Jun 13, 2022 - Food and Drink

Chef Greg Collier loses James Beard Award, but makes Charlotte history

BayHaven Restaurant Group co-founders Subrina Collier and Chef Gregory Collier in the outfield of Wrigley Field after the inaugural Friends of James Beard Benefit Stadium Chef Series. Photo courtesy of Rachel Sutherland Communications

Charlotte was *this* close to winning its first ever James Beard Award, but despite Chef Greg Collier’s loss it’s been a historic year for our local food scene.

What’s happening: The three-time nominee didn’t win best chef in the Southeast, but the Leah & Louise chef made it further than any Charlotte chef before him.

He was the first Charlotte chef to advance past the semifinalist round in the James Beard Foundation awards.

  • If you’re unfamiliar, the James Beard Awards are to chefs as the Grammy’s are to musicians.
  • Chef Ricky Moore of Saltbox Seafood Joint in Durham won, so reluctantly we must tip our caps again to the Triangle.

Why it matters: Collier cemented his name in Charlotte culinary history, and his influence continues to expand on a national level. 

He was one of the featured chefs at the Friends of James Beard Benefit during his time in Chicago for the James Beard Awards.

  • Collier cooked on the Cubs’ historic Wrigley Field, bringing a Southern touch to his dishes with Lake Michigan walleye and sweet potato Carolina gold, fermented collard greens and field pea relish.
  • “I carry my culture with me everywhere I go,” Collier posted on Instagram.
  • He also participated in the JBF Chefs’ Boot Camp for Policy and Change Alumni Roundtable. 

State of play: It’s been a year to remember for Collier and his wife and business partner Subrina.

Leah & Louise team members at Wrigley Field Mixologist Justin Hazelton (left), co-head chef Courtney Evans, co-head chef Brandon Staton, co-owner Subrina Collier and chef/owner Greg Collier. Photo courtesy of Rachel Sutherland Communications
Chef Greg Collier’s dish for the inaugural Friends of James Beard Benefits Stadium Chef Series: Grilled Lake Michigan walleye with sweet potato, west Carolina BBQ sauce, 18th century roasted grits and fermented collard green slaw. Photo courtesy of Rachel Sutherland Communications

Greg is partnering with Weathered Souls Brewing Co. to create a menu for the brewery, which is set to open this fall, as Axios’ Laura Barrero reported.

The Yolk and Leah & Louise chef/owner also became the executive chef at the airport’s Centurion Lounge last month, as Axios’ Emma Way reported.

Backstory: The Colliers co-founded BayHaven Restaurant Group and held the inaugural BayHaven Food and Wine Festival last fall at Camp North End, which aims to celebrate Black food and culture.

  • They’re also co-founders of Soul Food Sessions, which supports Black chefs and culinary professionals.

What’s next: To top off a busy year, the Colliers will become first-time parents any day now. And it’s only June.

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