on restaurant design and concept development, and are opening two projects in 2014, Leon’s – a fried chicken and oyster joint, and St. Alban, an all-day cafe and coffeeshop opening in the summer of 2014. As a Contributing Editor of Condé Nast Traveler, Brooks covers food and drink trends in the South and beyond.

NATIONAL VISIBILITY: Featured in Garden & Gun, Condé Nast Traveler, FOOD & WINE

Frank Lee

Frank Lee

CHEF/PARTNER – Charleston, SC

Maverick Southern Kitchens


Chef Frank Lee has a passion for combining French technique with his beloved Southern ingredients. Known as a guiding force in the Lowcountry’s culinary renaissance, Lee has mentored dozens of young chefs. He has also helped grow the businesses of local farmers and crafts people. Local before it was cool, and sustainable before it was sexy, Chef Lee believes in trying the untried and doing the undone. It’s all a far cry from his first professional assignment, when he and his buddies pooled $5,000 to launch a vegetarian restaurant in Columbia, SC. Over the years, Lee traveled to numerous top kitchens throughout France and worked in as many across North America (Le Perroquet and Les Nomades in Chicago, Le Pavillion in Washington, DC, Restaurant Million in Charleston, SC). He has appeared on “ABC’s Good Morning America,” and has thrice served as guest chef at the James Beard House. His Maverick Grits earned a Golden Dish award from GQ Magazine, and he is featured on the “Great Chefs of the South” television series and its corresponding cookbook.


NATIONAL ACCOLADES: Starchefs.com Best Chef nominee 2011; National Restaurant Association Hall of Fame 2010 – Slightly North of Broad; GQ   Golden Plate Award            

Jeremiah Bacon

Jeremiah Bacon

CHEF/CO-OWNER – Charleston, SC

The Macintosh, Oak Steakhouse

Jeremiah Bacon 2014

Jeremiah Bacon is executive chef and partner of The Macintosh and Oak Steakhouse.  Bacon joined Oak Steakhouse in November 2010 where he presents classic steakhouse fare in an impeccable setting in downtown Charleston.  Bacon brought new-American cuisine to an inviting Lowcountry table when they opened The Macintosh in 2011.  A Charleston native, Bacon attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.  After graduating from the CIA in 1999, Bacon worked for legendary restaurants such as River Café and ILO.  Bacon later joined the staff at Le Bernardin and in 2004, was part of the opening crew of Per Se, which along with Le Bernadin, earned Four Stars from the New York Times and Three Michelin Stars. After 10 years in New York, Bacon returned home to the Lowcountry.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Southeast Semifinalist, 2012, 2013, 2014; Esquire Best New Restaurant – The Macintosh, 2012; Bon Appétit 50 Best New Restaurant List – The Macintosh, 2012

Kevin Johnson



The Grocery

Kevin Johnson 2014

Executive chef/owner Kevin Johnson and his wife Susan opened The Grocery in Charleston, S.C. in December 2011. With a menu based on what is available from local and regional farmers and fishermen, the restaurant’s kitchen is stocked with house-made charcuterie and local fish and seafood, and also accommodates an in-house canning program to preserve fresh vegetables and fruits. Garden & Gun’s John T. Edge listed The Grocery as a “Must Eat”. Southern Living highlighted the restaurant in a piece on the South’s Tastiest Town. The New York Times Style magazine featured the restaurant. Television appearances include the Chuck’s Eats the Street on the Cooking Channel and ABC’s The Chew.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Southeast Semifinalist, 2014; 

Matt Lee

Matt Lee 

AUTHOR – Charleston, SC

The Lee Bros.



Matt Lee grew up in Charleston, SC and in 1994 founded the Lee Bros. Boiled Peanuts Catalogue, a mail-order source for Southern pantry staples, with his brother.  Matt Lee and Ted Lee write about food for magazines and newspapers and are the wine columnists for Martha Stewart Living.  Since 2001, they have been contributing editors at Travel + Leisure.  Their first cookbook, The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook, won the Julia Child Award from the IACP and the James Beard Foundation Award for “Cookbook of the Year.”  The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern, their second cookbook, was nominated for a James Beard Award and recently won the IACP award for Best American Cookbook.  They are regular contributors on the Cooking Channel show “Unique Eats.”  Matt and Ted’s recipes and appearance schedule can be found at simplefreshsouthern.com.


NATIONAL ACCOLADES:  James Beard Foundation Cookbook of the Year, Winner, The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook 2007; and The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern 2009


BOOKS: The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners (W.W. Norton & Compnay 2006); The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern: Knockout Dishes with Down-Home Flavor (Clarrkson Potter 2009); The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen (Clarkson Potter 2013)

Michael Kramer



Table 301

Michael Kramer 2014

A graduate of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, Chef Kramer spent his apprenticeship at La Folie restaurant under legendary French chef Roland Passot. Following graduation, he moved on to Wolfgang Puck’s Spago in Los Angeles and then to the famed Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas under celebrity chef Dean Fearing. Chef Kramer was recruited as executive chef for the opening team at the nationally acclaimed McCrady’s in Charleston, S.C. He also served as executive chef during the opening of Voice restaurant at the acclaimed Hotel Icon in Houston. Most recently, he worked with the Compass Group in Houston before joining the team at Table 301 Restaurant Group, where he is currently executive chef of culinary operations.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: Esquire Best New Restaurant 1999, 2008; Travel + Leisure 50 Best New Restaurants 2009

Ted Lee


AUTHOR – Charleston, SC

The Lee Bros.


Ted Lee grew up in Charleston, SC and in 1994 founded the Lee Bros. Boiled Peanuts Catalogue, a mail-order source for Southern pantry staples, with his brother.  Matt Lee and Ted Lee write about food for magazines and newspapers and are the wine columnists for Martha Stewart Living.  Since 2001, they have been contributing editors at Travel + Leisure.  Their first cookbook, The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook, won the Julia Child Award from the IACP and the James Beard Foundation Award for “Cookbook of the Year.”  The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern, their second cookbook, was nominated for a James Beard Award and recently won the IACP award for Best American Cookbook.  They are regular contributors on the Cooking Channel show “Unique Eats.”  Matt and Ted’s recipes and appearance schedule can be found at simplefreshsouthern.com.


NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Cookbook of the Year, Winner, The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook 2007; and The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern 2009


BOOKS: The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners (W.W. Norton & Compnay 2006); The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern: Knockout Dishes with Down-Home Flavor (Clarrkson Potter 2009); The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen (Clarkson Potter 2013)



Andy Chabot

Andy Chabot


Blackberry Farm




Andy has always had an interest in how things taste. After working his way through local restaurants, Andy headed straight for the CIA to round out his education in the culinary arts and restaurant management. After a stint at Little Nell, Andy found his true interest in the front of house. He graduated from the CIA in 2001 and moved to Walland and began his career with Blackberry Farm in 2002. He soon became involved in the young wine program. In less than 6 years, Blackberry’s wine cellar grew from 17,000 bottles to 166,000. With Proprietor Sam Beall’s enthusiasm and passion and Andy Chabot’s talent on the floor, the wine program has become synonymous with the success of Blackberry Farm. Andy has proceeded past the advanced level of the Court of Master Sommeliers Exam and was the recipient of the Michael Biccorsani Scholarship. Andy and the Wine program hold 9 nominations in the Outstanding Wine Service category for the prestigious James Beard Awards. Today, Andy is responsible for all aspects of managing Blackberry Farm’s Grand Award winning wine program.


NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Outstanding Wine Service Finalist 2006 – 2014; Outstanding Restaurant Service 2006; Bon Appétit  Number 1 Food and Wine Resort

Andy Ticer



Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen and Hog & Hominy


 Born and bred Memphians, Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman opened Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen in 2008 to feature innovative Italian cooking rooted in Southern tradition. The Chefs trained at Johnson and Wales University in Charleston, South Carolina and the Italian Culinary Institute in Calabria, Italy. Their newest restaurant, Hog & Hominy, is a wood burning, neighborhood eatery and has been named one of the top new restaurants by GQ Magazine, Southern Living, and Bon Appetit as well as a semi-finalist for Best New Restaurant from the James Beard Foundation, which also named the chefs semi-finalists for the Best Chef: Southeast award for 2012 and 2013. In 2013, they were awarded FOOD & WINE’s Best New Chefs Award and named in Starchefs.com’s 2014 Kentucky-Tennessee Rising Star Chefs. In his review of the restaurants in 2013, Pete Wells of the New York Times called the restaurants “A sibling rivalry worth diving into.”

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Southeast Semifinalist, 2012, 2013, 2014, Best New Restaurant Semifinalist, 2013 – Hog & Hominy; FOOD & WINE Best New Chefs 2013; GQ Most Outstanding Restaurant 2013 – Hog & Hominy

BOOK: Collards & Carbonara: Southern Cooking, Italian Roots (Welden Owen 2013)

Daniel Lindley


Daniel Lindley

CHEF/OWNER – Chattanooga, TN



Daniel Lindley 2014


Chattanooga native Daniel Lindley discovered his passion for cooking as a teenager. After working in local Chattanooga restaurants, Daniel cooked aboard a hospital ship in Europe and West Africa. Upon returning from overseas, he moved to Westchester County, NY to work for Chef Terry Harwood at Harvest on Hudson. He then worked at Gramercy Tavern under Tom Colicchio before returning home for the opening of St. John’s Restaurant in 2000. Lindley’s unwavering commitment to the bounty and heritage of the Southeast has made St. John’s Restaurant one of the top dining destinations in the region. Lindley sold his interest in St. John’s Restaurant and Meeting Place to his former business partner in April 2014. He remains owner and executive chef at Alleia, while also focusing on developing projects. Chef Lindley is a founding chef of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Southeast Semifinalist, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2014

Joseph Lenn



Blackberry Farm


Joseph Lenn 


Joseph Lenn, executive chef of the Barn, leads his team in providing the FoothillsCuisine for which Blackberry Farm has come to be known. Lenn’s team prepares beautifully served multicourse menus, inspired by seasonal, farm-fresh products and produce grown just a few feet away from the Barn in the gardens. A carefully relocated bank barn from the 1800s, the Barn is a visually grand setting in which to relish the earthy delicacies of Blackberry Farm’s bakery, butchery, creamery, and 8,000-square-foot wine cellar. Inspired by his mother and grandmother from a young age, Lenn sought a career in the culinary world. Lenn joined the Blackberry Farm team in 2005 as sous chef, and in 2007 reopened the Main House Restaurant as chef de cuisine before becoming executive chef of the Barn.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef Southeast Winner 2013, Best Chef Southeast Nominee 2012

Kelly English


CHEF/OWNER – Memphis, TN

Restaurant Iris, The Second Line



Chef Kelly English is inspired by the familiar flavors from his childhood in southern Louisiana and incorporates that inspiration into each dish he cooks. Chef English currently implements this inspiration for food and service in his sister restaurants, Restaurant Iris and The Second Line in Memphis, Tennessee. His passion for cooking and commitment to uncompromised service has catapulted him into the national culinary spotlight. English was named “Restaurateur of the Year” by the Memphis Restaurant Association, and appeared on the Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.”  English’s second restaurant, The Second Line, is located right next door to its older sister in Midtown Memphis and continues English’s commitment from Restaurant Iris to use fresh and local ingredients whenever possible on all menu items. Chef English is a founding chef of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation – Best Chef: Southeast Semifinalist, 2010; FOOD & WINE    Best New Chefs, 2009

Michael Hudman


CHEF/OWNER – Memphis, TN

Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen and Hog & Hominy


Born and bred Memphians, Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman opened Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen in 2008 to feature innovative Italian cooking rooted in Southern tradition. The Chefs trained at Johnson and Wales University in Charleston, South Carolina and the Italian Culinary Institute in Calabria, Italy. Their newest restaurant, Hog & Hominy, is a wood burning, neighborhood eatery and has been named one of the top new restaurants by GQ Magazine, Southern Living, and Bon Appetit as well as a semi-finalist for Best New Restaurant from the James Beard Foundation, which also named the chefs semi-finalists for the Best Chef: Southeast award for 2012 and 2013. In 2013, they were awarded FOOD & WINE’s Best New Chefs Award and named in Starchefs.com’s 2014 Kentucky-Tennessee Rising Star Chefs. In his review of the restaurants in 2013, Pete Wells of the New York Times called the restaurants “A sibling rivalry worth diving into.”

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Southeast Semifinalist, 2012, 2013, 2014, Best New Restaurant Semifinalist, 2013 – Hog & Hominy; FOOD & WINE Best New Chefs 2013; GQ Most Outstanding Restaurant 2013 – Hog & Hominy

BOOK: Collards & Carbonara: Southern Cooking, Italian Roots (Welden Owen 2013)

Tyler Brown



Capitol Grille


Chef Tyler Brown was named executive chef at the Capitol Grille after serving three years as chef de cuisine for the establishment.  During his tenure, the Capitol Grille has not only earned the Four Diamond designation from the AAA, but was voted one of the best new restaurants in the U.S. by Esquire and one of America’s best restaurants by Gourmet, 2004.  Prior to his position with Capitol Grille, Brown was an executive chef at Southern Comforts BBQ & Soul in Charlotte, NC, sous chef at Fearrington House in Chapel Hill, and chef de partie at Peninsula Grill in Charleston, SC.  He has taking on the unofficial title of “Head Farmer” at the garden Brown has started at the historic Glen Leven farm.  He is a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance, and is currently on the board of the Slow Food USA – Nashville Chapter.  Chef Brown is a founding chef of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.


NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Southeast Semifinalist, 2010-2013; AAA Four Diamond designation – The Capitol Grille; Esquire Best New Chef to Watch 2011; Esquire “16 Geniuses Who Give Us Hope: Chef” 2010



Andrew Wiseheart




Andrew Wiseheart 2014 


Andrew Wiseheart is the co-owner and Executive Chef of Contigo Austin. As a native of West Texas who trained in Michelin rated kitchens across the country, Wiseheart’s approach to cooking combines influences from his ranch-upbringing as well as classic French technique. In 2011 Wiseheart opened Contigo Austin with business partner Ben Edgerton, and he quickly gained notoriety for his thoughtful approach to bar food. Under Wiseheart’s direction, Contigo Austin was named one of the Top 10 New Restaurants in the state by Texas Monthly 2012, was voted the Best New Restaurant in Austin by Culturemap.com.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES:  FOOD & WINE People’s Best New Chef Southwest Winner 2013

Bryan Caswell


CHEF/OWNER – Houston, TX

Reef, Little Big, El Real Tex Mex

 Brian Caswell 2014  

Chef Bryan Caswell’s love for all things scaly is reflected in the menu of his award-winning restaurant Reef. Chef Caswell’s restaurant boasts more species of Gulf fish than any other restaurant in Texas. His culinary skill has been sharpened in waterside hot-spots all over the world from New York to Hong Kong, and Barcelona to the Bahamas. Most recently, Chef Caswell was featured in Food Network’s competitive cooking show, The Next Iron Chef, where he wowed the judges by “looking like a linebacker but cooking like a ballerina.” Chef Caswell is a founding chef of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.


NATIONAL ACCOLADES:  James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Southwest Semifinalist 2010; FOOD & WINE   Best Chef Winner 2009; Travel + Leisure   50 Best New Restaurants 2009; Bon Appétit   Best Seafood Restaurant 2009; Esquire   Best New Restaurants El Real Tex Mex; Starchefs.com Rising Star Restaurateur

Craig Collins, MS



Elm Restaurant Group

Craig Collins 2014


Master Sommelier Craig Collins first became enamored with wine while working at a Texas winery during his college years. This passion inspired him to study abroad in Italy before graduating from Texas A&M University. Upon graduating, he began to refine the professional skills and industry knowledge that would help shape his career. Collins moved to Austin, Texas, in 2005 to manage Prestige Wine Cellars, a boutique wine distributor focused on family-owned-and-operated wineries. His next venture was working as Regional Sales Manager for Dalla Terra Winery Direct, an Italian import company representing some of that nation’s most iconic estates. He currently serves as Beverage Director for ELM Restaurant Group in Austin, Texas. His wife, April, is also a respected member of the wine community.

National Accolades: Court of Master Sommeliers Master Sommelier 2011

Devon Broglie, MS



Whole Foods

Devon Broglie 2014


Devon became a Master Sommelier in 2011, making him one of 212 wine professionals in the world to hold the title. After having worked in restaurants and for a Priorat winery, he began buying wine for Whole Foods Market in 2001. Devon serves on the board of the Wine and Food Foundation of Texas. He’s also served on the advisory council to the Texas wine industry for the Texas Department of Agriculture. He has been an emcee, panelist, guest speaker, judge and contributor to numerous events and publications.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: Court of Master Sommeliers Master Sommelier, 2011

Hugo Ortega


CHEF/OWNER – Houston, TX

Caracol, Hugo’s and Backstreet Café


Hugo Ortega 2014


Hugo Ortega emigrated from Mexico to Houston in 1984 and began work in the industry as a dishwasher/bus boy at Backstreet Café. He moved to the kitchen, graduated from culinary school and became its executive chef/owner. In 2002, to celebrate the food of his homeland, he and wife Tracy Vaught opened Hugo’s, which has been lauded by local, regional, national and international media. Their newest restaurant, Caracol, a Coastal Mexican Kitchen, opened in December 2013 and immediately named a top 10-restaurant opening of 2013 by noted critic Alison Cook.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Southwest Nominee 2012, 2013, Best Chef: Southwest Finalist 2014

BOOKS: Hugo Ortega’s Street Food of Mexico and Backstreet Kitchen: Seasonal Recipes From Our Neighborhood Café (Bright Sky Press 2012)

Kent Rathbun



Abacus, Jasper’s and Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen


Chef Kent Rathbun fosters the philosophy of unsurpassed guest service, quality of food and attention to detail in his many culinary endeavors.  Chef Rathbun cultivated a style of Contemporary Global cuisine and draws on Southwestern, Mediterranean, American, Cajun/Creole and Pacific Rim influences for his signature blend of flavors.  This blend of flavors became the foundation for Chef Rathbun’s restaurant Abacus and he has evolved this perspective into the “Gourmet Backyard Cuisine” of Jasper’s and the rustic yet elegant home-cooking of Blue Plate Kitchen. Chef Rathbun is a founding chef of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival. 


NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Southwest Nominee 2000-2004; James Beard Foundation Outstanding Service Semifinalist (Abacus), 2014; Esquire Best New Restaurants 2004; Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 2001, 2002

Matt McCallister



FT 33 Dallas

Matt McCallister 2014

Chef and restaurateur Matt McCallister opened his first solo venture, FT33, in October 2012, where he serves seasonally-inspired modern cuisine and showcases the highest-quality products, treats them with respect, and strives for innovation. Before becoming a thoughtfully progressive culinarian in the Dallas dining scene, McCallister was torn between visual and culinary arts. He ultimately chose cooking as a career, even after attending the Metropolitan Arts Institute in Phoenix for fine arts. Throughout his career, McCallister has worked in a number of revered kitchens, including Stephan Pyles Restaurant in Dallas; Grant Achatz’s Alinea in Chicago; and Daniel Boulud’s Daniel in New York. He is a member of Foodways Texas and Southern Foodways Alliance, and actively participates in raising funds for Meals on Wheels.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Southwest, Semifinalist 2014; FOOD & WINE  The People’s Best New Chef Southwest Winner 2013


Aaron Deal


CHEF – Roanoke, VA

The River and Rail

Aaron Deal 2014


Executive Chef Aaron Deal feels at home in Roanoke, where he returns to the South and the roots of his cooking. Growing up in North Carolina, Deal has been at helm of some of the most renowned restaurants in the country accumulating more than a decade of experience in various facets of culinary execution and management. Deal has garnered wide acclaim for his inventive approach to cooking, including being named a “Best New Chef Under 30″ by Chicago Social magazine.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef Semifinalist, 2009

David Guas


CHEF/OWNER – Arlington, VA

Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery

 David Guas 2014  

With a list of accolades you can count past two hands, including being a finalist for both FOOD & WINE’s “People’s Best New Chef” and a James Beard Award, Chef David Guas has been tapped to be the host of a new cooking competition show on the Travel Channel – and it has nothing to do with his indelible impact in the world of desserts. “American Grilled” will feature professional and home cooks from across the country competing against one other for a monetary prize. It will begin airing this summer, 2014. Following his highly-acclaimed, 13-year pastry chef career and critically-acclaimed cookbook, DamGoodSweet: Desserts to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth New Orleans Style (Taunton Press, 2009), the Louisiana native is seen muscling up gumbo to shouting out Louisiana parish names (meaning your order’s up) at his down-home restaurant, Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery. It is a rustic, ‘funkified,’ Southern-style hangout in Arlington, VA, featuring Southern comfort fare and his signature desserts. Guas has in the works a second eatery to open, and this time he’s headed for Capital Hill. The hunting, fishing, Harley-riding chef personality is sharing his highly-praised, iconic Southern dishes and de-mystifying everything from jambalaya, gumbo, and pastry dough to Mardi Gras King Cakes to his fans nationwide.


NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Cookbook Nominee: DamGoodSweet: Desserts to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth, New Orleans Style, 2010; ; FOOD & WINE chose DamGoodSweet as one of the Best Dessert Cookbooks, 2009; FOOD & WINE’s “People’s Best New Chef,” Mid-Atlantic 2011 and 2012; BON APPÉTIT, chosen as one of the “Top Dessert Stars” in the United States in this decade, 2003.


BOOKS: DamGoodSweet: Desserts to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth, New Orleans Style (Taunton Press 2009)

Lee Gregory


CHEF/OWNER – Richmond , Va 

The Roosevelt


Lee Gregory worked under chef Dale Reitzer at Acacia in Richmond, Virginia, for five years before moving to Six Burner (Richmond), Mockingbird in Staunton, and Blue Light Grill in Charlottesville. He returned in 2011 to open The Roosevelt.  The Roosevelt is a neighborhood restaurant in a turn-of-the-last-century building in Church Hill, Richmond’s oldest neighborhood.  Our food is an untraditional celebration of the food of the South, served alongside an all-Virginia wine list, a hearty roster of regional beers, and a selection of craft cocktails that’ll knock your socks off.  The Roosevelt opened in Richmond, Virginia, in July 2011, to public and critical acclaim.  The Roosevelt was named 2012 Restaurant of the Year by Style Magazine, Best New Restaurant in the Region by Richmond Magazine and awarded an Elby as the city’s Best New Restaurant.  The Roosevelt was again awarded Elbys in 2013 for Best Cocktail Program (Thomas “T” Leggett), and in 2014 for Restaurant of the Year and Chef of the Year. Lee Gregory worked under chef Dale Reitzer at Acacia in Richmond, Virginia, for five years before moving to Six Burner (Richmond), Mockingbird in Staunton, and Blue Light Grill in Charlottesville. He returned in 2011 to open The Roosevelt.

NATIONAL ACCOLADES: James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic Semifinalist, 2013, 2014