I try to focus on the full experience, not just the food. Although food is one of the larger focuses, we take the same thought and care into other aspects as well. Sights, sounds, smells, and overall guests’ perceptions we put a lot of focus behind.
Ultimately, we are trying to create an ultra sensory experience that is enjoyable on a lot of different levels
We wanted to bring the most honest, genuine, and modern representation of the Appalachian region to Downtown Sevierville. We felt the location not only revitalized this beautiful part of Sevier County, but also displayed the diversity, refinement, and contemporary view of Appalachian culture.
When I was 2 years old, I fell off a chair and broke my arm trying to help my mom cook. My mom still has that tiny little cast. I also used to help my grandmother make big breakfasts like sausage, gravy, biscuits, eggs, fruit, etc. The first thing I made totally on my own was cinnamon toast when I was 4 or 5. I noticed that I could find things I liked and make adjustments as I went.
As I figured out I wanted to make it a career, the camaraderie of the restaurant business drew me to it. The edginess and exposure to a lot of stuff really kept me drawn in and challenged throughout my career up to this point.
Joseph Lenn who is the Proprietor of J.C. Holdway and former Blackberry Farm Executive Chef once told me, “Everything happens for a reason”.
And Mark Liggett the Operations Director of Aubrey’s Restaurants once told me that “Having children will be the best thing that will ever happen in your life.”
They were both right!
Probably ramps or tomatoes, but my favorite ingredient to use are onions in any fashion. Vidalia Onions, Spring Onions, Red Onions, Pearl Onions, Shallots, Leeks, etc.
Northern California, probably the Petaluma or Point Reyes areas. It has an incredible potential for growth and gardening. It seems effortless there. I am also very inspired by the culinary history in Lyon, France. That area is the “culinary mecca,” so I definitely draw inspiration from there, too.
We want it to be a great representation of East Tennessee, Appalachian cuisine and culture. We work to achieve that by studying Appalachian history, sourcing locally, and incorporating those things artfully.
We also hope to continue to create opportunities for our team. We hope to support and foster everyone’s dreams, goals, ambitions, and careers that have a part in our restaurant.
I sort of have the attitude of, “ F**k you, I’ll show you.” Having that mindset in the face of adversity helps me to stay challenging myself and the status quo.
I really have learned the self-centeredness of life before parenting. Parenting creates a higher purpose and drive to create a legacy for your kids and an ability for them to be able to do what they want to do. I am less me-oriented, and I have developed a sort of empathy across the board. It changes your priorities, and I hope that carries over to my work-life and my team as well.