Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Curtis Duffy knew at a young age that he had a passion for cooking. After completing culinary school, he relocated to Chicago to pursue a career in fine dining at the esteemed Charlie Trotter's. Duffy spent three years at Charlie Trotter's before leaving to work at Trio, where he met Chef Grant Achatz; A few years later both chefs left to open Alinea. Duffy later took his skill set to Avenues, where he garnered many accolades including Two Michelin Stars.
In mid-2011, he left Avenues to begin working on his own restaurant, Grace, which opened in late 2012. At Grace, Duffy's culinary style -- elegant, graceful cuisine -- is showcased. He puts ingredients at the forefront and draws on his wealth of experience in a way that employs technique to enhance flavor.
Since opening Grace on December 11, 2012, Duffy and the restaurant have been awarded many accolades, including Three Michelin Stars in the Chicago 2015 Guide, AAA's Five Diamond Rating, Forbes Travel Guide's 5 Star Rating, Robb Report's Best Restaurant in the World 2013, Chicago Magazine's Best New Restaurant, and Eater National's Chef of the Year.
Colin Bedford is the executive chef of The Fearrington House Restaurant, one of the most venerable farm-to-fork restaurants in the South, where his cuisine interplays the legendary culinary traditions of the American South, local ingredients, and his own English roots.
Anyone who has chatted with 34-year-old Bedford might quickly guess he grew up in England. Bedford’s culinary interests started at an early age, he says, enamored by his mother’s home baking and helping his father water the vegetable garden. After graduating from Yeovil College in Somerset with a Diploma in Hospitality, he took on his first full-time job in 1996.
He became an apprentice at The Castle Hotel, a Norman fortress built in the 12th century, where he worked under esteemed British chef Phil Vickery. The Castle, like Fearrington, is a family-run property, known for fostering up-and-coming chefs.
Bedford joined The Fearrington House in 2005 and was promoted to Executive Chef in 2008. Since then, his exceptional menus have won critical acclaim. The Fearrington House earned a national ranking as one of the top hotel food destinations in the world (Condé Nast Traveler). It is also one of only two inn and restaurant combinations in the U.S. to have the Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond award for both, totaling 10 stars and 10 diamonds. In 2012, Bedford was named a Grand Chef by Relais & Châteaux, the international culinary world’s highest honor. Bedford has since cooked at the Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef dinner in London in 2013 and at Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest in Caramel by the Sea in 2015.
Fearrington House is the only AAA Five Diamond restaurant in the country to be Green Certified by the not-for-profit Green Restaurant Association.
Steven Devereaux Greene is executive chef of The Umstead Hotel and Spa, a Cary, North Carolina hotel lauded for its progressive American regional cuisine. He is responsible for all food and beverage operations, including Herons restaurant, The Bar & Lounge and catering. Greene's passion for using ingredients and products from the rich Piedmont region to drive beautifully refined culinary experiences is evident daily in The Umstead's award-winning dining program.
One of the country's youngest executive chefs to helm the kitchen of a Forbes Five Star or AAA Five Diamond establishment, Greene's tenure with The Umstead began in 2009. During his post as chef de cuisine, Greene guided Herons to its first Forbes Five Star Rating. In 2012 Greene departed to hone his skills as executive chef of Cary's AN New World Cuisine (an), a restaurant that shares ownership with The Umstead. Under Greene's direction an received Five Stars from The News & Observer and was named among "the Triangle's creme de la Creme." Greene returned to manage The Umstead's culinary operations in 2014, and continues to provide creative leadership to an as its culinary director.
His background includes work in some of the country's most celebrated kitchens. After serving as chef de cuisine at the handsomely awarded Dining Room at Woodlands Resort and Inn, in Summerville, S.C., Greene was inspired to open his namesake restaurant, Devereaux's which quickly became a mainstay in Greenville, S.C. Devereaux's would ultimately join the prestigious ranks of the Table 301 Restaurant Group to make way for Greene's first post with The Umstead. Named a "Rising Star" by Restaurant Hospitality in 2008, Greene has twice cooked at the prestigious James Beard House in New York, representing Herons in 2011 and Devereaux's in 2007.
Greene is the consummate southern gentleman and hails from Ninety Six, S.C. He lives in Morrisville, N.C. with his wife, and beyond family and food, his next great passion is guitar, which he has played for over 25 years.
Joshua Hughes, originally from Travelers Rest, SC, found himself in the kitchen at a very early age. He spent numerous hours in his grandmother's kitchen searching the spice cabinets and playing with different flavors and textures. At age 16, he started working at a local steakhouse as a busboy, but would volunteer to help in the kitchen any change he could. After graduating from high school, he knew he needed to start expanding his culinary knowledge from steaks, and began working at several local restaurants, each time learning a new set of skills. In 2006, his culinary career reached a new level when he came across a new restaurant in Greenville, SC called Devereaux's.
Starting out as an assistant to the pastry chef, Hughes quickly learned that he was a part of vision driven by desire. Under the direction of Steven Devereaux Greene and Spencer Thomson, he learned that extreme drive, passion, and effort would be rewarded by creating memories for guests. He quickly worked his way through every station and was promoted to head sous chef.
In early 2011, Hughes made a move and joined the team at the award-winning Herons of the Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, NC. Under the direction of Executive Chef Scott Crawford and a familiar face and old friend, Chef de Cuisine Steven Devereaux Greene, Hughes joined the team as a sous chef. During his tenure, Herons received its Five Star rating and AAA Five Diamond Award. Hughes knew that to improve yourself that you must work with the highest level of culinary talent which the Umstead provided. In 2012, Chef Greene was granted the opportunity to take over AN Cuisines, and he chose Hughes to be his executive sous chef, and eventually chef de cuisine.
When not in the kitchen, Hughes spends his time with his lovely wife, Kristin and their two dogs Lily and Niko.
Mike Lata is Chef/Partner of FIG Restaurant in Charleston, SC, which he opened in 2003 with Partner Adam Nemirow. In December 2012, Lata and Nemirow opened The Ordinary, a classic oyster bar and seafood hall in Charleston's Upper King district, to much local and national acclaim. The James Beard Foundation nominated The Ordinary as Best New Restaurant in 2013, and GQ, Esquire and Bon Appetit also named it one of the best restaurants of the year. FIG was nominated for Outstanding Wine Program in 2014 by The James Beard Foundation.
A native New Englander, Mike started his culinary career at an early age, working in kitchens in Boston, New Orleans, Atlanta and France before landing in Charleston in 1998. Mike is a hands-on, self-taught chef who continues to delight making the most basic things delicious, creating food that is bright, uncomplicated and understated. His longstanding and outspoken commitment to support local farmers, fishermen and purveyors has cemented his position as a notable champion for Charleston's flourishing culinary renaissance. Mike is an active member of the Southern Foodways Alliance, co-founder of the Charleston Slow Food convivial, and the Official Charleston Representative for the Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Nominated in 2007 and 2008 for The James Beard Foundation Award, Best Chef: Southeast, Mike took home the award in 2009. His food, philosophy, and contributions to the Charleston community have earned him recognition on national platform, including coverage in Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Esquire, Garden & Gun, Southern Living, Travel + Leisure, USA Today, The New York Times and many more. Mike competed on the Food Network's "Iron Chef America" and was featured on the same network's "The Best Thing I Ever Ate." He was profiled on Dateline's "Platelist," which described Mike's food as "so good it will buckle your knees." FIG has been consistently voted "Best Restaurant in Charleston" by Charleston City Paper readers and continues to be a favorite local destination. When he's not in the kitchen, Mike can be found hitting the links, riding his prized Ducati motorcycles, or enjoying life with his wife, Emilee, and their son, Henry.
Anthony Lamas' roots in the Latin culinary tradition run deep, as he found his passion for food while working in his family's Spanish restaurant as a child. Likewise, his mother's heirloom recipes sparked his interest in the cuisine of his Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage. By helping to prepare meals on the family farm and participating in Future Farmers of America, Lamas was practicing the "Farm to table" philosophy before it was a national movement. To pursue his dream of becoming a professional chef, Lamas trained with the San Diego Culinary Apprenticeship Program and worked with Jeff Tunks at the Loews Coronado Bay resort. Under Tunks' tutelage, Lamas explored West Coast flavors while developing Pacific Rim recipes, and he credits the acclaimed chef as his mentor.
In 1992, Lamas discovered Louisville, Kentucky as an emerging culinary destination and moved there with the dream of cooking with leading local talent while working toward opening his own restaurant. His style of cooking was unique to the area, and in 2005 he opened Seviche to rave reviews. Early accolades included Lamas being named a "Top Chef to Watch" by Louisville Magazine. Seviche has consistently maintained a four-star rating from the Louisville Courier-Journal, and Latina.com named Lamas a "leader of the Latin food revolution" alongside chefs like Douglas Rodriguez and Jose Garces.
With his passionate nature and engaging personality, Lamas is also a seasoned TV chef — he has won on Food Networks' Extreme Chef, he has appeared on the Cooking Channel's America's Best Bites and he was featured in Back Home, a TV documentary produced by Diego Luna that explored his culinary connections to Mexico. Most recently, he competed on the debut episode of Food Network's Beat Bobby Flay and helped bring new life to a struggling sports bar on an episode of SPIKE TV's Bar Rescue. Southern Living, Food Arts, Bon Appetit and Wine Spectator have also highlighted Lamas' talent.
Lamas has also garnered significant national attention for Seviche. He has cooked at the James Beard House and has been honored numerous times as a James Beard Foundation semifinalist. John Mariani of Esquire said, "Seviche has emerged as one of America's best and most innovative Nuevo Latino restaurants with plenty of the chef's personality in every dish…If you have time for one meal in Louisville, make it Seviche."
In additional to his commitment to spicing up the South with his Nuevo Latino cuisine, Lamas is dedicated to raising awareness of sustainable seafood practices, and his efforts earned him a Seafood Ambassador Award at the 2011 Monterey Bay Aquarium Cooking for Solutions festival. Seviche is now a restaurant partner in the Aquarium's Seafood Watch program.
Lamas is very active on the food festival circuit, including participation in the Taste of Derby, the 2010 Alltech World Equestrian Games "Cookin' in the Bluegrass" Celebrity Chef Dinner Series, and the Fork Cork and Style Festival with Emeril Lagasse in Louisville and Chicago. He has also been featured at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, the BB&T Charleston Wine and Food Festival and the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival.
Spend a few minutes with Nate Whiting, and you’re bound to hear that he “just wants to be in the kitchen.” It’s a sentiment that the Rochester, New York native has been expressing since he started working in a kitchen at the age of 13 as a dishwasher. Both of his parents instilled a love for food early on. Whiting’s mother cooked for the family, drawing from her Sicilian heritage for authentic recipes such as rice balls and baked ziti, and his father worked as a short order cook at least part time his whole life. Whiting’s passion and talent for cooking has led him to work in some of the country’s – and the world’s – top restaurants since graduating from the culinary program at Johnson and Wales University in South Carolina.
Over the years, he’s worked under Peninsula Grill’s renowned Chef Bob Carter in Charleston, spent time at The Inn at Little Washington in Virginia, cooked at Maestro in Washington, D.C. and developed some of his favorite techniques at Da Vittorio in Bergamo, Italy. Whiting also staged in famous New York restaurants Le Bernadin and ABC Kitchen. He spent six years in the kitchen of The Dining Room at Woodlands before becoming head chef at former Charleston fine dining restaurant Tristan, a Forbes 4-star establishment. Chef Whiting’s new restaurant concept 492 opened in April 2015, and has been one of the most highly anticipated new openings in Charleston in 2015. With 492, Whiting offers a fluid, seasonally influenced menu that emphasizes his love for vegetables in a beautifully renovated historic building located on Upper King Street. Food & Wine named Whiting a “rising star” for his work at 492 in their September 2015 issue. He is an avid cookbook collector, and believes in the value of always learning, teaching those around him and working as a team in the kitchen. Outside of his restaurant, Whiting enjoys spending time with his wife of seven years, Stephanie, and their 3 ½ year old son Alex.
Nico Romo has directed Patrick Properties Hospitality Group’s celebrated culinary programs across four historic Charleston venues since 2007, reimagining classic French cuisine with delicate Asian touches and locally harvested ingredients.
Chef Romo was most recently named a Monterey Bay Aquarium 2015 Sustainable Seafood Ambassador and member of the Seafood Watch® Blue Ribbon Task Force – recognizing the commitment to ocean-friendly seafood and Lowcountry fishermen that shapes his seasonal menu at Fish Restaurant in Downtown Charleston. He also attended the James Beard Foundation Chefs Boot Camp for Policy & Change with a focus on seafood advocacy, selected from more than 450 applicants nationwide. In 2014 he was a host chef for Charleston’s first-ever Trash Fish dinner in partnership with Chefs Collaborative, and in 2015, joined 25 celebrity chefs and personalities for the Cooking for Solutions World Oceans Day Weekend celebration at Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Among other distinctions, Chef Romo hosted both the 2013 JBF Award semifinalist announcements and Chefs Collaborative National Food Summit in Charleston, and cooked alongside celebrity chef Daniel Boulud at Le Taste of France in Bryant Park. Past appearances include the Culinary Vegetable Institute, De Gustibus Cooking School and two sold-out dinners at the James Beard House.
Born in Lyon, France, Chef Romo is the youngest-ever US member of The French Culinary Academy (l’Académie Culinaire de France) and Master Chefs of France (Maîtres Cuisiniers de France) - one of just 65 French Master Chefs nationwide, and the only recipient in South Carolina. Both elite international assemblies comprise the most highly skilled chefs in techniques and traditions of the French culinary art.
Chef Romo graduated from the Helene Boucher Culinary Art School in Vénissieux at age 19 and refined his skill under French Master Chef Patrick Henriroux at the dual-Michelin Starred restaurant La Pyramide in Vienne, France.
Chef Kevin Johnson realized his long-time dream when he opened Charleston, South Carolina's The Grocery with his wife Susan in December 2011. Evoking memories of the small-town grocery, the restaurant offers a menu based on local ingredients sourced from the purveyors that Johnson has worked with for many years, and the kitchen is stocked with house-made charcuterie as well as an in-house canning program.
A Johnson & Wales University graduate, Johnson cooked under such renowned chefs as Patrick O'Connell at The Inn at Little Washington and Frank Lee at Slightly North of Broad (SNOB).
Johnson was a semifinalist in the 2014 James Beard Award: Best Chef, Southeast category. Active in many events outside the restaurant, he was the headlining chef at Outstanding in the Field's 2013 dinner in South Carolina as well as the 2014 Lowcountry Field Feast benefiting Lowcountry Local First, a favorite local charity. He is a member of the BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival Board of Directors and he sits on the Atlanta Wine & Food Festival Advisory Council. Johnson has been an Adjunct Chef Instructor at the Culinary Institute of Charleston since Fall 2010 and he is also on the Advisory Board at the Institute. Most recently, Johnson was awarded the Marc Collins Chef Award at the 2015 BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival for his support of and contributions to the event.
When not in the kitchen at The Grocery, Johnson enjoys championing local causes and spending time with his wife and their three young sons, whose initials inspired The Grocery.
Ken Vedrinski is executive chef, owner and sommelier of Trattoria Lucca in downtown Charleston and his newly opened all Italian seafood restaurant that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, Coda del Pesce.
Moving deftly through an award-winning career spanning decades, and a variety of haute cuisine styles, Chef Ken Vedrinski has found his passion and heritage in Italian fare. A three time James Beard Award semi-finalist, he has found his "place" in Charleston, a coastal city rich with fresh bounty from the land and sea, and a long way from land-locked Columbus, Ohio where he was born.
Vedrinski grew up cooking in his grandmother's kitchen under her passion-infused, Italian-influenced tutelage. He was an eager student with such fervor for food that it led to his degree in restaurant management from Columbus College and a three-year apprenticeship under Certified Master Chef Hartmut Handke. His lifelong passion and career was ignited. Years later, Vedrinski was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson and Wales University.
His first role as an executive chef was at the acclaimed Opus Restaurant in the former Swiss Hotel Atlanta, where his talents was quickly lauded when Opus was named "One of the Best New Restaurants in America (1991)," by Esquire Magazine. Chef Vedrinski was an early adopter to the practice and promotion of farm to table freshness as he heralded Georgia homegrown foods, landing him a spot on The Today Show.
Vedrinski also served as executive chef at The Restaurant at Woodlands Inn & Resort where he earned the only Mobile Five-Stars awarded to a South Carolina restaurant. In 2002, the restaurant received the only perfect food score in North America by Conde Nast Traveler.
Vedrinski then moved to Daniel Island, a suburb of Charleston, where he co-owned and operated Sienna Restaurant, his first professional commitment to exclusively Italian cuisine. Once again, Esquire Magazine took notice with yet another, "One of the Best New American Restaurants (2004)," designations. ("Where I to award points in this annual restaurant survey, only Sienna would get a ten solely for its cooking." John Mariani, Esquire Magazine).
Embracing his culinary heritage, Vedrinski embarked on food-fueled expeditions to Italy in search of the most authentic ingredients, olive oils and wines. His journeys took him to Lucca in Western Tuscany, which he claims to be the home of "the best olive oil in the world." Inspired by the beloved olive oil and his love for the region, Vedrinski opened Trattoria Lucca in 2008, acting as sole owner, executive chef and sommelier of the charming Italian restaurant.
The charming restaurant was a James Beard Award semi-finalist for Best New Restaurant in 2009, and Vedrinski was also recognized as a James Beard Award semi-finalist for Best Chef in the Southeast in 2011. In September 2012, exactly four years from the day their doors first opened, Trattoria Lucca was named one of the Best Italian Restaurants in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure.
In 2013 Vedrinski opened Coda del Pesce just outside of downtown Charleston and right next door to one of Charleston's most celebrated assets - the ocean. Diners savor not only fresh, locally or sustainably caught coastal Italian inspired offerings but views of the beach and ocean each evening. While managing the kitchens of both restaurants Vedrinski was honored when in August 2014 Trattoria Lucca was named one of The Ten Best Italian Restaurants Outside of Italy by The Daily Meal.
With a devoted local following and industry acclaim, Ken Vedrinski, Trattoria Lucca and Coda del Pesce are redefining Italian cuisine in the Lowcountry.
Chef Fred Neuville has been the founding Chef/Partner of some of Charleston's favorite restaurants. In 2007 Chef Neuville left to go out on his own with his family and open Fat Hen Restaurant (Lowcountry French). Neuville spent his days in the restaurant fast lane making an indelible mark on the Charleston food scene. Ready to fuse his passion for food and family, Neuville opens Fat Hen as an outpost for culinary delights and domestic enjoyment.
A native of Roanoke, VA, Neuville graduated from The Culinary Institute of America. Immediately following graduation, he was recruited to support in the start-up of Linwood's Cafe & Grill in Baltimore, MD. With his skills honed after five years in a restaurant kitchen he became Chef Garde Manager for The Willard Intercontinental in Washington DC.
Satisfying his wanderlust, in 1992 Neuville ventured to Colorado to work for Aspen's Milan's Greenhouse restaurant. It was there that he was recruited as a senior instructor and, later, assistant director, at the School of Culinary Arts in Denver, CO.
After five successful years in the mountains of Colorado, Neuville longed to return to the Southeast. In 1997, he accepted a job as Executive Chef at the Jasmine Porch Restaurant located within the celebrated Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina and later moved to serve as Executive Chef for "Events by Stephen Duvall" in Charleston. Along the way, Neuville received several coveted industry awards from the American Culinary Federation, the Southern Bridal Show, the Celebrity Pro/Am competitions and the Western Regional Conference. Neuville was recognized by national publications such as Bon Appetit and National Geographic Traveler. Fred Neuville serves as Chef Chair for Darkness 2 Light and is the author of 'The Fat Hen Cookbook' celebrating French Lowcountry Cuisine.
Not only has Neuville opened a restaurant, but he and his wife, Joan, are parents to four amazing adopted foster children, who will each play a role at Fat Hen. "I couldn't be happier with the diversity of my work and home life," says Neuville. "Or busier!"
• ACF certified executive chef • Graduate of the Culinary Institute of America • Former Assistant Director of Culinary Arts, Colorado Institute of Art • Winner of numerous culinary and restaurant awards • Former executive chef of many of Charleston's favorite restaurants • Recipes featured in multiple national publications.
Reid Henninger, a Baltimore, Maryland native, grew up in the food and beverage industry. His parents owned and operated a small neighborhood restaurant called Henninger's Ale House, in Fells Point, Baltimore, which has now been around for 35 years. Though they are no longer the owners, his father has spent nearly his entire life behind a bar and his mother a cook. Reid decided to leave the north to pursue higher education and graduated from the College of Charleston with a Studio Art degree in 2007.
Though painting was Reid’s first love, after working in kitchens in college he knew it was what he wanted to do for a living. Upon graduating, he moved back to Baltimore, MD to help his mother open a café. After a few years of cooking in his hometown, Reid realized that he had left an exciting culinary revolution in the South, and moved to New Orleans, LA in 2012. After a brief stint at Coquette New Orleans, he returned to Charleston to work at The Ordinary. Reid joined the team Edmund’s Oast in December 2014 as the PM Sous Chef. He brings with him to the position a passion for working with the tools of the Lowcountry- from locally caught fish to locally grown produce.
Jacques Larson began his professional training at the University of Iowa's Stateroom, at the age of twenty-one. In 1996, he moved to Charleston to aid in opening Peninsula Grill as a sous chef. After a brief stint in North Carolina, Jacques returned to Charleston to open Union Hall, Cintra and Mercato restaurants. As of September 2009, Jacques is currently at the helm of Wild Olive restaurant in John's Island. Located in the heart of Charleston's farming community, Wild Olive enjoys the rich bounty of local products from its committed local producers. This is done in the Italian tradition that puts the focus on simplicity, quality and seasonal ingredients.
Originally from Erie, PA, Chef Marc Collins came to the culinary world by an untraditional path. His original love was in aviation, but less than perfect vision meant his goal of becoming a jet pilot in the Air Force was not in the cards. He turned to food at age 16 after working as a chef apprentice on the Paradise II, a private yacht with a presidential history. That led to a culinary degree from the Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts in Pittsburgh and a string of cooking jobs, including working at the Erie Country Club, where he served under Executive Chef David Spadafore, a Gold Medal Winner in the Culinary Olympics held in Frankfurt Germany.
In 1991, Chef Collins moved to San Antonio, where he worked at La Mansion Del Rio under French Chef Guy Collinet and later at La Louisiane, a restaurant specializing in fine French cuisine and Cajun Creole cooking. At 23, he took his first chef position at the Fairmount Hotel, an AAA Four Diamond hotel restaurant.
In 2001, Chef Collins was recruited to come to Charleston and take the helm at Circa 1886, where he has remained since, putting his signature stamp on Lowcountry cooking.
In 2005, Marc had a budding idea for a food and wine festival to be hosted in Charleston, spotlighting the amazing array of talent and ingredients we have here. Thanks to his dedication and countless hours of preliminary planning meetings, that vision became reality in 2006, when the 1st annual BB&T Charleston Wine & Food Festival launched. Today, the Festival is a prominent weekend that features over 160 chef and authors from Charleston and across the country, and over 50 food and wine themed events. For his critical work in founding the Festival, Chef Collins is the namesake and first recipient of the 2010 Charleston Wine & Food Festival Marc Collins Chef Award.
With more than 15 years of culinary experience, Chef Ryley McGillis serves as the Executive Chef at Grand Bohemian Charleston in Charleston, SC, The Kessler Collection's newest luxury boutique hotel, which opened in August 2015.
Inspired by this mother's home cooked meals, Chef McGillis discovered his love for food at a young age before earning a culinary degree from Le Cordon Bleu Acadamy, in addition to graduating from Florida State University. During his career, Chef McGillis has worked with culinary teams in several coveted restaurants in Charleston such as Zinc Bistro and Charleston Place Hotel. Most recently Chef McGillis joins The Kessler Collection team from The Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, where he enriched the award-winning southern style menu and service.
Chef McGillis takes pride in supporting the local community through annual events such as the Charleston Wine + Food Festival, Taste of Charleston, March of Dimes Signature Chef Auction and Gourmet & Grapes, in addition to locally sourcing ingredients and stimulating the economic growth of the Lowcountry region.
Owner/Executive Chef Aaron Siegel's years of knowledge and experience began with a degree from the University of Georgia and was seasoned by a culinary degree from The Culinary Institute of America in upstate New York. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Aaron completed an internship in Atlanta at Nava under acclaimed Chef Kevin Rathbun. Then, he moved to Aspen, CO to work as a Sous Chef by Pinion's and Cache Cache. During his time at these high-end restaurants, Aaron became more intrigued with the idea of combining traditional processes and techniques of classical cuisine with the simplicity of comfort food, BBQ, and Southern fare. Returning to the South, he became the Executive Chef at Blossom Cafe in downtown Charleston for several years before taking his vast experience and creativity and opened Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ.
After spending some time at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Taylor Garrigan changed courses and attended and graduated from Johnson & Wales University with a hotel and restaurant management degree. Taylor at The Beach Club at Kiawah Island and Magnolias before moving on to FIG to work under renowned chef, Mike Lata, in downtown Charleston. Today, at Home Team BBQ as executive chef, Taylor combines traditional processes and techniques of classical cuisine with the simplicity of comfort food, BBQ, and Southern fare.
Chef Greg McPhee, a Connecticut native, has spent his career throughout the Carolinas and Georgia. McPhee believes in the crucial connection between chef and farmer, in cultivating meaningful relationships with local producers and purveyors to secure the best regional grains, meats and produce. As former Executive Sous Chef at Sean Brock’s groundbreaking Husk restaurant in Charleston, Greg brings to Restaurant 17 a passion for the heirloom ingredients and preservation techniques of classical cuisine.
Born & raised in Danville, Penn., Chef Craig Deihl grew up in a quintessential American household, where every evening dinner was on the table by the time his father was home from work. His mother, an “unbelievable” cook, graced the family’s table with homespun meals—a ritual which remains to be one of the biggest influences he has had as a chef.
Deihl is a founding member of the Butcher’s Guild, a network of meat professionals that promotes responsible butchering through education and community. Deihl was chosen in 2010 as Chef of the Year by the Charleston chapter of the American Culinary Foundation. That same year, he was a semi-finalist for a prestigious James Beard Foundation award for best chef Southeast, and was a nominee for the award in 2011 and 2012, as well as a semi-finalist again in 2013.
Through a partnership with the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) and farmer Gra Moore of Carolina Heritage Farm, Deihl had the opportunity to be the first chef in over 100 years to utilize the rare American Guinea Hog. This same passion for preserving meat prompted him to adopt the CSA-like concept for meats, Artisan Meat Share (AMS). From 2009-2013, participants received local charcuterie and local farmers, in turn, received support from the increased product demand in what Deihl describes as a win-win scenario for both. In September 2014, Artisan Meat Share opened at 33 Spring St., providing a place where guests can enjoy all that AMS has to offer—all the time—including award-winning charcuterie, freshly butchered meat and delicious sandwiches.
To date, Deihl has produced over 90 types of charcuterie which have been prepared, stored and cured in-house at Cypress.
Tavern & Table’s menu comes to life in the hands of Executive Chef Katie Lorenzen-Smith. A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Scottsdale, Chef Katie worked her way up through the ranks to become Executive Sous Chef to Beau MacMillan at Elements Restaurant in the Sanctuary in Scottsdale, Arizona. In 2011 she took the Executive Chef Position at BB’s in Aspen, CO and was working there when we lured her to the Lowcountry. Through her stellar career she has battled Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America and won, prepared more than one James Beard dinner and participated in Aspen’s famous Food and Wine Festival. Her global take on American standards are now the staples of T&T’s varied menu that ranges from snacks and small plates to whole fish and duck meatloaf. From soup and nuts to pastry chef, Lorenzen-Smith knows her food and flavor and brings it to Tavern & Table with excitement and innovation.
Executive chef Michael Perez brings more than eight years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry to Indaco. Perez joined the culinary team prior to opening in August 2013 to assist with menu development and to establish their unique pasta program, making him an essential member of the Indigo Road’s newest restaurant endeavor. He was soon promoted to serve as Executive Chef.
A Johnson and Wales University–Miami graduate, he first moved to the Hawaiian Islands and cooked aboard two Norwegian Cruise lines.
Raised in Portland, OR, he returned there in 2007 to stage under a French trained chef at the Timberland Lodge. He then worked as Sous Chef at Ten 01, which was named “Restaurant of the Year” under his direction. In 2008, he was hired as Sous Chef at Tabla Mediterranean Bistro in Portland, Ore., which received the award for “Best Pasta Dish” by Willamette Week’s Annual Restaurant Guide.
In 2010, Perez moved to California and worked as Sous Chef under acclaimed Food Network chef Scott Conant at his award-winning restaurants Scarpetta in Beverly Hills, CA. and then on the opening team for Scarpetta inside The Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas, NV.
Prior to moving to the Lowcountry in 2011, he served as Executive Chef at the Deep Creek Fishing Club in Ninilchik, AK where he successfully developed a new menu at the full-service luxury lodge.
Perez is now executive chef of both Indaco and Colletta restaurants in Charleston, SC and Atlanta, GA. Under his direction, Indaco has been named Best New Restaurant by Modern Luxury, and was named one of the top ten Italian restaurants in Charleston by USA Today.
After honing his craft in the James Beard Award-winning kitchens of celebrity chefs John Besh (Restaurant August, New Orleans) and Susanna Foo (Susanna Foo, Philadelphia), Chef Wesley Fulmer served as Sous Chef at the luxe Atlantic Room at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort. A Midlands native, Fulmer returned home in Spring 2014 armed with a network of sustainable farm contacts throughout the Lowcountry – and an eagerness to work with Motor Supply’s existing network of conscientious local producers in the Columbia, S.C. area.
Born and raised in Prosperity, a small town near Chapin, S.C., Chef Fulmer’s first food memories were formed helping his grandfather barbeque whole hogs, and eating his grandmother’s award-winning pound cake. Chef Fulmer values fresh, local South Carolina ingredients and enjoys mixing traditional culinary processes with modern techniques like sous vide and fermentation.
In Spring 2015, Chef Fulmer was honored to be selected as the sole chef for the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism’s biannual media event in New York City, where tourism partners from across the state met with national editors and writers, enjoying Fulmer’s S.C-centric menu in a relaxed, cocktail party setting.
In Fall 2015, Chef Fulmer was featured in an episode of Travel Channel UK television series, “Jeni and Olly’s Deep South Food Adventures,” which made a stop in Columbia, S.C. on its tour of the American South. The South Carolina episode – a partnership with Discover SC and the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism – brought Jeni and Olly to Motor Supply, where they explored S.C.’s culinary delights, with Chef Fulmer’s signature twists.
Executive Chef Denny Trantham was raised in Haywood County, North Carolina. His Southern Appalachian upbringing exposed him, at an early age, to many of the rich southern culinary traditions found throughout his culinary passion today. As a champion of the slow food movement, Trantham works closely with local farmers to secure the freshest ingredients possible and support the local economy.
Chef Trantham attended Johnson & Wales University in Charleston, SC, where he earned his Associate Degree in Occupational Science of Culinary Arts along with completing his apprenticeship at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. He subsequently continued his education at Montreat College, where he graduated Cum Laude with a Master’s degree in Business Administration. Trantham’s work history includes earlier chef positions to include Executive Sous Chef at The Grove Park Inn, as well as Executive Chef assignments with both Marriott Sodexo at Western Carolina University and Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel. After returning to The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa in 2007 as Blue Ridge Chef de Cuisine, he was promoted to Executive Chef in October of 2009. Chef Trantham coordinated & planned the meals for President Barack Obama during his stay along with having the distinct honor of feeding Mitt Romney, Bill & Hilary Clinton, Dan Quayle along with other members of Congress.
Chef Trantham currently holds the position of Division Executive Chef & Culinary Consultant for US Foods Corporation in Ft. Mill, SC. Chef Trantham has earned the Certified Executive Chef and Certified Culinary Administrator designations from the American Culinary Federation (ACF) along with his nomination for the 2012 Chef Professionalism Award for the Southeast Region from the ACF. He was awarded North Carolina ACF ‘Chef of the Year” for 2013. He also serves on the board of directors for the North Carolina ACF chapter representing the western region.
Chef Mike Moore was born in Elm City, Wilson County, North Carolina. His family settled in Eastern North Carolina since prior to the American Revolution and among an agricultural community of sharecroppers and heritage farmers which is his roots. Leaving a career in law enforcement in Raleigh, NC in his mid twenties, Mike worked and trained in San Francisco at a number of restaurants in and around the bay area before relocating to Asheville, NC in 2005.
Seven Sows is a restaurant which focuses on an impressionable and memorable dining experience with down to earth decor, warm and friendly service and delicious food and drink rooted in the nostalgia of our heritage and our past. Seven Sows sets out to embody the interpretation of a southern focused cuisine with impressions of French and modern American techniques and above all a boundless and bold creative spirit.
Chef Merrit Brady is the executive chef and owner of The Pampered Palate Personal Chef Service. The Pampered Palate specializes in creating a unique culinary experience for residents and visitors of Kiawah Island and the Charleston South Carolina area.
Chef Merrit began his culinary career in Highlands North Carolina in 1995 and quickly realized his passion for the craft. This passion brought him to the prestigious Johnson and Wales Culinary University in 2001 where he earned his degree in the culinary arts and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2003. Chef Merrit held the position of executive sous chef at 82 Queen Restaurant, a landmark for Charleston’s “lowcountry cuisine”. Chef Merrit then accepted a position at award winning McCrady’s Restaurant where he held almost every position in the kitchen and eventually became the executive sous chef. While at McCrady’s, the restaurant held the distinguished AAA Four Diamond Award, the DiRoNA Award of Excellence, Wine Spectator’s “Best of,” and Charleston Post’s “Restaurant of the Year.” Other accomplishments and experience include a six month internship at the Biltmore Estates in Asheville North Carolina as well as being a graduate of the Culinary Business Academy and member of the United States Personal Chef Association.
The Pampered Palate opened for business in 2006 with the goal of providing unique and delicious food, great service and establishing a personal connection with each client.
A Charleston native, Patrick Owens’ knowledge and passion for Southern cuisine runs deep, cultivated as a child in his grandparent’s kitchen and at Lowcountry fish fries at the family cabin on the Pee Dee River. A Clemson marketing graduate, Patrick played guitar professionally while working his way through various kitchens in Charleston, learning his craft slowly and surely. He started his official culinary career as soon as he was old enough to hold a job, catering with Charleston Bay Gourmet as a teenager and later moving into more serious posts at Circa 1886 and Magnolia’s.
At just 27, Patrick seized an opportunity to have his own restaurant, and opened Langdon’s Restaurant + Wine Bar (Langdon is Patrick’s middle name) in a tucked-away shopping center in Mt. Pleasant. Fast-forward 10 years, when Langdon’s has since become a bright spot in the local dining scene, garnering the praise of locals and tourists who praise Patrick’s “top-tier” fare and “excellent wine list.” Under Patrick’s leadership, Langdon’s continues to shine, earning the only AAA Four Diamond award East of the Cooper every year since opening.
Nearly 10 years after the opening of Langdon’s, Patrick sought a new challenge and outlet for cultivating his affinity for more casual, Mediterranean-style cooking. In 2011, he opened Opal Restaurant + Wine Bar, his own take on an inviting, California-style eatery with a bustling bar, legendary charcuterie plates, handcrafted pastas, and the same level of attention to service and detail as the more formal Langdon’s. He has succeeded in creating a place where people gather, imbibe and enjoy well-executed, unpretentious food. As one local critic said of Opal, “With its one-page menu, daily specials, and comfortable vibe, the appeal of this fine dining option in Mt. P already reaches far beyond the neighborhood.”
As one of the only top local chefs to grow up in the area, Patrick has remained committed to and passionate about his hometown, giving back to a number of local causes and charities. His undisputed talents as a chef and humble disposition continue to be lauded by his long-time loyal fans, and have attracted the attention of a national audience as well. In 2013, Patrick was invited to cook for a sold-out dinner at NYC’s James Beard House. Patrick has singlehandedly raised the standard on cuisine in Mt. Pleasant and he takes great pride in creating dining experiences that endure the test of time.
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