Mar 16, 2022 - Things to Do

Culinary king: Chef Greg Collier advances in James Beard Foundation awards

Chef Greg Collier and Subrina Collier. Photo courtesy Peter Taylor Photography

Chef Greg Collier made Charlotte culinary history.

What’s happening: He became the first Charlotte chef to advance past the semifinalist round in the James Beard Foundation awards. 

  • Last month, he received his third nomination for “best chef in the southeast.” 
  • The other best chef southeast nominees are: Katie Button, Philip Krajeck, Cheetie Kumar and Ricky Moore.
  • The James Beard Foundation restaurant and chef awards ceremony will take place in Chicago on June 13. It will also be broadcast live on Twitter.

Context: Collier was a semifinalist in 2019 and 2020. The awards went on hiatus in 2021, making this his third consecutive nod.

  • He described the achievement of three consecutive noms as a “special honor” in February.

Backstory: Greg and his wife and business partner, Subrina, opened Leah & Louise, Camp North End’s first brick and mortar restaurant amid the pandemic, launched BayHaven Food & Wine Festival there last fall to celebrate Black culinary creatives and they’re bringing Uptown Yolk to South End this spring.

Why it matters: The Colliers, who founded BayHaven Restaurant Group, aren’t just culinary leaders locally; their influence is felt nationally.

  • Greg said in March, becoming the first Charlotte chef to make it this far reflects how much work he and Subrina have put in, adding it speaks to Charlotte as a “great food city.” 
  • “Representing our family, our culture, our heritage, and Charlotte is the most rewarding part of our career,” Greg said in a statement. 

What’s next: They’re opening two new restaurants, a donut shop and a speakeasy in Camp North End, all of  which are Black-owned and Black-managed in the heart of a historically Black neighborhood experiencing gentrification, as Axios’ Laura Barrero reported.

  • “It’s important that young Black culinarians see that there are no limits for the path to success,” Greg said. “Black chefs being recognized by Beard opens people’s eyes to the potential of Black chefs everywhere.”
Chef Greg Collier and Subrina Collier. Photo courtesy Peter Taylor Photography

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in February 2022 and was updated in March 2022 to reflect Collier advancing beyond the semifinalist round. 

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