Raised in rural Virginia, James Beard Award Winner Sean Brock is a distinguished chef and restauranteur known for his involvement in the repatriation of the Southern pantry and cuisine over the past 20 years. For over a decade, he was the chef and partner of McCrady’s and McCrady’s Tavern in Charleston, South Carolina, as well as the founding chef of Husk Restaurants, located in Charleston, Nashville, and Savannah. In 2019, he laid down roots in Nashville to open four ambitious and unique restaurant endeavors: Joyland, The Continental, Audrey, and the forthcoming June.
In 2020, Brock opened Joyland, the first of his solo restaurant projects, featuring high-quality fast food inspired by his love of cheeseburgers and Southern fried chicken. He then opened The Continental, an ode to fine dining that melds his passion for culinary history with the traditional elegance of the hotel restaurant experience. In October of 2021, Brock debuted his flagship restaurant, Audrey, in East Nashville. Named after his grandmother, Audrey is where he has furthered his life’s work of studying Appalachian foodways and hospitality. In summer of 2022, he opened June, located above Audrey, as a modern dining concept offering a unique tasting menu format that curiously explores the possibilities of ingredients indigenous to the American South.
Brock won the James Beard Award for Best Chef, Southeast in 2010, and is a four-time finalist for Outstanding Chef, as well as a three-time finalist for Rising Star Chef. His first cookbook, Heritage, is a New York Times Bestseller and winner of the 2015 American Cooking James Beard Award. Brock’s second book, SOUTH, was also a New York Times Best Seller and was nominated for a James Beard Award. Brock hosted season 2 of the Emmy Award-winning television show Mind of a Chef, produced by Anthony Bourdain. In 2019, Sean was featured on the popular Netflix show, Chef’s Table.
James Beard Award Winner Maneet Chauhan is an award-winning chef, author, television personality, and founding partner and president of Morph Hospitality in Nashville, Tennessee. She is a recipient of the 2012 James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media Award for her role as a permanent judge on Food Network's "Chopped." In addition to judging roles on Food Network, Maneet also competes at the highest level and most recently won Guy Fieri's Tournament of Champions II, where she was able to donate winnings of $40,000 to help different restaurants survive the pandemic.
Born in Punjab, India, chef Chauhan worked in some of the country's finest hotels before moving to the U.S. to study at the Culinary Institute of America. She went on to work as executive chef in some of New York City and Chicago's top restaurants, which received national acclaim under her leadership. After relocating to Nashville, Tennessee, Chauhan and her husband, Vivek Deora, co-founded Morph Hospitality Group, opening their first restaurant, Chauhan Ale & Masala House in 2014. With the goal of filling gaps in Nashville's culinary landscape, the group opened Tansuo, a Chinese concept, and The Mockingbird, a global diner, in 2017. Chef Chauhan is also a co-founder of Hop Springs, home to the state's largest craft brewery and dun-filled 84-acre beer park located in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
A leader in the Nashville community, Chauhan has been honored as one of the Nashville Business Journal's "40 under 40", which highlights young, successful business leaders and was recognized in Nashville Lifestyles' Women in Business, which showcases local women who are at the top of their respective industries. In March 2020, Chauhan founded Hospitality Strong, a nonprofit benefitting hospitality workers in need.
Tamara Kelly is an energetic and widely experienced hospitality manager. With more than 30 years in the industry and experience with major brands, she has a wealth of operational knowledge to pull from. As part of the core team for Prince’s Hot Chicken – Assembly Food Hall, James Beard Foundation America’s Classics Award Winner, she helped create a welcoming environment that cultivates the ultimate guest experience. Cooking for Tamara Kelly started at an early age, 4 years old to be exact, with making homemade fried peach pies. Her goal in hospitality has been to always exceed the guests’ expectations from a customer service perspective and provide meals that are eye-catching. Cooking allows her to be creative, blend her favorite cuisines, and let her creative juices flow. She is passionate about food and the joy it brings to others. Through her years, Kelly has gained proven leadership expertise in hospitality operations, sales, and staff development, making her a valuable asset to Prince’s Hot Chicken. Her blueprint has helped build a crew that exemplifies care and thoughtfulness. From the first hello to plating food, she monitors the details of each guest and takes pride in their delight. She is quick to find a solution to any problem and can be counted on to combine creativity with business. While Tamara makes everyone feel like family, the glimmer in her eyes comes from her mother, her 5 children and her 4 grandchildren. She loves to cook, read, spend time with her family, and relax on the beach. As a native resident of Nashville, she is looking forward to blazing a trail for the Prince’s Hot Chicken Brand.
James Beard Award Nominee Philip Krajeck opened Rolf & Daughters in Nashville in 2012, and Folk in 2018, blending his European training and uncompromising attention to detail to make plates that are honest and unabashedly full-flavored. Krajeck has that something extra—a knack for pushing ingredients far beyond their average capacity for good. The country is taking notice: since opening, his restaurants have earned “Best New Restaurant” nods from James Beard, Esquire, and Bon Appétit as well as features in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
Krantz joined Uncle Nearest Inc. in January of 2019 as the Market Manager for Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi. When it comes to trailblazing female leadership, Uncle Nearest is second to none. From our CEO and Founder, Fawn Weaver, to our 4-time Master Blender of the Year, Victoria Eady Butler, to each of the amazing women working day in and day out to spread the story of Nearest Green, the women of Uncle Nearest are making history every day.
- Uncle Nearest was founded by serial entrepreneur and New York Times best-selling author, Fawn Weaver, who is the first African American woman to lead a major spirits brand.
- Uncle Nearest is the first and only major spirits brand to have an all-female executive team.
- Victoria Eady Butler, fifth-generation Nearest Green descendant is the first female African-American Master Blender in history for a major spirits brand and the first person ever to win Whisky Magazine’s Icons of American Whiskey Award for “Master Blender of the Year” two years in a row, in 2021 and 2022.
- The successful effort to launch Uncle Nearest into all 50 states in less than two years, helping us to become the fastest-growing American Whiskey brand in history, was led by our Chief Business Officer, Katharine Jerkens.
- We were the first female-founded, owned, and led premium spirit brand to hit $100 Million in sales and will become the first to reach $200 million by the end of 2023.
- Our distillery’s Chief Marketing Officer, Brielle Caruso, became the first female Asian Chief Marketing Officer in American Wine and Spirits in 2020.
- Nearest Green Distillery Welcome Center’s General Manager, Susan Nogues, was named Visitor Attraction Manager of the Year by Whiskey Magazine’s Icons of American Whiskey Awards in 2023.
- We are the most awarded female-owned spirit brand in global history.
2023 James Beard Award Semifinalist and Executive Pastry Chef, Noelle Marchetti oversees all pastry and desserts made property-wide at The Joseph, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Nashville, including creations for refined Italian restaurant, Yolan; rooftop bar, Denim; the Coffee Bar; in-room dining; weddings; and banquets. She constantly pushes the envelope, developing unique and daring desserts that are always beautifully plated and rich in flavor, showcasing the finest in-season ingredients. Chef Marchetti also created the famed focaccia recipe, a highlight of Yolan’s tableside bread service. The pastry chef began her career at Montage Deer Valley in Park City, Utah, where she immediately fell in love with the hotel industry. She then moved east and spent five years leading the pastry program at the Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge in Charlotte, North Carolina before joining the team at The Joseph, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Nashville. Marchetti grew up in the Hudson Valley in Kingston, New York where she was surrounded by fresh local food. She spent her younger days baking in the kitchen with her grandfather. She attended The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, where she graduated with Magna Cum Laude honors in pastry and baking. Marchetti currently resides in Nashville with her husband Dan and their dog Hoover.
Nashville restaurateur Pat Martin is the founder of Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint and Hugh-Baby’s BBQ & Burger Shop. A leader in American barbecue, Pat is one of the few pitmasters still carrying the torch of West Tennessee-style whole hog BBQ. October 2022 marks Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint’s 16th Anniversary serving guests from all over.
Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint is rooted in Pat Martin’s lifelong love for the art of pit-cooked barbecue and live-fire cooking. The entire menu at Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint is scratch-made, every single day - from sides to sauces, and everything in between. In 2006, Pat first opened the doors to Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint in Nolensville, TN, with a 950-square-foot joint and a dream to share his passion for whole hog BBQ. Today, the restaurant is a beloved culinary destination with deep Nashville roots, a 550+ person team, and seven (7) locations sprinkled across Nashville. You can find Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint outposts in Birmingham (AL), Louisville (KY), and Charleston (SC).
Building upon the success of Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint, Pat Martin opened Hugh-Baby’s BBQ & Burger Shop in 2017 as a tribute to the small-town BBQ and burger spots that dotted the mid-South of his youth. Dedicated to simple, delicious food and warm Southern hospitality, Hugh-Baby’s menu covers all the classics, with burgers, Memphis-style pulled pork, hot dogs, fries and hand-spun shakes at its heart.
Ms. André Prince is the owner of the legendary and original Nashville hot chicken. Prince has received worldwide awards including the Culinary Icon Award at the National Fried Chicken Festival in New Orleans, the prestigious James Beard Award back in 2013, and most recently Nashvillian of the Year. She is widely known among her customers and the community for James Beard Foundation America’s Classics Award Winner, Prince's Hot Chicken, which her family founded and has been serving Nashville for nearly a century. The original restaurant and shack is all about community and remains the gold standard for hot chicken. Since taking the reins from her uncle in 1980, Prince has transformed one of Nashville's historic restaurants into a must-visit destination in the nation for all locals and tourists. Under her leadership, Prince's hot chicken is now a recipe craved and duplicated worldwide.
Born and raised in Ireland, 2023 James Beard Award Semifinalist Trevor Moran’s culinary path began in his early 20’s. After working his way through several restaurants throughout Dublin, the young chef landed at Rene Redzepi’s acclaimed Noma restaurant in Copenhagen. Moran began his Noma journey in 2009 and spent nearly four and a half years learning the ins and outs of the Nordic kitchen, sourcing local, seasonal products that showcased different regions of Scandinavia.
Trevor Moran made his U.S. culinary debut in January 2014 as the executive chef of Strategic Hospitality’s award-winning tasting room, The Catbird Seat. Trevor brought with him an affinity for fresh, seasonal produce and a simplistic, yet highly refined cooking style. Moran and his talented team of chefs transformed the intimate dining experience with a multi-course menu that celebrated the elements.
After leaving The Catbird Seat in December of 2015 he joined the Strategic Hospitality team as Culinary Consultant in 2016, assisting throughout the restaurants and off-site events. In October of 2020, Trevor partnered with Strategic Hospitality to open Locust in the 12South neighborhood of Nashville. The restaurant, which is centered around seafood, dumplings, and shaved ice, also features cold and refreshing highballs as well as a variety of wine options. In September 2022, Locust was named Food & Wine Magazine’s Restaurant of the Year and honored on The New York Times’ Restaurant List 2022. In 2023, Chef Trevor Moran was nominated as semifinalist for Best Chef: Southeast by the James Beard Foundation.
James Beard Award Nominee Julia Sullivan is the chef and co-owner of Henrietta Red in Nashville. Her passion for seasonal cooking is evident in her ingredient-driven menus and straightforward style, stemming from her early cooking in Nashville and in the Hudson Valley. Julia strives to create memorable dining experiences by balancing interesting flavors and elegant presentation with convivial spirit.
Born in Nashville, Julia was raised on home cooking but didn’t find her calling in food until high school, when she had the opportunity to spend a summer in Burgundy. Her path led her to Tulane University where her interest in food and entrepreneurship was fueled by the colorful restaurant culture of New Orleans. She enrolled in finance and management classes and took her first job in a restaurant kitchen. After graduation, she moved to New York and spent the following eight years developing a sensibility for food and dining.
In 2013, she set her sites on that goal and returned to Nashville. Julia ultimately joined with Nashville-based restaurant group Strategic Hospitality to open their first project, Henrietta Red. Since opening in 2017, Henrietta Red was named one of America’s 50 Best New Restaurants by Bon Appetit in 2017, one of GQ’s Best New Restaurants in America 2018, as well as being recognized as a 2018 James Beard Foundation Award semifinalist in the Best New Restaurant category. Additionally, Julia was named one of the Best Young Chefs in America by Robb Report, one of the Best New Chefs in 2018 by Food & Wine, and recognized as a 2019 semifinalist and a 2020 finalist in the James Beard Foundation Awards Best Chef: Southeast category.
James Beard Award Semifinalist Vivek T. Surti is the founder of TAILOR, the dinner-party style South Asian American restaurant that has appeared on Bon Appétit’s Hot 10 list of America’s best new restaurants, as well as Thrillist’s list of 12 Best New Restaurants in America. The restaurant gave a home to Surti’s popular VEA Supper Club, Nashville's first and longest-running series of pop-up restaurants that he created in May 2011. Surti was a James Beard Foundation 2020 semifinalist for Best Chef in the Southeast and has been described by fellow culinary peers as a "pop-up luminary," "bon vivant," "ubiquitous foodie," "beverage connoisseur," "culinary gadabout," and "local raconteur,” and the dinners he hosts are often compared to a dinner party - going to a friend's house who has a really cool kitchen, where great food, wine, and the conversation never seem to end. The same warm dinner party concept is the basis for TAILOR. Surti's food point of view - South Asian American - reflects his heritage of being a first-generation American of Indian descent. Many of his dishes are representative of the Gujarati meals he grew up eating as a child, dishes that are American as well as dishes inspired by travel. His hospitality is served up as delightfully as the dishes he prepares, welcoming everyone around the table as if they are in his own home, as he shares relatable vignettes about each dish as a palate cleanser between courses.
Driven to change and challenge the culinary landscape, Chef Aniello Turco, affectionately referred to as Nello, is young yet experienced, talented yet inquiring, passionate yet precise. Poised for celebrity chef status, his style is progressive, forward-looking, and trendsetting.
Born in Naples, Italy, Nello started cooking at just 13 years old at his parents’ restaurant. When he was 24, he began working in Michelin-starred restaurants, including those by Chef Alain Ducasse. In London, he went on to work with Chef Marco Calenzo, who offered him a sous chef position at the famed one Michelin-starred Apsleys. Nello spent two years at two Michelin-starred Noma in Copenhagen, where intense study of fermentation and the natural transformation of food provided skills he has infused into his innovative approach at Mimo.
He most recently spent five years at Mio Restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel Beijing. After being promoted to Chef de Cuisine, Nello earned multiple Chef of the Year awards in Beijing and the restaurant was awarded a Michelin star in 2020 under his leadership. A lifelong student, Nello continues to expand his repertoire, and while at Mio he discovered a passion for pastry and sharpening his sweet skills with training at Valrhona Chocolate Academy in Beijing and Tokyo. As Executive Restaurant Chef of Mimo Restaurant and Bar in Nashville, Aniello Turco looks to create exciting synergies between his Southern Italian foundation and local Southern culture and ingredients.