Gourmet and Grapes - Participating Chefs

PARTICIPATING CHEFS

STEVEN DEVEREAUX GREENE

Executive Chef - An Cuisines

Steven Greene

Recognized as a "Rising Star" by Restaurant Hospitality in 2008, Steven Devereaux Greene has possessed a natural talent in the kitchen since age 16. While working together at Marigold Market in Greenville, SC, French chef Pascal Hurtebize recognized Greene's abilities, and encouraged him to pursue a career in the culinary scene of Charleston, SC. Greene soon moved to Charleston to work in the kitchen of 82 Queen and quickly advanced to the position of sous chef. After two years at 82 Queen, he moved on to work at McCrady's, where he was introduced to and movitvated by chef Michael Kramer's modern gastronomic artistry.

Greene continued to advance in his career through the dining room at Woodlands Resort and Inn, where he rose from sous chef to chef de cuisine. It was while he was at the dining room that he perfected his skills under admired chefs, Ken Vedrinski and Scott Crawford. In 2005, Greene combined all his experiences and knowledge to open his own restaurant, Devereaux's. Located in an old cigar factory in Greenville, Devereaux's was known as a contemporary, sophisticated dining spot. Greene created a menu featuring American cuisine infused with French, Southern and Asian ingredients. Devereaux's was soon added to the Table 301 Restaurant Group, and continues to be a premier dining spot in Greenville.

In 2009, Greene took the position as chef de cuisine at The Umstead Hotel and Spa's award-winning restaurant Herons, one of the South's most well-respected, fine dining restaurants. He led the restaurant to receive its first Forbes Five-Star Rating, AAA Five Diamond Award in 2012 and press recognition in Food & wine, conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and Southern Living. Accepting the position of executive chef at An in January 2012, Greene achieved his dreams of managing an Asian-inspired restaurant, where he incorporates his culinary experiences and travels into the menu which highlights local vegetables and showcases the freshest seafood and meats presented in a variety of Southeast Asian preparations.

MIKE LATA

Chef/Owner, FIG & The Ordinary

Mike Lata

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 also named it one of the best restaurants of the year.

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 convivium, 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 year-old son, Henry.

KEN VEDRINSKI

Owner and Executive Chef- Trattoria Luca and Coda del Pesce

Ken Vedrinski

trattoria-lucca-restaurant, charleston SCKen Vedriski 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 career 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 Swissotel Atlanta, where his talent 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.

coda-del-pesce-restaurant, charleston, SCVedrinski 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, 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. ("Were 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 Tratorria Lucca in 2008, acting as sole owner, executive chef and sommelier of the charmming 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. With a devoted local following and industry acclaim, Ken Vedrinski, Trattoria Lucca and Coda del Pesce are redefining Italian cuisine in the Lowcountry.

DENNY TRANTHAM

CEC, CCA

denny trantham executive chef grove park inn resort and spa

Executive Chef Denny Trantham was raised in Haywood County, North Carolina. Coming from the Southern Appalachian culture, he has been exposed to the rich traditions that the South has to offer. His culinary skills are reflected today in his innovative & diverse Southern elegance cuisine that is offered throughout the resort. He works closely with local famers in order to provide the freshest ingredients, while also supporting the local economy.

Chef Trantham attended Johnson & Wales University in Charleston, SC where he earned his Associate Degree in Applied Science of Culinary Arts and was awarded the Cordon Bleu. After graduation, he completed 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 Bachelors degree in Business Administration. He worked at The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa from1991 until 1997, and left holding the position of Executive Sous Chef. Continuing his career, he worked as Executive Chef with Marriott Sodexo at Western Carolina University and at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino as Restaurant Chef. He then finally returned to The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa in 2007 as Blue Ridge Dining Room Chef de Cuisine, being promoted to Executive Chef in October of 2009 and concluding in October of 2012. He is currently employed as a Food & Beverage Consultant with Ballentine Equipment in Greenville, SC along with participating in local culinary events.

Chef Trantham continues to actively participate in lecture and cooking demonstrations for local schools, news channels that included Good Morning America along with guests attending special events at The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa. He has also had the distinct honor in coordinating in serving meals for President Barack Obama & First Lady Michelle Obama during a weekend getaway to the Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa in April of 2010. He is recognized as a Certified Executive Chef as well as Certified Culinary Administrator by the American Culinary Federation along also currently pursuing his MBA at Montreat College in Asheville, NC.

COLIN BEDFORD

Executive Chef- The Fearrington House Restaurant

colin bedford

A native of England, Colin came to the Fearrington House in 2005 as Executive Sous Chef. Colin’s culinary interest began early on, taking him to The Castle Hotel, Niagara on The Lake and Prince of Wales Hotel. Colin partners with local farmers, using the finest ingredients from the region and our gardens.

Chef Colin Bedford’s menus have won over loyal diners at Fearrington House and won critical acclaim, including The Fearrington House’s national ranking as No. 2 of the top 40 hotels in the south, No. 5 in the US and No. 24 of the 100 hotels in the world (Condé Nast Traveler), one of the top hotel food destinations in the world (Condé Nast Traveler) and, locally, a Gold Medalist restaurant in 2011 and 2012 (Raleigh News & Observer). In 2012 Chef Bedford was named a Relais & Chateaux Grand Chef and he was invited to cook at the annual Relais & Chateaux Grand Chef Dinner held in London, England in April of 2013.

SCOTT CRAWFORD

Executive Chef/Food & Beverage Director of The Umstead Hotel and Spa

scott-crawford

Executive Chef Scott Crawford leads the helm at the Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond 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, including his previous post at The Georgian Room at the Cloister Hotel in Sea Island, Georgia.

In 2013, Crawford was named a semifinalist for “Best Chef: Southeast” by the James Beard Foundation (his third nomination with the prestigious organization, for which he cooked in New York City in 2011). 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.

When Crawford is behind a project, critical acclaim follows: He first earned five stars from Mobil Travel Guide for his regional American cooking as executive chef of Woodlands Resort & Inn, the Relais & Chateaux property and Gourmand Dining Room located in Summerville, South Carolina, before being hired away in 2006 as executive chef of The Georgian Room. It was there that Crawford’s coastal Georgian cuisine earned five coveted stars from Mobil Travel Guide and critical praise including Esquire Magazine’s Best New Restaurant accolade.

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. “After that, it all came together for me.” Crawford takes great pride is showcasing local farms such as Chapel Hill Creamery, Elodie Farm and Cane Creek Farm throughout the seasonal menus at The Umstead. 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.

JIMIHATT

Founder, Guerilla Cuisine

jimihatt

Jimihatt, the founder of Guerrilla Cuisine, has been a regular on the Charleston food scene for over 18 years. Guerrilla Cuisine is Charleston's original collaborative dining project. Well into his fourth season of Guerrilla, he has hosted over 70 underground dinners and continues to gain popularity in Charleston. His dinners are consistently sold out as fans continue to vie for the change to attend.

Each event is a collaboration between Jimihatt, the chefs, the farmers, the artists and a particular charity. Think of it as a local awareness project with proceeds from each event benefiting a selected charity...sometimes national, often local.

Combining food, art, and music is Jimihatt's specialty. While juggling his popular underground supper club, he continues to work in local restaurants, collaborate on cookbooks and support numerous local charities. Jimihatt has received local, national, and international press for his underground dining movement. Most recently Jimihatt has appeared on an episode of Hairy Bikers dedicated to a Guerilla Cuisine dinner.

MARC COLLINS

Executive Chef- Circa 1886

marc-collins

Originally from Erie, PA, Chef Marc Collins came to the culinary world by an nontraditional 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 Fairmont Hotel, a 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 chefs 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.

JACQUES LARSON

Executive Chef- Wild Olive

jacques-larson

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.

FRED NEUVILLE

Chef/Owner- Fat Hen

fred-neuville

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 incredible 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 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 servers as Chef Chair for Darkness 2 Light.

NICO ROMO

French Master Chef and Culinary Executive Director- Fish Restaurant

nico-romo

Nico Romo has directed Patrick Properties' celebrated culinary programs across four historic venues since 2007, crafting vibrant seasonal interpretations of classic French cuisine with delicate Asian touches.

Chef Romo's charismatic blend of raw passion and innovative gourmet fair stems from an international career alongside leading names in the industry.

This year Chef Romo hosted the 2013 James Beard Foundation Award semifinalist announcements in Charleston, as well as more than 100 French Master Chefs and the French Ambassador to the U.S. as part of the Maitres Cuisiniers de France - l'Academie Culinaire de France North American Conference. Next up, he will cook alongside renowned celebrity chefs Daniel Boulud and Eric Ripert as part of a charitable fundraiser benefiting Our Shared Ground in Moorestown, New Jersey. Chef Romo will also host the Chef's Collaborative sustainability Awards and participate in his second consecutive Le Taste of France exposition in New York's Bryant Park. Other prominent appearances include showcases at the Culinary Vegetable Institute, De Gustibus Cooking School and his sold-out dinner at the famed James Beard House.Chef Romo is the youngest-ever Master Chef of France (Maitres Cuisiniers de France) and US member of The French Culinary Academy (l'Academie Culinaire de France). Both elite international assemblies comprise the most highly skilled chefs in techniques and traditions of the French culinary art. Chef Nico is one of just 65 French Master Chefs nationwide, and the only recipient in South Carolina.

Born in Lyon, France, Chef Romo graduated from the Helene Boucher Culinary Art School in Venissieux. He refined his skill under French Master Chef Patrick Henriroux at "La Pyramide" in Vienne, before rising to prominence among the United States' finest hotels - including the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, and the Ritz Carlton Atlanta. Chef Romo also opened the third location of B.E.D. restaurant at The Glenn, Atlanta's first boutique hotel. Now in Charleston Chef Romo delights guests with is warm candor and inspired menu of locally harvested, sustainable cuisine as executive chef of Fish restaurant.

MERRIT BRADY

Executive Chef & Owner- The Pampered Palate Personal Chef Service

merrit-brady

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.

NATHAN THURSTON

Chef de Cuisine- Stars

nathan-thruston

Nathan Thurston, Chef of Stars, is a graduate of the highly acclaimed Johnson & Wales University with degrees in business and culinary arts. Earlier in his career, chef Thurston was at the helm of The Ocean Room located in the luxuriously appointed five star and five diamond rated Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. In addition to overseeing The Ocean Room, Chef Thurston was also responsible for overseeing all culinary facets of The Sanctuary including Jasmine Porch, Loggerhead Grill and Banquet Operations. Throughout Chef Thurston's career he has also cooked at the historic four star and four diamond Biltmore Estate (Asheville, N.C.), Josephine's Cafe (Marion, N.C.), and the four star and four diamond Atlantic Room at Kiawah Island Inn.

Chef Thurston is very active in the competitive realm earning first place at The Annual Adluh Grits Competition, the Le Grand Cuisinier Gold Medal, and multiple gold, silver, and bronze medals in American Culinary Federation sanctioned competitions. In addition to Chef Thurston's role at Stars, he serves as Chairman of the Board for The Greater Charleston American Culinary Federation and teaches Southern Cuisine and European Cuisine at The Art Institute of Charleston.

Chef Thurston serves as an ambassador to the community as Chef Thurston and team support many national and local charities. Chef Thurston has been an avid supporter of The National Kidney Foundation, Darkness To Light, The Ronald McDonald House, Hollings Cancer Center, and The Legare Farms Education Foundation by catering numerous events to raise funds for these non-profit organizations.

"My philosophy is to strive for excellence in every aspect that I endeavor. Embracing this philosophy commits me to utilizing the finest local and artisan ingredients available to craft my southern cuisine."

SPENCER THOMSON

Executive Chef of Nose Dive

spencer-thomson

Spencer Thomson is a native of Virginia who worked in restaurants around the Roanoke area before moving to Charleston, South Carolina to attend Johnson and Wales University. After receiving his associate's degree in 2001, he honed his culinary skills at such legendary area restaurants as 82 Queen and The Woodlands Inn and Resort.

One of the most influential experiences of Spencer's career has been working for celebrated chef Michael Kramer at McCrady's from 1999 to 2003. Spencer was one of the first employees at McCrady's to start on garde manger and work through every station of the kitchen, accumulating the full experience along the way. In 2009, he had the invaluable opportunity to stage for a month at Guy Savoy in Paris, getting experience at one of the the famous chef's Michelin Three Star restaurant. He's also had the pleasure to host several renowned chefs in the Devereaux's kitchen, including Thomas Keller, Guy Savoy, Justin Bogle, Wylie Dufresne, Alexandra Guarnaschelli, Sean Brock, Art Smith, Grant Achetz, Scott Crawford and Ken Vedrinkski.

Spencer began working for Devereaux's prior to its opening in 2005 and was instrumental in establishing the restaurant's concept. He has a deep respect for traditional culinary techniques, particularly that of French convention, but combines these time-honored foundations with new, innovative practices and ingredients. Seasonal, regional ingredients always have a place on his menu, and he has cultivated relationships with producers like Greenbrier Farms, Terry Goldenstar, Bethel Trail Farm, Jackson Farms, Beechwood Farms, Anson Mills, Bio/way Farms, Parson's Produce, Happy Berry and Jeff Isbell to assure that his dishes shine with the best heirloom flavors.

Spencer stands apart from the typical chef in that he likes to create both sweet and savory cuisine. With his passion for pastry, he creates all the desserts for the restaurant, including house-made sorbet and ice cream. He prefers to coax the natural sweetness from berries and fruits and use those flavors as the base for his sweet dishes, but he also has an affinity for chocolate.

In his spare time, Spencer takes full advantage of Greenville's natural beauty by hiking and camping in the company of his wife and two dogs. He and his wife welcomed their first child, daughter Norah, in 2011.

 

CHRIS EDWARDS

Chef de Cuisine - Salamander Resort & Spa

chris-edwards

Inspired by his grandmother's bountiful cooking from an early age, Chef Edwards quickly learned the value in this expressive art form as the gateway to creating memorable moments. Classically trained in culinary arts from Johnson and Wales in Charleston, SC, Chef Edwards trained abroad gaining invaluable experience in two three Michelin Star restaurants, El Bulli and El Raco de Can Fabes in Spain.

Combining this exceptional international exposure with Italian styled cuisine, Chef Edwards joined the successful Maestro Restaurant in Tysons Corner followed by the highly acclaimed Fiamma in New York.

He has developed his own style, sharing precise, flavor-filled art on a plate, mixing modern techniques with the freshest seasonal ingredients, a tribute to his most recent position as Chef to the notable Restaurant at Patowmack Farm. With his engaging personality, vast knowledge of ingredients and value for his patron's opinions, Chef Edwards has carefully styled his menus, highlighting the farm fresh produce and meats of the Virginia Piedmont.


MIKE MOORE

mike-moore

Mike was born and raised in the small, rural town of Elm City in North Eastern Wilson County. This very modest agricultural belt of the Coastal Plains of North Carolina is known for a humble cuisine and tradition of whole hog barbecue, preserving and slow cooking. This part of the south is steeped in sociological history woven with methods long passed down of sustenance farming. Mike learned the values of hard work and farming at a very early age helping his uncles and friends of family in the fields and produce stands with vegetables and tobacco and later took a path of public service with an early career in law enforcement with the Raleigh Police Department.

At a crossroads in 2003, and in his early twenties, Mike packed his truck with a dog, a surfboard and most of his belongings and drove across country to embark on a journey in the art of cooking with a new direction and career. Throwing all caution to the wind and spending every bit of money he ever saved, Mike cut his teeth in the city by the bay and that meant worn down, tattered and beaten in the Tenderloin be he gained a wealth of humility in the process. San Francisco regardless, inspired him creatively and passionately with food and cuisine. Reinventing himself from a former career and lifestyle, Mike relocated from Northern California and the San Francisco Bay Area after graduating from a classic French culinary school to Asheville, NC. Since 2005, Mike has worked for almost a decade in a changing and now thriving food destination through a pedigree of restaurants in Asheville from The Market Place Restaurant under chef Fred Snyder and owner Mark Rosenstein to the Admiral with chef and dear friend Elliott Moss and Drew Maykuth.

In 2010 Mike launched a charity driven group of local chefs and friends which became the Blind Pig Supper club. Three years, 78 conceptual dinners and thousands of dishes later The Blind Pig has become a nationally noted organization that inspires creativity among its performing chefs and creates a boundless dinner experience for its guests. Blind Pig has been featured on the Food Networks 'Rebel Eats' with the Next Food Network Star and chef/owner of Do or Dine NYC Justin werner as well as the Canadian Travel Channels 'Illegal Eater' with host Steven Page formerly of The Barenaked Ladies.

In March 2013, Mike and partner Jason Caughman formerly of Pisgah Brewing Company as well as chef and owner Adam Bannasch of Zambra conceived Seven Sows Bourbon & Larder - a brick & mortar restaurant concept which is seated in the deep and complex history of Southern cuisine with similar spirit, boundless creativity and passion for the art of cooking. The curious name 'Seven Sows' is derived upon a personal story of heritage and perseverance in Eastern North Carolina. Seven Sows is in memorial reflection and paying homage to Huldah Hart. Huldah, Mike's living grandmother born in 1909, was once a poor farmers wife, who's husband died suddenly in 1954 leaving her with four children to raise alone, 42 acres of tobacco in the fields and seven (skinny) sows in a bleak mud pasture. Huldah, in grace and true Southern resilience, went on to sharecrop with the community, works as a restaurant host and waitress and eventually raise her children and survive by working as a butcher and meat packer in pork.

In December 2013, Mike was inducted as a StarChefs Rising Star in Charleston, South Carolina as a recipient and winner for the Carolina's with the prestigious Community Chef Award elected among only three other top chefs in the nation since 2007. Mike helps to lead the restaurant at Seven Sows in its vision and concept and works as chef de cuisine very closely with his equally important head chef Caitlin Mcmillan in creating a unique menu that associates traditional Southern foodways with creative, refined and modern touches and techniques as well as harboring a comfortable, friendly and memorable dining experience for all its guests.

 

CELEBRITY CHEF STEVEN MEESE

steven meese celebrity chef

Steven's love for food began in his parents' native Greece where he spent his early childhood. Later, the family relocated to Daytona Beach, Florida, where he worked with his mother Elizabeth at the family restaurant, learning the ins and outs of the restaurant business.

At 18, Steven moved to Chicago, training in some of the city's finest hotels and restaurants. In 1990, Steven's passion to extend his culinary training took him to Walt Disney World. For over a decade, Steven would apprentice under Disney's finest chefs, including Daryl Mickler, Great Chef's of the East; Raymond Pitts, renowned German chef; and Michael Laduke, a frequent judge on Food Network's Iron Chef and Chopped.

Chef has trained under some of the industry's most accomplished Chefs, including several James Beard Award winners.

In 2003 Chef was nominated for Rising Star Chef Southeast and gained national acclaim for his technique and style towards Mediterranean Cuisine.

Chef his displayed his world-class talent at prestigious James Beard Events, Taste of the Nation with national and world-renowned chefs Anthony Lamas, Diego Oka, Jonathan Sawyer, and Nicholas Stefanelli to name a few.

Meese has cooked for a US President, Governor, Senators, Scott Beck, founder of Einstein Bagels, Blockbuster, and Boston Market, along with many celebrities and sports figures in his decorated career.

Chef is currently hosting a new travel cooking show, A Chefs Journey, airing spring 2014 on PBS. The show features the best chefs in the country, their signature restaurants, and showcasing their unique cities.

Chef Meese is also the Director of Culinary Arts at The Ridge Gardens in McClure, Ohio.

When Steven is not on television or in the kitchen, he is deeply involved with Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry as an ambassador chef, raising funds and awareness to end childhood hunger in America, as well as American Cancer Society.

 

 

Kiawah Island Golf Resort Chefs