The Triad’s Best Chefs
YES! Weekly readers have spoken and it was such fun being the messenger by telling our winning chefs that they’d made the top of the heap! We reached out to get their reaction and also help you get to know these chefs a little better and find out what makes them….eh…cook!
Best Chef in Forsyth County
Winner: Curtis Hackaday
1703 Restaurant and Catering
Chef Curtis, chef de cuisine at 1702, is arguably one of the most creative, think-out-side of the box chefs in the entire Triad. We like to say he’s globally enthusiastic with a local twist. You’d have to see his social media for the enticing photos that draw people to 1703. This culinary adventurer is a staunch supporter of local farms and is also a licensed mushroom forager and gardener. Hackaday, whose inspiration for cooking was “ignited” in his Grandma Goldie’s and Aunt Mag’s kitchens, is basically self-taught and enjoys working foods in new and different ways. “I’m not big on rules,” he said. Craving corn smut? Beef heart? Hackaday’s got you. His menu, which is always changing, features beautiful creations with handmade sausages, squid ink, octopus, frog legs, and for the less adventurous, a plethora of steaks, pork, and chicken that are just as stunningly appointed as the exotics. Try his menu on a Tapas Tuesday night to see some real flair.
Runner-Up: Tim Grandinetti
Spring House Restaurant Kitchen & Bar
Chef Tim is in the throes of a cookbook tour of sorts and loving every minute of it. Last fall, this popular chef launched his cookbook, “Soulful Harvest” which is part memoir, part recipe book full of seasonal dishes from the restaurant and his famiglia. Grandinetti’s name at or near the top of the Triad’s Best list isn’t uncommon but he says being in the company of these top chefs never gets old. “It’s such exciting news,” Grandinetti said. “I’m incredibly grateful. I’m not as famous, and nowhere near as cool, as my cooking might suggest… I’m just a small town kid from Hudson, New York, living, laughing and loving life.”
Runner-Up: Travis Myers
The chef that sprang new life into Willow’s is still enjoying being one of the pre-eminent young superstar chefs in the state. If there’s anyone, anywhere (other than myself) that likes to talk about dishes, share photos of dishes, it’s Myers. Willow’s Bistro not only got the chef of its dreams but also the social media chatterbox of its dreams too. You don’t have to wonder what’s on the menu there. Chef Travis is happy to share what’s going on #SOB40 (South of Business 40). Now enjoying two-plus years at Willow’s, Myers says the love is still strong. “It’s not just the kitchen that makes us great,” he said. “It’s all about the culture we have developed here at Willow’s. I’m proud of the entire staff who has helped up get here.”
Best Chef in Guilford County
Winner: Chris Blackburn
Scrambled Southern Diner/Lindley Park Filling Station
A first-time winner, Chef Chris was a bit surprised and “hugely grateful” when learning readers had selected him as Best Chef in Guilford County, especially since he closed his fine dining Josephine’s in Greensboro in lieu of opening a breakfast and lunch eatery in its place. But it’s not just any breakfast place. On a typical weekend, Scrambled might have an hour to 90-minute wait, but most people find the scrambles full of local farm goodness and ginormous pancakes are truly worth it. He and his wife, Sarah, also own Lindley Park Filling Station, which is still going like gangbusters. The chef has been enjoying married life and his daughter Lila, who’s now 2 years old. Lately, Blackburn gets his fine dining fix through Josephine’s Catering. “We play around at Scrambled but it’s a well-oiled machine,” he said. “And then I get to be really creative with the plated dinners we do with Josephine’s Catering.” Unlike some chefs, Chris and Sarah also own the property their businesses are on and that means taking care of everything from refrigerators to roofs to weeds. “Food and cooking is one aspect of restaurants,” Blackburn said, “but sometimes I’m not cooking in the kitchen because I have to do some maintenance. The days are getting longer and more hours are worked, but it’s a good problem to have.”
Sedgefield Country Club
Chef James has been grabbing some well-deserved attention lately by winning the local competition dining series followed by accolades all around. A jaw-dropping chef’s table was an added benefit to some of us. Why? Because a country club chef isn’t exactly “open to the public.” So if you’ve tasted his food at a special event or fundraiser or been lucky enough to eat at SCC, then you know what all the hype is about. He said it is an honor even to have been nominated and included with the likes of Blackburn. “I never thought my name would be recognized in the area as a top chef. I know that being a country club chef, I have a very narrow window for entertaining the folks of Greensboro and our surrounding communities. To finish as runner-up is mind-blowing. The other chefs on the ballot are truly some amazing people to know and to work within the Triad Community. Chris Blackburn, Kris Fuller, Jay Pierce, among others are the folks that I tend to think of when it comes to the “Who’s Who” of Guilford County. I appreciate the support from those that voted for me and what we do here at Sedgefield Country Club. Patterson has received the honor of being selected as Featured Chef at the Triad Local First Community Table in the fall. He’s already got a line-up of superstar chefs, like those mentioned previously, for the event. Community Table will be taking place on Sunday, Sept. 30 at Double Oaks Bed and Breakfast. An all-star cast of local chefs will feature Chris Blackburn, Kris Fuller (Crafted), Reed Gordon (Greensboro Country Club), Travis Myers, Niki Farrington (Niki’s Pickles/Mary’s Gourmet Diner), Jay Pierce (Mozelle’s), Brian Dicey (Starmount Country Club).
Best Chef Under 30
Winner: John Wilson
Sophie’s Cork and Ale in Lexington
When we told Chef John he’d won best chef in the 30 and under category, you could’ve knocked him over with his tongs. “This award means the world to me,” he said. “It fuels my young career even more, and I am very grateful for the support of the community. This is my first ever award for being a chef and I can’t wait to accomplish more of my career dreams and goals.” Chef John was also a featured chef at our local Chef’s Table. He served breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert in one meal and he killed it. As chef at Sophie’s Cork and Ale, he’s given a wide range of creativity to play with the menu as well as create incredible burgers and salads. Sophie’s also has an ever-evolving menu with a new one coming out in early June.And by popular demand and lots of urging from Wilson, Sophie’s now offers brunch every last Sunday of the month.
Congratulations to some of hardest working people we know. And they must be busy because they’re difficult to reach sometimes unless you literally walk into their kitchen to speak to them between sautés. Few know the toll it can take on a person to run a kitchen or a restaurant and Y’all know how I am, these chefs are all winners to me.