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Greenville, SC

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OCTOBER 20, 2018

Lexus Celebrity Chef Dinner

The Chefs

Matt Accarrino

SPQR
San Francisco, CA

Chef Matthew Accarrino is the nationally recognized executive chef of SPQR in San Francisco. Born in the Midwest and raised on the East Coast, he moved west to California in 2007. He had originally hoped to become a professional cyclist until a leg injury turned his passion for cooking into a career. Today, he is doing both. Accarrino’s unique culinary style draws inspiration from his Italian heritage, personal experience, and classical training with some of America’s best chefs.

In the kitchen, Accarrino takes full advantage of the bounty of opportunities California ingredients present. This includes a strong belief in direct sourcing, producing, and at times playing a role in the creation of his ingredients. The result is an intensely personal cuisine that is both technically polished and soulful, and which has garnered praise from publications such as Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Saveur, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, 7×7 and SF Magazine. Under his direction, the restaurant has been awarded a Michelin star every year since 2013.

Accarrino was named a Star Chefs “2010 Rising Star” for his “innovative vision, finesse, and deeply satisfying cuisine,” and in 2011 he took top honors at San Francisco’s Cochon 555 competition. He has been nominated five consecutive times for the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award for “Best Chef: West.” Food & Wine Magazine named him “People’s Best Chef California” in 2013, and editorially selected him for the prestigious “Best New Chef” award in 2014. Accarrino co-authored and released his first book, published by Ten Speed Press – SPQR: Modern Italian Food and Wine – in October 2012. In addition to successfully racing at the local and national level, Accarrino is also the team chef for an elite cycling team in the Bay Area and the Hincapie racing team based in Greenville, S.C.

Nick Graves

Restaurant 17
Travelers Rest, SC

Growing up in Pawley’s Island in South Carolina, Chef Nick Graves was inspired by local Chefs Bill Austin and Louis Osteen, who influenced him to pursue a culinary career. Graves has worked with the Rebel Restaurant group as a research and development chef, and most recently was with the EC at Halls in Greenville, South Carolina.

Michael Kramer

Jianna
Greenville, SC

A Los Angeles native, Chef Michael Kramer grew up surfing and cycling, getting his first taste of the culinary world in high school when he worked in a restaurant. He later graduated from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and served as an apprentice for legendary French Chef Roland Passot at La Folie restaurant.

Kramer’s career has taken him all over the United States, working at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago in Los Angeles, Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas, and McCrady’s in Charleston, where he earned national acclaim as executive chef.

In 2007, Kramer moved to Houston to serve as executive chef of Hotel Icon and the award-winning Voice restaurant. He comes to Table 301 Restaurant Group after most recently working as executive chef for the Compass Group in Houston.

Ken Vedrinski

Trattoria Lucca
Charleston, SC

A three-time James Beard Award semi-finalist, Chef Ken Vedrinski grew up cooking under his grandmother’s tutelage, later receiving a degree in restaurant management from Columbus College and an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson and Wales University.

Embracing his culinary heritage, Vedrinski traveled several times to Western Tuscany. His expeditions inspired him to open Coda del Pesce and Trattoria Lucca, where he seeks to redefine Italian cuisine in the Lowcountry.

Vedrinski previously served as executive chef at the Opus Restaurant in the former Swissôtel Atlanta, executive chef at The Restaurant at Woodlands Inn & Resort, and co-owner of Sienna Restaurant in Daniel Island, South Carolina.

Biju Thomas

Biju’s Little Curry Shop
Denver, CO

Chef Biju Thomas is a lifelong cyclist and the founder of Biju’s Little Curry Shop, one of the most talked about new food concepts out today. Thomas has served as executive chef to numerous Pro-Tour teams, as well as the Tour of California, USA Pro Challenge and the Colorado Cycling Classic.

Thomas coauthored the popular Feedzone cookbook series along with Dr. Allen Lim. He is also a member of the team who helped launch Skratch labs.  When not on his bike or in the kitchen, Thomas can be caught watching “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” on Food Network or A&E‘s “Scraps.”
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Craig Rogers

Border Spring Farms
Patrick Springs, VA

Chef Craig Rogers is the owner and shepherd of Border Springs Farm LLC in Patrick Springs, Virginia, at the foothills to the Blue Ridge. His lamb is featured in restaurants from across the country and used by some of the greatest and most well-known chefs in America.

Border Springs Farm is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge on the Virginia–North Carolina border. Rogers’s lamb graze on specially sown high-sugar grasses which, coupled with a unique breeding, creates a rich lamb flavor with an exceptionally sweet fat. His lamb is Animal Welfare Approved (a third party certification).

Border Springs Farm lamb has been guided by Rogers’s passion for great food, devotion to farming, and sustainable animal husbandry. He is a frequent author of articles on issues relating to farming policy, farmer interactions with chefs, and the business of direct-from-the-farm sales.

Border Springs Farm is also the host of the annual chef and industry-insider festival known as LAMBSTOCK, now in its seventh year.