2019 Participating Chefs
Director of Culinary Operations – Home Team BBQ
As a young kid, Jonathan Banta got his first real experience cooking at a culinary arts summer camp in his hometown Pittsgrove, New Jersey. After earning a culinary degree from Johnson and Wales University, Jonathan began to build his culinary and management experience at Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Running Deer Golf Club in his home state of New Jersey. He moved to Philadelphia in 2001, where he worked with famed chef Jose Garces at Alma de Cuba. In 1998, he brought his talents to Charleston, taking a restaurant consulting position, and then working at 82 Queen and Rue de Jean.
Most recently, Chef Banta served as Chef de Cuisine and General Manager at The Atlantic Room and Ryder Cup Bar in The Ocean Course Clubhouse. As Director of Culinary Operations for Home Team BBQ, he oversees special and charity related events, handling purchasing, streamlining culinary operations, and assisting with menu development.
Executive Chef – The Fearrington House Restaurant
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.
Executive Chef – Parcel 32
Chef Shaun Brian joined the Patrick Properties Hospitality Group family in late 2017 and is Executive Chef of Parcel 32, Charleston’s newest restaurant on Upper King Street. Brian’s love for cooking began at a young age, roaming and foraging for food in his hometown of Coral Bay, St. John and fishing off his dad’s sailboat. He often cooked for his siblings while his parents were working, which inspired his culinary awakening. Brian set his sights on Charleston after being displaced from his Virgin Islands home by hurricanes Irma and Maria. He chose Charleston for its connection to the Caribbean, seasonality, amazing bounty available inland, access to natural resources, and disaster and emergency preparedness.
Brian graduated from Johnson & Wales with a degree in culinary arts and set forth on a successful career path. He has worked at several all-respected restaurants and hotels including The Ritz-Carlton in St. Thomas, OCEAN 362 in St. John and Harbor View Hotel in Marhta’s Vineyard, MA, alongside talented chefs such as Andrew Chadwick, Levon Wallace, Michael “TheRev” Sullivan and master butcher/salumi maker, Francois Vecchio. Much of the inspiration behind Brian’s cooking today is drawn from renowned chefs John Ash and Michael Bras, both of whom mentored Chadwick, the first chef Brian worked under at The Ritz Carlton. Brian is particularly inspired by Ash’s farm-to-table initiatives and Bras’ intricate plating techniques.
Among his many accolades, Brian was named a top “30 under 30” chef by Zagat and was nominated for a Rising Star by StarChefs. He hosts annual Friends of James Beard Benefits and is an alumni of the foundation’s prestigious Boot Camp for Policy and Change. He has also cooked for several dignitaries, celebrities and musicians throughout his career, including Gayle King, Tyra Banks, Kenny Chesney and Adam Sandler.
Brian’s story extends beyond his culinary background. In 2016, Brian and his wife Ally were featured on HGTV’s “Tiny House, Big Living” and showcased a home Brian built with his mom and stepdad. He is a former World Cup soccer player. In addition to cooking, Brian can be found making his own pottery and wooden cutting boards.
Brian is passionate about living a holistic lifestyle focused on low impact, sustainability and minimalism. He enjoys pickling, preserving, fermenting, curing, foraging, gardening and spearfishing, all of which make him that much more passionate about his profession as a chef. In addition to building urban gardens and bee sanctuaries, Brian is a butcher, smoker and salt maker. In St. John, he worked with local fisheries on a sea to smoke concept utilizing a coconut grove and made high-end finishing salt through his company, Virgin Salt Co., both of which he plans to continue from Charleston when the area recovers from the recent hurricane damage.
Brian draws his latest life inspiration from his new baby girl, Riley Brn, who was born in February 2018.
At Parcel 32, Brian continues his deep-seated commitment to local sourcing and is on the hunt for the freshest herbs, produce, meats, and fish from local farms and fishermen as he highlights the unique flavors of Charleston and the Carolinas.
Executive Chef – Circa 1886
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.
Executive Chef – Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina
Heyward Davis is the executive chef of Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina, Charleston’s premier location for waterfront dining and entertainment. Through his seasonally-driven cuisine, Davis strives to source his ingredients locally and responsibly, taking advantage of the bounty of ingredients grown here in the Lowcountry.
Davis is passionate about combining his lifelong passion for culinary arts and horticulture through his work with the South Carolina Aquarium Good Catch Program which promotes local and sustainable seafood purchasing and limited consumption of single use disposables and plastics. His belief in community reinvestment also extends to his involvement in a culinary arts training and internship program with One80 Place, a non-profit organization whose mission focuses on the prevention of homelessness. Davis spearheaded a partnership between the Charleston Harbor Fish House and One80 Place and will launch an internship program in the near future that will allow outstanding culinary training participants the opportunity to work under Davis here at the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina.
Davis holds a 2008 degree from the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts Program and was named 2015 Leader of the Year for the Kessler Collection Hotels. His resume boasts a variety of culinary positions, from his work in Major League Baseball stadiums to management and executive chef positions at the Omni Grove Park Inn, The Sanctuary at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort and the Grand Bohemian Hotels in Charleston and Savannah.
Pitmaster/Owner – Swig & Swine
Born and raised in Mantua, New Jersey, Anthony DiBernardo has always had a passion for cooking. He entered the culinary world when he was 14 as a banquet cook.
Later, the US Navy brought Anthony to the Lowcountry, where he has lived for nearly 25 years. After serving as a cook on the USS Batfish submarine for four years, Anthony began working in the kitchen at Blossom Cafe. His resume includes roles as the Executive Chef at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Corporate Executive Chef at Mustard Seed, and Operating Partner and Head Chef at Rita’s.
After incorporating barbecue menu items as frequently as possible during each culinary venture, Anthony started his own barbecue catering business, where his passion started to set fire. He opened Swig & Swine BBQ in collaboration with Queen Street Hospitality Group in 2013.
Patty Floersheimer + Trudi Wagner
Owners – goat.sheep.cow.
Eight years ago, best friends Trudi Wagner and Patty Floersheimer opened goat.sheep.cow., a tiny shop on Church Street just South of Broad in Charleston’s, historic downtown district. The small fromagerie and wine shop supplies its faithful local clientele with European-inspired delicacies. After years of requests by these customers for dine-in and by-the-glass service, the two dreamed up their second venture. In November of 2016 they opened the doors to goat.sheep.cow.,north in the up-and-coming “Upper Peninsula” neighborhood. In addition to a retail area four times the size of their original store, the new location boasts a beautiful café and wine bar which recently received “Best New Restaurant Design” from the readers of Eater Charleston.
The two women found themselves in the cheese business via very different paths: Trudi from a successful career on Wall Street at the NYSE and Patty from a lifetime of custom clothing design and manufacturing. As is true of many great friendships, this one was forged in the kitchen, planning and executing wine-centered dinners. Both will tell you that from the time they met in 2007, they’ve never tired of each others’ company.
Executive Chef – Magnolias
Kelly Franz moved to Charleston in 2002 to attend the Culinary Institute of Charleston. While working toward her degree, she joined Magnolias in November 2003, became sous chef in 2005, chef de cuisine in 2009 and most recently executive chef in 2015. Her strong work ethic and leadership abilities set Franz apart in the kitchen. These skills— which she attributes to her mentors at Magnolias—coupled with her proficiency, quickly moved Franz through the ranks. Franz’s current roles include overeseeing various kitchen stations, ordering and cost control, hiring, seasonal menus, recipe development and more.
Growing up in a military family, traveling often meant experiencing different cultures and food and her time in the kitchen began early when she would help her father cook Sunday brunch. Food became a passion of hers, where even grocery shopping was for fun. While working as a server at Key West Grill in Columbia, S.C., Franz was always more interested in what was happening in the back of the house. She began helping with food preparation and this soon became her favorite part of the job. After transitioning into the kitchen, she discovered her passion for cooking and decided to pursue a degree in culinary arts. While attending the Culinary Institute of Charleston, Trident Technical College, Franz spent time growing in beloved kitchens in Charleston including Locklears, Angelfish Restaurant and Magnolias. In 2015, Franz was invited to join the Charleston Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier and is honored to be apart of this distinguished group of ladies in the hospitality industry. Also in 2015, Franz was runner-up in season 6 of the Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen.
Franz believes the key to Magnolias’ success is consistency. She strives daily to stay true to the menu staples that so many people travel to Charleston to revisit, while constantly evolving the menu to reflect trends and seasonality. Franz looks up to chefs Donald Barickman and Donald Drake, who taught her the discipline necessary to be a leader in the industry and have pushed her every day to live up to her potential as a chef. She is also proud to have had many of the students who have worked for her at Magnolias become great chefs across the country.
With a talent for cooking seafood, it is no coincidence that Franz has been in Charleston for over a decade. When not in the kitchen at Magnolias, Franz enjoys spending time on a fishing boat in the Charleston Harbor, sunning with friends on Folly Beach or playing with her dog at Beachwalker Park on Kiawah Island.
Executive Chef/Partner – Prohibition
Born in Beacon, NY, Chef Greg Garrison was raised in the Hudson Valley and attended Suffolk University in Boston before graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park.
After graduating, Greg spent time in some of the country’s most celebrated restaurants, working with Chefs Wylie Dufresne, Grant Achatz and Ken Oringer. Most recently, he was Sous Chef at Boston’s acclaimed French fine dining restaurant L’Espalier. Greg credits much of his success as a cook to working with L’Espalier’s Chef de Cuisine, Matthew Delisle, who taught him how to express himself through his food.
Trading in big city life for the coastal vibes of Charleston, SC, Greg traveled south to join the team at Prohibition Charleston in 2015. Since his arrival, he’s completely revamped the restaurant’s culinary program, incorporating his technical plating and playful flavors into the a la carte menu and his newly launched “casual tasting menu.”
In fall 2017, Greg and the Prohibition Charleston team opened a second Prohibition in historic downtown Savannah.
Executive Chef/Culinary Director – The Umstead Hotel and Spa
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.
Executive Chef – The Mills House Wyndham Grand
The Mills House Wyndham Grand Executive Chef Justin Hunt brings a wealth of culinary successes to the Mills House. Chef Justin has come full circle in his outstanding career, growing up on Long Island, then attending College of Charleston and The Art Institute of Charleston, and now landing him at The Mills House. His journey has included successes in Manhattan as Chef de Cuisine for Celebrity Chef Bobby Flay’s Bar American and working in Northern California at Thomas Keller’s, The French Laundry.
Justin blends his Southern culinary beginnings with unique and high-end experiences from coast to coast.
Owner – Holy City Hogs
Holy City Hogs is a family run operation and we have your family in mind when we raise our pigs, it’s real food without additives and chemicals. It’s what we feed our family. ALL our pigs live their entire lives outside. We don’t use farrowing barns or crates. We believe that happy pigs taste better! We try and offer our pigs the most natural environment possible so pigs can be pigs. Large paddocks comprised of woods and open fields allow our herds to truly graze and forage from the terroir in which they live. The flavors of the Earth, roots, grasses, seasonal forage and acorn mast give our pork products an undeniable advantage in taste and quality you won’t experience from a hog raised on concrete indoors.
Whole hog bbq and fine swine sales have catapulted Holy City Hogs to the forefront of pig conversations in the culinary world. Raising and cooking our own lard hogs offers a true farm to table experience like no other. From New York to New Orleans Tank travels the country delivering Holy City Hogs whether he’s cooking them himself or working with a James Beard winner or Michelin starred chef. Tank lives on Wadmalaw Island with his lovely wife Christian and their two children.
Executive Chef and Owner – The Grocery
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.
Executive Chef – Wild Olive and The Obstinate Daughter
Jacques Larson began his professional training at the University of Iowa’s Stateroom, at the age of twenty-one. In 1996, Jacques Larson moved to the Lowcountry from Iowa City. The Iowa grad has cooked his way through college and had the good fortune to help open Peninsula Grill in 1997. After a brief stint in North Carolina, Jacques returned to Charleston to open Union Hall, Cintra and Mercato restaurants. In 2009, Jacques united with Doug Godley and the Team at Wild Olive. Years of dedication and persistence seemed to come together for the chef on Johns 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. Working with Jason Parrish to create one of Charleston’s favorite restaurants has given Jacques a true sense of accomplishment. It also sparked the two to help conceptualize Wild Olive’s sister restaurant with Doug Godley. Bringing together some of Jacques’ favorite cooking styles and influences, the food of The Obstinate Daughter is an accumulation of 20+ years of working in the hospitality industry.
Chef/Owner – FIG & The Ordinary
Mike Lata is Chef/Partner of FIG Restaurant in Charleston, SC, which he opened in 2003 with Partner Adam Nemirow. In 2009, Mike took home the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southeast. In 2015, his protégé Chef Jason Stanhope garnered the same award – a rare achievement for one restaurant to earn this prestigious prize twice. Additionally, FIG has been nominated in 2014, 2015 and 2016 for Outstanding Wine Program by the James Beard Foundation. Now a local institution, FIG is consistently voted by locals as the “Best Restaurant in Charleston” in Charleston City Paper.
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 Appétit named it in the top 20 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. He is a hands-on, self-taught chef who is relentless in his pursuit of the freshest products, which constantly inspire and define his work. Mike’s mission is to create bright, satisfying food that is both uncomplicated and elegant, all the while paying respect to the efforts and traditions of his family of purveyors. His longstanding and outspoken commitment to support these local farmers and fishermen has cemented his position as a notable champion for Charleston’s flourishing culinary renaissance.
Mike’s food, philosophy, and contributions to the Charleston community have earned him recognition on national platform, including coverage in The Wall Street Journal, Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, Esquire, Garden & Gun, Southern Living, Travel + Leisure, USA Today, The New York Times and many more. He has been featured in several television appearances, including Food Network’s “Iron Chef America,” Bravo’s Top Chef, PBS’s Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking, and ABC’s “Nightline Platelist,” which described his food as “so good it will buckle your knees.”
When he’s not in the kitchen, Mike can be found hitting the links, riding his prized Ducati motorcycles, or enjoying life with his son, Henry.
Executive Chef and Chief Executive Officer, Link Restaurant Group
Inspired by the Cajun and Southern cooking of his grandparents, Louisiana native Chef Donald Link began his professional cooking career at 15 years old. Recognized as one of New Orleans’ preeminent chefs, Chef Link has peppered the streets of the Warehouse District of New Orleans with several restaurants over the course of the past fifteen years. Herbsaint, a contemporary take on the French-American “bistro” was Link’s first restaurant. Cochon, opened with chef-partner Stephen Stryjewski, is where Link offers true Cajun and Southern cooking featuring the foods and cooking techniques he grew up preparing and eating. Cochon Butcher is a tribute to Old World butcher and charcuterie shops which also serves a bar menu, sandwiches, wine and creative cocktails. Calcasieu is Chef Link’s private event facility that takes its name form one of the parishes in the Acadiana region of southwest Louisiana. Peche Seafood Grill serves simply prepared coastal seafood with a unique, modern approach to old world cooking methods featuring rustic dishes prepared on an open hearth over hardwood coals. Enjoy handcrafted pastries and breads at La Boulangerie Link’s neighborhood bakery and cafe.
Link’s flagship restaurant Herbsaint earned him a James Beard award in 2007 for Best Chef South. The same year Cochon was nominated for Best New Restaurant; Link was also nominated by the James Beard Foundation for the prestigious award of Outstanding Chef for multiple years. Peche Seafood Grill was awarded Best New Restaurant at the 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards. Gourmet Magazine listed Herbsaint as one of the top 50 restaurants in America, and was inducted into the Nations Restaurant News Hall of Fame. Cochon was listed in The New York Times as “one of the top 3 restaurants that count” and named one of the 20 most important restaurants in America by Bon Appetit. For his commitment to the industry, the Louisiana Restaurant Association honored Link by naming him Restauranteur of the Year in 2012.
The James Beard Foundation also honored Link’s first cookbook– “Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link’s Louisiana” (Clarkson-Potter) with their top award for Best American Cookbook. Released in 2009. Real Cajun is a collection of family recipes that Link has honed and perfected while honoring the authenticity of the Cajun people. In February 2014, Link celebrated the release of his second cookbook, “Down South: Bourbon, Pork, Gulf Shrimp & Second Helpings of Everything,” (Clarkson-Potter), which looks beyond New Orleans and Louisiana at dishes in nearby states.
In 2015, Chefs Link and Stryjewski created the Link Stryjewski Foundation to address the persistent cycle of violence and poverty, as well as the lack of quality education and job training opportunities available to young people in New Orleans.
Chef/Owner – Cured at Pearl
Hailing from a small farm in Wisconsin, two-time James Beard Award finalist chef Steve McHugh began to make a name for himself in the culinary epicenter of New Orleans, LA as Chef De Cuisine. Yet his most sterling achievement has been successfully battling cancer — a triumph that propelled him to open Cured, his buzzy rustic-chic gastro-pub in the heart of San Antonio’s historic Pearl district. The restaurant is endowed with a name speaks to his feat, as well as the artisanal cured meats that are the cornerstone to his menu. McHugh’s culinary foundation relies on the purity of natural regional ingredients and the hands on, unadulterated methods that enhanced his own healing process. This from-scratch focus finds its way to seasonally dynamic menus of cured meats, bitters, vinegars, pickles and cocktails. McHugh’s culinary integrity resonates throughout the design of the restaurant – honoring its historic roots while adding splashes of modern, old-school, and industrial chic accents in stunning juxtaposition. The driving philosophy of Cured is appreciation, gratitude, and celebration of life, and McHugh engages in active “gastronomic giving” by donating $1 from every charcuterie board to a different charitable organization every quarter. Each September, his “Cured for a Cure” dinner raises tens of thousands of dollars for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Years in the making, but held to Steve’s own brand of perfection, Cured, opened in December 2013 and has since garnered great acclaim, being named a Bon Appetit “America’s Best New Restaurant 2014” nominee, and Esquire “Best New Restaurant of 2014” finalist, as well as 2014’s “Best New Restaurant” by San Antonio Express-News.
Executive Chef – Slightly North of Broad, S.N.O.B.
As chef Russ Moore wears many hats, including management of an esteemed culinary team, cultivating talent, and spearheading the menu development that continues to delight patrons since the restaurant’s opening in 1993.
Moore speaks of these responsibilities with equal enthusiasm. “A lot of what we do at Slightly North of Broad is cultivating young talent. I’m inspired by their creativity and dedication to cuisine. Being part of their culinary development is incredibly rewarding. The Slightly North of Broad kitchen is a special place. To be able to serve products that often just came in the back door from someone you consider a friend is priceless. Having that opportunity makes you strive to be a better cook everyday.”
Within its classic “bistro” concept, Slightly North of Broad offers abundant choices – perennial favorites complemented by daily, seasonal specials. By offering that combination, Moore feels Slightly North of Broad brings diners a unique experience. “We want people to feel they can come here every day, any day, and enjoy what we’re doing.”
A graduate of Johnson and Wales University Charleston, he was named Slightly North of Broad’s chef de cuisine in 2008, chef in 2013, and then executive chef in 2015. Moore is an active mentor at the Culinary Institute of Charleston. He serves as a judge with the National Restaurant Association’s Pro Start program and actively involves himself with local professional organizations.
Executive Chef – Zero George
Vinson Petrillo’s passion for natural, local ingredients is matched only by his deft gastronomic artistry. A graduate of Johnson and Wales, Petrillo’s Italian ancestry gave him an early appreciation for festive dinning and bold flavors. He honed his culinary skills in some of New York’s finest restaurants, including Caviar Russe and Abe & Arthur’s. Before coming to Zero George, Petrillo served as chef de cuisine at Prospect, a Michelin Bib Gourmand recipient, in Brooklyn. In addition to mastering the kitchen, Petrillo’s talent has also wowed the TV camera, as two-time winner of Food Network’s Chopped and Chopped Champions, and on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters. In 2015, his innovative, technical cuisine won him the regional title at the S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition and a spot in the international competition at the Expo Milano 2015, sharing the stage with the world’s best and brightest young chefs.
Chef/Partner – Peche Seafood Grill
Ryan Prewitt began his culinary career in the farmer’s markets of San Francisco, where a burgeoning interest in food developed into a full-blown career. After spending time working for chefs Robert Cubberly and Alicia Jenish at Le Petite Robert Bistro, he moved to New Orleans to work with Chef Donald Link at Herbsaint. Ryan proved to be a quick study under Link’s tutelage and became Chef de Cuisine in 2009. He subsequently moved on to oversee culinary operations at Link Restaurant Group as Executive Chef for the Company.
With a new job came an increased ability to learn and travel. As a member of the Fatback Collective, a group of Southern chefs who have compiled numerous accolades and awards in restaurants across the South, Ryan has learned new traditions and techniques from many talented BBQ pitmasters and has traveled to Uruguay to study traditional open-fire cooking. These experiences, along with a trip to observe grilling techniques in Spain, culminated in the opening of Peche Seafood Grill. Ryan received the James Beard Award for Best Chef: South in May 2014, the same year Peche earned the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant.
Owner-Pitmaster, Fiery Ron’s Home Team BBQ
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.
Executive Chef, 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.
Executive Chef – McCrady’s
An artist at heart, McCrady’s Executive Chef Jim Stein embraces cooking as an artform, using ingredients, technique, and plating as a creative outlet in the kitchen. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Stein got his start at local pizza restaurants during high school and throughout college while studying studio art. After falling in love with cooking and discovering it as a catalyst for creative expression, Stein decided to enroll in culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu. He graduated with honors and embarked on a career in fine dining, beginning at Casbah in Pittsburgh working alongside chefs Eli Wahl and Dustin Gardner.
Stein headed south to Charleston in 2012 to join the Neighborhood Dining Group as Chef de Partie of McCrady’s, training under chefs Sean Brock, Jeremiah Langhorne and Daniel Heinze for two years. Returning to Pennsylvania in 2014, Stein spent a year at Cure, honing his skills as sous chef for esteemed Chef Justin Severino. When McCrady’s transformed to a tasting-menu only restaurant in 2016, Stein returned to the Holy City to join the team. McCrady’s orchestrates an intimate and adventurous dining experience for guests in the 22-seat dining room. In July 2018, Stein was promoted to Executive Chef and now leads the culinary team, working with purveyors to craft an ever-changing menu that celebrates ingredients in a unique and elevated fashion. In 2018, McCrady’s received the high honor of a AAA Five-Diamond Award, the only restaurant in South Carolina with this esteemed distinction.
Stein spends time biking and going to the gym to create balance and relieve stress outside the busy kitchen and is a die-hard Pittsburgh sports fan. He continues to love many forms of art, including food photography, which is regularly featured on the McCrady’s Instagram account.
Executive Chef/Partner – Link Restaurant Group
Winner of the 2011 James Beard Foundation “Best Chef South”, Stephen Stryjewski is Chef/Partner of New Orleans’ award winning restaurants Cochon, Cochon Butcher, Peche Seafood Grill, Calcasieu, a private event facility, and La Boulangerie, a neighborhood bakery and cafe. Stephen has been honored as “Best New Chef” by New Orleans Magazine, as a “Chef to Watch” by The Times-Picayune. In 2007 Cochon was named a “Best New Restaurant” finalist by the James Beard Foundation, and in 2014, Peche Seafood Grill won the James Beard Foundation award in the same category. Cochon has been recognized in the New York Times by Frank Bruni, “Coast to Coast, Restaurants that Count;” and Sam Sifton, “Dishes That Earned Their Stars,” and has been consistently listed as a Top Ten New Orleans Restaurant in The Times-Picayune Dining Guide and was recently named one of the 20 most important restaurants in America by Bon Appetit.
In 2015, Stryjewski and his business partner, Chef Donald Link, created the Link Stryjewski Foundation to address the persistent cycle of violence and poverty, as well as the lack of quality education and job training opportunities available to young people in New Orleans.
In 1997, Stryjewski graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and went on to work for some of the most notable chefs and restaurants in America including Michael Chiarello at TraVigne, Jamie Shannon at Commanders Palace, and Jeff Buben at Vidalia. Stryjewski grew up moving frequently as an “Army brat” and has traveled extensively in the United States and Europe. He resides in New Orleans’ Irish Channel with his wife and two daughters.
Andy Ticer & Michael Hudman
Executive Chefs/Owners – Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen + 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 second restaurant, Hog & Hominy, is a wood burning, neighborhood eatery and was 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 three consecutive years during 2012-2014, and a finalist for the award in 2015, 2016, and 2017. In 2013, they were awarded Food & Wine Magazine’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.” Early 2015 saw the opening of the chefs’ third space, a craft butcher shop and café, complete with classic pastries, coffee, espresso. Porcellino’s Craft Butcher received four stars from The Commercial Appeal and made the Bon Appetit list of Top 50 new restaurants for 2015. The chefs opened Josephine Estelle in the Ace Hotel New Orleans in March 2016. The restaurant made Bon Appettit’s top 50 Best New Restaurants and Southern Livings Best New Restaurants in the South. Catherine & Mary’s, the chef’s first restaurant in Downtown Memphis, opened in September of 2016 and brought together their blend of grandmother cooking, Italian philosophy of dining, and southern ingredients to the heart of the city. In December of 2017, the chefs will open their second downtown restaurant that will be located in the Old Dominic Distillery. This most recent addition will embrace a new and exciting restaurant concept, featuring an open kitchen, wood fire cooking and a raw bar, all overlooking the Mississippi River in the South Main Arts District of Downtown Memphis.
Executive Chef/Owner – Le Farfalle
Michael Toscano is Chef/Owner of Le Farfalle in Charleston, SC, the modern, Italian osteria he opened with his wife, Caitlin, in 2016.
A native of Houston, TX, Michael had goals of playing college golf until a stint working at a local golf course in high school turned him on to cooking instead. He received a scholarship to an American Culinary Federation Apprenticeship at North Carolina’s Pinehurst Resort. After moving to New York City, Michael began working under Thomas Keller at Bouchon Bakery. By the age of 21, he was working as a sous chef for Mario Batali’s celebrated Babbo. After four years with B&B Hospitality, Toscano was tapped to open the Italian food mecca Eataly as the Executive chef of the fine dining restaurant, Manzo.
Michael ventured out on his own in 2012 to open Perla – a modern Italian restaurant located in Greenwich Village – which received many notable accolades, including Esquire‘s Best New Restaurants in America; New York Times Two Stars; and Time Out New York Best Italian Restaurant.
Through his career Toscano has garnered many accomplishments, such as “New York Rising Star” by StarChefs.com; Zagat 30 under 30; James Beard “Rising Star Chef” semifinalist; selected to be part of the Williams Sonoma Chefs’ Collective; and Charleston Regional Business Journal Forty under 40.
Seeking a slower pace of life and chasing their dreams of opening a restaurant together, Michael and Caitlin moved with their two children (Julian and Marley) to Charleston in 2015 to open Le Farfalle.
Embracing traditions inspired by both his Texan childhood food memories, Mexican heritage and classical Italian training, Michael utilizes the best Lowcountry ingredients from celebrated producers and applies them using time-tested techniques.
His food is both comforting and familiar, while pushing the boundaries of what’s expected.
Division Executive Chef – US Foods, Ft. Mill, SC
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.
Owner, Executive Chef and Sommelier – Trattoria Lucca and Coda del Pesce
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 EsquireMagazine. 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.
Link Restaurant Group
Bio to come…