2017 PARTICIPATING CHEFS
ANDY TICER & MICHAEL HUDMAN
Executive Chefs – Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen and Hog & Hominy
Born and bred Memphians, Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman opened Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen in 2008 to feature innovative Italian cooking rooted in Southern tradition. The Chefs trained at Johnson and Wales University in Charleston, South Carolina and the Italian Culinary Institute in Calabria, Italy. Their second restaurant, Hog & Hominy, is a wood burning, neighborhood eatery and has been named one of the top new restaurants by GQ Magazine, Southern Living, and Bon Appetit as well as 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 and 2016. 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 cafe, complete with classic pastries, coffee, espresso and cicchetti served in the dim sum style. 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 Appetit’s Top 50 Best New Restaurants and Southern Living’s Best New Restaurants in the South. Most recently, the chefs are excited to open Catherine & Mary’s in downtown Memphis mid-September 2016.
Executive Chef/Owner – La Petite Grocery and Balise
Chef Justin Devillier is the Chef/Owner of La Petite Grocery and Balise in New Orleans, and the 2016 James Beard Award winner for Best Chef: South.
Raised in a small California beach town, Devillier moved to New Orleans in 2003 to cook in the kitchens of Bacco, Stella and Peristyle. In 2004, he joined the team at La Petite Grocery and within one year was promoted from line cook to Sous Chef. Following Hurricane Katrina, Devillier helped re-build the restaurants’ infrastructure and was promoted to Executive Chef in 2007. In 2010, Devillier and his wife took ownership of the restaurant, where he puts his creative spin on traditional New Orleans cuisine.
In 2015, the Devilliers opened Balise, set in a 19th century Creole townhouse in the Central Business District. Balise is a modern New Orleans tavern that celebrates the port city’s unique access to a wide variety of ingredients.
Owner/Chef/Cookbook Author/Speaker – Red Beard Restaurants
While always pushing himself to look at the restaurant industry in innovative ways, chef, restaurateur, speaker and author Kevin Gillespie’s passion lies in serving quality food every day. After graduating from the Art Institute of Atlanta, the Georgia native worked in restaurants in Atlanta and Oregon before opening Gunshow in 2013. In 2015, Gillespie opened Revival, a fresh take on the family-style dinner. Red Beard Restaurants was established in 2015, allowing Gillespie to ensure smart expansion and provide consulting services to other start-ups. In 2016, Gillespie added a German-style beer garden in Revival’s backyard called Communion. Gillespie was one of three finalists and “fan favorite” on the sixth season of Bravo’s “Top Chef.” He was named a 2015 semi-finalist and 2016 finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: South award and has previously been a semi-finalist for the Rising Start Chef of the Year award for three consecutive years, nominated for Food & Wine’s People’s Best New Chef and named Forbes’ 30 Under 30. Eater included Gunshow in its annual “The National 38” list of places to eat in America in 2015 and 2016. In 2014, Gunshow earned a spot on GQ Magazine’s list of “12 Most Outstanding Restaurants” as well as Esquire Magazine’s list of “Best New Restaurants in 2014.” Revival was included in Southern Living’s list of “The South’s Best New Restaurants” in 2016. Gillespie released Pure Pork Awesomeness in 2015, a follow-up to James Beard Award Finalist Fire in My Belly. He is a member of Slow Food Atlanta, Southern Foodways Alliance, Community Farmers Markets Chefs Advisory Board, Georgia Organics and the Society for the Preservation of Traditional Southern Barbecue. chefkevingillespie.com.
Kristen Kish was born in South Korea and adopted into a family in Kentwood, MI. She showed an affinity for cooking at a young age. Her mother suggested she go to culinary school and since attending Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago, Kish has never looked back.
After moving to Boston, Kish worked in many high-profile restaurants including Michelin-star Chef Guy Martin’s Sensing and Barbara Lynch’s Stir as Chef de Cuisine, overseeing all back of house operations, including the design and execution of nightly menus and demonstration dinners for 10 guests. Kish competed on Bravo’s Top Chef Season 10 where she won the coveted title, becoming the second female chef to win the prestigious competition. She went on to become Chef de Cuisine of Menton, Chef Barbara Lynch’s fine dining restaurant. She left this position in 2014 to travel the world and write a cookbook.
Most recently, Kish was named co-host of “36 Hours,” a Travel Channel show partnering with The New York Times to bring the hit newspaper column to television. In each episode, co-hosts Kish and Kyle Martino arrive in a new city where they’ll have 36 hours to explore the most delicious foods and hot spots, meet fascinating local insiders and experience the best attractions unique to each place. The New York Times editors and contributors bring extensive research and expertise to each locale, and will inform Kish’s and Martino’s itineraries. Episodes will be timed to coincide with new or updated ’36 Hours’ columns.
Executive Chef – Warehouse Kitchen + Bar
Emily Hahn, Chef at Warehouse Bar + Kitchen and Top Chef season 14 contestant, has been cooking in the South for eleven years. Her culinary career began under Ed Vasaio at Mamma Zu in Richmond, Virginia, where she worked directly under Vasaio, learning his recipes that had been written down on post-it notes. After three years at the helm of Mamma Zu’s kitchen, Hahn moved to Vermont to attend New England Culinary Institute. Upon graduating, she made her way to Charleston to work under James Beard Award winner, Mike Lata at FIG Restaurant.
Hahn’s passion for foods of different cultures and travel soon led her to Patagonia, Chile, to work at one of the top-rated fly fishing lodges in the world, Martin Pescador Lodge. It was in Chile that her passion for working side by side with farmers and her understanding of the true value of cooking seasonal, simple food grew to a new level. After returning from Chile, Hahn took a part time position at Warehouse while growing her empanada business, Empanada Mamma, and eventually took the lead in the kitchen as the Executive Chef of Warehouse. Her cuisine is bright, flavorful, and elevates simple ingredients in inventive ways. In 2015, Hahn was named a “Rising Star Chef” by Food & Wine Magazine and Eater Charleston’s “Chef of the Year.”
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 – The Umstead Hotel and Spa and AN Cuisines
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 de Cuisine – AN Cuisines
Joshua Hughes, originally from Travelers Rest, SC, found himself in the kitchen at a very early age. He spent numerous hours in his grandmother’s kitchen searching the spice cabinets and playing with different flavors and textures. At age 16, he started working at a local steakhouse as a busboy, but would volunteer to help in the kitchen any change he could. After graduating from high school, he knew he needed to start expanding his culinary knowledge from steaks, and began working at several local restaurants, each time learning a new set of skills. In 2006, his culinary career reached a new level when he came across a new restaurant in Greenville, SC called Devereaux’s.
Starting out as an assistant to the pastry chef, Hughes quickly learned that he was a part of vision driven by desire. Under the direction of Steven Devereaux Greene and Spencer Thomson, he learned that extreme drive, passion, and effort would be rewarded by creating memories for guests. He quickly worked his way through every station and was promoted to head sous chef.
In early 2011, Hughes made a move and joined the team at the award-winning Herons of the Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, NC. Under the direction of Executive Chef Scott Crawford and a familiar face and old friend, Chef de Cuisine Steven Devereaux Greene, Hughes joined the team as a sous chef. During his tenure, Herons received its Five Star rating and AAA Five Diamond Award. Hughes knew that to improve yourself that you must work with the highest level of culinary talent which the Umstead provided. In 2012, Chef Greene was granted the opportunity to take over AN Cuisines, and he chose Hughes to be his executive sous chef, and eventually chef de cuisine.
When not in the kitchen, Hughes spends his time with his lovely wife, Kristin and their two dogs Lily and Niko.
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 December 2012, Lata and Nemirow opened The Ordinary, a classic oyster bar and seafood hall in Charleston’s Upper King district, to much local and national acclaim. The James Beard Foundation nominated The Ordinary as Best New Restaurant in 2013, and GQ, Esquire and Bon Appetit also named it one of the best restaurants of the year. FIG was nominated for Outstanding Wine Program in 2014 by The James Beard Foundation.
A native New Englander, Mike started his culinary career at an early age, working in kitchens in Boston, New Orleans, Atlanta and France before landing in Charleston in 1998. Mike is a hands-on, self-taught chef who continues to delight making the most basic things delicious, creating food that is bright, uncomplicated and understated. His longstanding and outspoken commitment to support local farmers, fishermen and purveyors has cemented his position as a notable champion for Charleston’s flourishing culinary renaissance. Mike is an active member of the Southern Foodways Alliance, co-founder of the Charleston Slow Food convivial, and the Official Charleston Representative for the Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Nominated in 2007 and 2008 for The James Beard Foundation Award, Best Chef: Southeast, Mike took home the award in 2009. His food, philosophy, and contributions to the Charleston community have earned him recognition on national platform, including coverage in Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Esquire, Garden & Gun, Southern Living, Travel + Leisure, USA Today, The New York Times and many more. Mike competed on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” and was featured on the same network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” He was profiled on Dateline’s “Platelist,” which described Mike’s food as “so good it will buckle your knees.” FIG has been consistently voted “Best Restaurant in Charleston” by Charleston City Paper readers and continues to be a favorite local destination. When he’s not in the kitchen, Mike can be found hitting the links, riding his prized Ducati motorcycles, or enjoying life with his wife, Emilee, and their son, Henry.
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.
Chef/Owner – Fat Hen Restaurant
Chef Fred Neuville has been the founding Chef/Partner of some of Charleston’s favorite restaurants. In 2007 Chef Neuville left to go out on his own with his family and open Fat Hen Restaurant (Lowcountry French). Neuville spent his days in the restaurant fast lane making an indelible mark on the Charleston food scene. Ready to fuse his passion for food and family, Neuville opens Fat Hen as an outpost for culinary delights and domestic enjoyment.
A native of Roanoke, VA, Neuville graduated from The Culinary Institute of America. Immediately following graduation, he was recruited to support in the start-up of Linwood’s Cafe & Grill in Baltimore, MD. With his skills honed after five years in a restaurant kitchen he became Chef Garde Manager for The Willard Intercontinental in Washington DC.
Satisfying his wanderlust, in 1992 Neuville ventured to Colorado to work for Aspen’s Milan’s Greenhouse restaurant. It was there that he was recruited as a senior instructor and, later, assistant director, at the School of Culinary Arts in Denver, CO.
After five successful years in the mountains of Colorado, Neuville longed to return to the Southeast. In 1997, he accepted a job as Executive Chef at the Jasmine Porch Restaurant located within the celebrated Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina and later moved to serve as Executive Chef for “Events by Stephen Duvall” in Charleston. Along the way, Neuville received several coveted industry awards from the American Culinary Federation, the Southern Bridal Show, the Celebrity Pro/Am competitions and the Western Regional Conference. Neuville was recognized by national publications such as Bon Appetit and National Geographic Traveler. Fred Neuville serves as Chef Chair for Darkness 2 Light and is the author of ‘The Fat Hen Cookbook’ celebrating French Lowcountry Cuisine.
Not only has Neuville opened a restaurant, but he and his wife, Joan, are parents to four amazing adopted foster children, who will each play a role at Fat Hen. “I couldn’t be happier with the diversity of my work and home life,” says Neuville. “Or busier!”
• ACF certified executive chef • Graduate of the Culinary Institute of America • Former Assistant Director of Culinary Arts, Colorado Institute of Art • Winner of numerous culinary and restaurant awards • Former executive chef of many of Charleston’s favorite restaurants • Recipes featured in multiple national publications.
Executive Chef – Edmund’s Oast
Reid Henninger, a Baltimore, Maryland native, grew up in the food and beverage industry. His parents owned and operated a small neighborhood restaurant called Henninger’s Ale House, in Fells Point, Baltimore, which has now been around for 35 years. Though they are no longer the owners, his father has spent nearly his entire life behind a bar and his mother a cook. Reid decided to leave the north to pursue higher education and graduated from the College of Charleston with a Studio Art degree in 2007.
Though painting was Reid’s first love, after working in kitchens in college he knew it was what he wanted to do for a living. Upon graduating, he moved back to Baltimore, MD to help his mother open a café. After a few years of cooking in his hometown, Reid realized that he had left an exciting culinary revolution in the South, and moved to New Orleans, LA in 2012. After a brief stint at Coquette New Orleans, he returned to Charleston to work at The Ordinary. Reid joined the team Edmund’s Oast in December 2014 as the PM Sous Chef. He brings with him to the position a passion for working with the tools of the Lowcountry- from locally caught fish to locally grown produce.
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 Chef – Grand Bohemian Hotel Charleston
With more than 15 years of culinary experience, Chef Ryley McGillis serves as the Executive Chef at Grand Bohemian Charleston in Charleston, SC, The Kessler Collection’s newest luxury boutique hotel, which opened in August 2015.
Inspired by this mother’s home cooked meals, Chef McGillis discovered his love for food at a young age before earning a culinary degree from Le Cordon Bleu Acadamy, in addition to graduating from Florida State University. During his career, Chef McGillis has worked with culinary teams in several coveted restaurants in Charleston such as Zinc Bistro and Charleston Place Hotel. Most recently Chef McGillis joins The Kessler Collection team from The Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, where he enriched the award-winning southern style menu and service.
Chef McGillis takes pride in supporting the local community through annual events such as the Charleston Wine + Food Festival, Taste of Charleston, March of Dimes Signature Chef Auction and Gourmet & Grapes, in addition to locally sourcing ingredients and stimulating the economic growth of the Lowcountry region.
Owner-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 – Cypress & Artisan Meat Share
Born & raised in Danville, Penn., Chef Craig Deihl grew up in a quintessential American household, where every evening dinner was on the table by the time his father was home from work. His mother, an “unbelievable” cook, graced the family’s table with homespun meals—a ritual which remains to be one of the biggest influences he has had as a chef.
Deihl is a founding member of the Butcher’s Guild, a network of meat professionals that promotes responsible butchering through education and community. Deihl was chosen in 2010 as Chef of the Year by the Charleston chapter of the American Culinary Foundation. That same year, he was a semi-finalist for a prestigious James Beard Foundation award for best chef Southeast, and was a nominee for the award in 2011 and 2012, as well as a semi-finalist again in 2013.
Through a partnership with the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) and farmer Gra Moore of Carolina Heritage Farm, Deihl had the opportunity to be the first chef in over 100 years to utilize the rare American Guinea Hog. This same passion for preserving meat prompted him to adopt the CSA-like concept for meats, Artisan Meat Share (AMS). From 2009-2013, participants received local charcuterie and local farmers, in turn, received support from the increased product demand in what Deihl describes as a win-win scenario for both. In September 2014, Artisan Meat Share opened at 33 Spring St., providing a place where guests can enjoy all that AMS has to offer—all the time—including award-winning charcuterie, freshly butchered meat and delicious sandwiches.
To date, Deihl has produced over 90 types of charcuterie which have been prepared, stored and cured in-house at Cypress.
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.
Executive Chef – Seven Sows
Chef Mike Moore was born in Elm City, Wilson County, North Carolina. His family settled in Eastern North Carolina since prior to the American Revolution and among an agricultural community of sharecroppers and heritage farmers which is his roots. Leaving a career in law enforcement in Raleigh, NC in his mid twenties, Mike worked and trained in San Francisco at a number of restaurants in and around the bay area before relocating to Asheville, NC in 2005.
Seven Sows is a restaurant which focuses on an impressionable and memorable dining experience with down to earth decor, warm and friendly service and delicious food and drink rooted in the nostalgia of our heritage and our past. Seven Sows sets out to embody the interpretation of a southern focused cuisine with impressions of French and modern American techniques and above all a boundless and bold creative spirit.
Executive Chef/Owner – The Pampered Palate Personal Chef Service
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.
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 – Halls Chophouse
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
A native of Houston, Texas, Michael grew up striving to be a professional golfer but became interested in cooking while working at a golf club in high school. Instead of pursuing a golf career, Michael received a scholarship to attend an American Culinary Federation Apprenticeship hosted through North Carolina’s Pinehurst Resort. Upon graduation, he moved to New York City where he worked at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery, and shortly after landed at Mario Batali’s Babbo as a sous chef at the young age of 21. After four years at the renowned restaurant, Michael was made the Executive Chef of Eataly’s Manzo, the Italian restaurant located in Greenwich Village, which received many accolades including: Esquire’s Best New Restaurants in America, two stars from The New York Times, and Time Out New York Best Italian Restaurant. Michael later took over the kitchens at the seafood focused Jeffrey’s Grocery, and Montmartre, a contemporary French bistro, both part of Happy Cooking Hospitality. Michael was named a “New York Rising Star” by Star Chefs, Zagat 30 Under 30, James Beard “Rising Star Chef” semifinalist, and was selected to be part of the Williams Sonoma’s Chefs’ Collective.
In the summer of 2015, Michael and his wife Caitlin moved with their two children, Julian and Marley, to Charleston, South Carolina. The duo opened their Italian osteria, Le Farfalle, in the Summer of 2016.
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.
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.
Chef de Cuisine – McCrady’s Tavern
Chef Justin Cherry spent his childhood days watching and learning to bake from his mother and grandmother, who had worked in the family bakery in Butler, PA. He also loved hunting, fishing, and preparing wild game with his Dad, and grew up with a natural curiosity for food and cooking. But becoming a chef was not always Cherry’s plan.
A football player since 7th grade, Cherry had a deeply competitive spirit and love for the game, and went on to play college football as the punter at the University of Rhode Island. Unfortunately, Cherry tore his ACL, MCL, and meniscus in his right leg – his kicking leg – and was left with no choice but to quit the team. Knowing that his dreams for playing professional football were over, he returned home to Pennsylvania, needing a new career plan. Cherry saw an ad for culinary school and was reminded of the love for cooking that he had growing up. He enrolled and quickly knew he found his passion.
While in school, Cherry worked in a number of restaurants around Butler and downtown Pittsburgh. When he was offered a sous chef position at North Country Brewing in Slippery Rock, PA, Cherry left culinary school and proceeded to work in the kitchen for two years. He then served as Executive Chef at Brooklin Inn in Maine for two years. In 2009, Cherry was staging at Le Bernardin with pastry chef Michael Laiskonis and first learned of Chef Sean Brock and his restaurant McCrady’s. Laiskonis spoke very highly of Brock, and Cherry scheduled a stage at McCrady’s as soon as he could plan a trip to Charleston. While there, Cherry remembers the genuine staff who were willing to teach him anything he wanted to learn, most notably making two types of salami, Milano and Tuscan. The experience sparked an immense interest in charcuterie, meats, and butchering, so Cherry began to look for opportunities to learn more in Italy. He connected with Dario Cecchini and was invited to apprentice under the renowned butcher during the summer of 2010. Cherry describes his time with Cecchini as the most fulfilling learning experience in his life where he learned to break down whole animals, gained an appreciation and respect for the animals, and a true knowledge for cooking and hospitality, all from the best butchers in the world.
After his apprenticeship, Cherry returned to the states and learned Chef Brock was looking for a butcher for his new Charleston restaurant, Husk. Cherry was offered the position in September 2010 and was promoted to sous chef within a month after Husk opened its doors in November 2010. After developing the restaurant’s charcuterie program, Cherry was promoted to chef de cuisine in 2015. When McCrady’s Tavern opened in August 2016, Brock selected Cherry to lead the kitchen as chef de cuisine at the new restaurant.
When out of the kitchen, Cherry enjoys finding new adventures with his wife Michaela, flintlock hunting, fishing, and participating in historical reenactments – a hobby that he says has highly influenced his interest in researching ingredients and cooking.
Inspiration defines Chris Edwards’ cuisine. As a chef, he communicates this inspiration with his guests through menus that express his local loyalties, community relationships, and global influence. Classically trained, Chris began his culinary career at the young age of 13 at a food court pizzeria. Working his way to a culinary education at Johnson & Wales University, he joined the team at McCrady’s in Charleston, South Carolina. His experience there opened his eyes to an even bigger picture which then led him to a stage at the world renowned el Bulli, Ferran Adria’s temple of modern gastronomy. He returned home to join the highly acclaimed team at the late Maestro with Chef Fabio Trabocchi. During his time as Chef at Patowmack Farm, organic, hyperlocal foods were a highlight and led to numerous accolades. In addition, Chris has a successful record of luxury resort openings including Gaylord National and Salamander Resort and Spa, guiding large teams in multiple outlets to excellence through motivated and inspired leadership.
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