2018 PARTICIPATING CHEFS
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 – 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/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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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, 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.
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 Sous Chef – The Dewberry
With more than 17 years of culinary experience, Chef Ryley McGillis serves as the Executive Sous Chef at The Dewberry Hotel, Charleston’s world-class luxury hotel. With unparalleled views, The Dewberry occupies the former L. Mendel Rivers federal building bordering historic Marion Square debuted in 2016.
Inspired by his 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 Academy, 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, The Belmond Charleston Place Hotel as well as the five diamond Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island’s Jasmine Porch, 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 Food and Wine Festival, Taste of Charleston and Gourmet & Grapes, in addition to locally sourcing ingredients and stimulating the economic growth of the Lowcountry region.
Executive Chef – Jianna
Michael Kramer has a track record for opening the Best New Restaurants in America. Under his leadership, McCrady’s in Charleston won the coveted title in 1999 from Esquire. A decade later he received the same nod for Voice in Houston from both Esquire and Travel & Leisure in 2009.
A California native, Chef Michael Kramer has worked in kitchens from Coast to Coast. He started his career at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago in Los Angeles and then to the famed Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas.
In April 2013, Chef Kramer moved to Greenville, SC to take a position with Table 301 Restaurant Group Executive Chef of Culinary Operations for the restaurant group. He soon added Executive Chef at The Lazy Goat to his daily responsibilities, a position held until July 2015.
In 2017, Chef Kramer will open Jianna, a modern Italian kitchen in Greenville, South Carolina, featuring modern Italian cuisine, fresh pastas and shucked oysters.
In addition to his years of experience in the kitchen, Chef Kramer is no stranger to the festival scene. Over the last few years he has been invited to participate in Taste of Derby, Cincinnati Food & Wine Classic, Charleston Wine + Food, Charlotte Wine & Food Weekend, Memphis Food & Wine and Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.
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.”
This fall, Greg and the Prohibition Charleston team will open a second Prohibition in historic downtown Savannah.
Executive Chef – Hall Management Group
With over thirty years of experience, Executive Chef Matthew Niessner directs the culinary operations for Hall Management Group. Before he served as Executive Chef at The Sanctuary on Kiawah Island, Matthew spent time with some of the country’s greatest chefs in some of the country’s finest restaurants. His credits include The Brass Elephant in Baltimore, Tapas Pepin and the Princess Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, The Dining Room at Osprey Point on Kiawah and his own Blend in downtown Charleston. Chef Niessner was a 1987 graduate at the prestigious Baltimore International Culinary College in Maryland. His diverse repertoire of international and classical American culinary talents presents guests at our six restaurants with the finest dining experience in warm and beautiful atmospheres. Halls Chophouse was recently voted the #4 Best Restaurant in the Nation by TripAdvisor. Additionally, as Executive Chef with Halls Chophouse, the restaurant has been awarded a Four Diamond Rating every year. In 2011, he was the winner of Charleston’s Iron Chef.
His yearly involvement in many philanthropic events such as March of Dimes, Hollings Cancer Center, MUSC Children’s Hospital, Darkness to Light, YES Carolina and Feed the Homeless allows for his culinary skills to reach beyond the restaurant, and benefit the community. In addition, his community outreach also includes education with local culinary students.
Chef Niessner promotes the sustainability movement and focuses strongly on using as much local seafood, fruits and vegetables when available.
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.
Executive Chef/Owner – The Glass Onion
An eighth generation Alabama native, Chris Stewart knows a thing or two about true home grown southern cooking. Born and raised in Birmingham, he got most of his cooking knowledge firsthand from his grandmother Jennie Ruth Haley. Jennie Ruth was born on a farm in rural Mississippi before relocating to Birmingham. Her grandmother had a small “meat and three” restaurant in the city and it was there Jennie Ruth and her sisters learned how to cook. Jennie Ruth then married Calvin Stewart and they purchased a piece of land where they grew a substantial garden filled with southern staples like corn, butterbeans, green beans, okra, turnip greens, tomatoes, watermelon and more. It was this upbringing that allowed for Chris to understand the importance and the difference of using local, fresh produce. He learned how his grandmother made her signature dishes often during Sunday Supper – dishes like country fried steak, fried chicken, corn bread, deviled eggs, pies and cobblers. Items you often see at The Glass Onion.
Chris went to Auburn University for a stint and studied Hotel/Restaurant Management. During that time worked in some nearby restaurants. He worked at a deli and learned how to bake bread, and then at a small cafe that was serving fresh, local fish, made from scratch dishes, and hand-butchered steak. He worked his way up in the restaurant and became the leader in the kitchen. He eventually moved to Charleston where he attended Johnson & Wales University. He worked full time in the kitchen at Magnolias under the leadership of Executive Chef Donald Drake and Sous Chef Craig Deihl. Magnolias at that time, was the city’s most respected and revered fine dining establishment. After graduating, he worked six months cooking at the Caneel Bay Resort in St. John, Virgin Islands.
Longing to get back to Charleston, he returned in 2004, he was hired to work in the kitchen at Slightly North of Broad under the helm of legendary Chef Frank Lee. His time there taught him more about Lowcountry flavors, produce, and techniques. He also met his future wife, Suzanne Kelly. He moved on to work at FIG, spending three years working for James Beard Foundation winner Chef Mike Lata and worked his way up to Sous Chef. He and fellow FIG cook Charles Vincent in talks while cooking, discussed potentially opening their own place. Together with Sarah O’Kelley, did just that in 2008 when they found the space that is now home to The Glass Onion. The rest is history. The other two partners over time decided to go on pursue other interests, and Chris and his wide are now the sole owners of the restaurant.
Executive Chef – Hank’s Seafood
Like many chefs, South Carolina native Tim Richardson gravitated to the kitchen as a teenager. Richardson spent several years learning the restaurant business at locally owned steak houses in Columbia, S.C., before discovering his niche at Twigs, a charming restaurant located in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Under the tutelage of Twigs Chef Ryan Brevda, Richardson honed his appreciation for preparing high quality ingredients and crafting a fine dining experience. To further refine his culinary skills, Richardson relocated in 2001 to Charleston, S.C., where he enrolled in Johnson & Wales University and began mentoring at Hank’s Seafood Restaurant under founding Chef Frank McMahon. Today, Richardson’s culinary talent, passion for fresh seafood, and dedication to all aspects of running a restaurant serve him well as Executive Chef of Hank’s Seafood Restaurant, a role he earned after many successful years as the restaurant’s Chef de Cuisine. Tim recently was a finalist for Charleston’s best chef as voted by readers of The Post & Courier, Charleston’s Choice Awards.
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.
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.
TRUDI WAGNER + PATTY FLOERSHEIMER
Owners – goat.sheep.cow.
Seven 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.
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.
JONATHAN & JUSTIN FOX
Pitmasters/Owners – Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q
Growing up in Texas, pitmasters and twin brothers Jonathan and Justin Fox were inspired by the open sky, the Texas heat and the Southwestern spice. Though not professionally trained, the identical twin brothers developed an early passion for cooking, testing recipes on family and friends. In high school, while their peers were hosting keg parties, the Fox brothers were inviting their friends over for seated dinners. It wasn’t until Jonathan moved to Atlanta in early 1998 that he began taking his hobby more seriously. Justin followed shortly after, joining his brother in Atlanta in 2000. Frustrated with what they perceived as a lack of good, Texas-style barbecue in Atlanta, Jonathan and Justin began to experiment with making their own through a “trial and error” approach. After many failed kitchen experiments, they decided to unveil their barbecue to their friends and neighbors at a friendly backyard gathering. The successful party became an annual event, growing larger each year, until they were cooking for more than 200 people. In 2004 the brothers were introduced to Dan & Beau Nolen and Mike Reeves of Smith’s Olde Bar. The Fox brothers went from barbecuing in the parking lot of Smith’s to having their own menu at the legendary venue, eventually cooking seven days a week. Even without a brick and mortar place of their own, the Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q began creating a lot of buzz in Atlanta – even being named runner up for “Best Overall Bar-B-Q” in the city by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It was around this time that Jonathan was laid off from his corporate day job. This turned out to be a blessing and the brothers teamed up with Reeves and the Nolens to take their catering gig to the next level and open a restaurant of their own. Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q was opened in 2007 and rapidly became a staple for Atlanta natives and out of town visitors. The restaurant has been featured on The Weather Channel, TLC, Fox News, and The Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives”. It has earned top spots on national barbecue rankings from top publications including Eater, USA Today, Southern Living, and Maxim Magazine. In 2014 and 2014, Jonathan and Justin were invited to bring their ‘cue to the big city as guest chefs at the prestigious James Beard House. Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q is the “Official Barbecue of the Atlanta Falcons” and, in 2015, they began serving barbecue to fans inside the Georgia Dome.
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.
Executive Chef – Mills House
Mills House Wyndham Grand Executive Chef Justin Hunt brings a wealth of culinary successes to the Mills House. 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.
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 – 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.