In his career, Holbrook has trained under three European chefs — from England, France, and Ireland – but credits local luminaries like Tim Creehan for giving serving as valuable mentors as well.
“That’s one of the things I love about my job now, is the opportunity to work with young chefs and pass my knowledge and techniques on to them,” Holbrook said. “The first chef I worked for, he gave me copies of all his CIA (Culinary Institute of America) books, all his notes and took me to a place where I was inspired to serve great food. It’s a rewarding situation to be able to give that back. He graduated in 1998 from Johnson & Wales University from their culinary arts program.
Before becoming the general manager of Another Broken Egg, Holbrook was the executive chef at Infiniti Dining Group in Atlanta, responsible for developing Sage Woodfire Tavern into a Jezebel top 100 Restaurant, which it hadn’t achieved in its first four years of business, as well as being the chef and owner of Signature Catering in Atlanta.
He has served as a consulting chef for an exclusive club in the Bahamas, as a private chef for New Orleans mogul Al Copeland and Ford Motor Company executive Michael Dingman. He has also worked in landmark restaurants Beaumont’s and Kiawah Island Resort in Charleston, S.C., where he had the opportunity to cater the 1997 World Cup of Golf and 1998 Federation Cup of Tennis, as well as personally cook for President George W. Bush. Locally, he has worked at many fine Destin restaurants, from Beachwalk Café to Rutherford’s 465.
“I’ve had some wonderful opportunities that I wouldn’t trade for the world, to work with other people who really care about food and want to create great food,” Holbrook said. But one of the greatest lessons that he’s learned is that it isn’t all about just the passion for food, being successful in the culinary industry is also about being good at business. Holbrook has also built a solid reputation as a “fixer,” someone who can come in and deliver consistency and efficiency, who can reduce food costs while improving a restaurant’s prestige.
So now he has focused on bringing his talents to private guests, couple’s wanting the best for their special day, and working with many concierge’s to provide their guests that special occasion. “Working for myself again and focusing on the guests, is rewarding beyond belief on so many levels. Now I can bring the best restaurant on the coast right to your house and the food is executed before your eyes, which is something I’m very proud of.”
Chef Ruston Johnson was born in St. Cloud, Minnesota. At the tender age of four his family moved south to Henderson, Kentucky to escape the harsh Northern winters. His interest in cooking originated there while watching cooking shows at the age of fourteen.
Before Ruston started his culinary career he worked for his dad in construction. “I could see the happiness in his eyes as he built a dream house for people. I liked seeing people happy when you do a job and do it right and what better way than cooking. I get to see happy faces when I cook,” says Ruston. His first kitchen experience was as a teenager at a few fast food restaurants and a steak house.
Relocating to Tallahassee, Florida in his senior year of high school Ruston enlisted in the United States Coast Guard. Stationed in Michigan on a small icebreaker on the Great Lakes he replaced the ship’s chef while he was on vacation. The Captain was so impressed with Russ that he told chef to go back to cooking school and replaced him with Ruston. Later, Ruston became the chef of the Polar Sea a larger Coast Guard cutter. While sailing the seven seas he passed through the Panama Canal three times and traveled the world visiting 12 countries along the way.
After his service with the Coast Guard, Ruston attended Johnson & Wales in Norfolk, Virginia. Upon graduation he interned at the Elephant Walk in the Sandestin Resort. Chef Johnson worked at some of the most well known restaurants along the Emerald Coast including the Sandestin Hilton, Frangista, Cafe Grazie, and Louisiana Lagniappe. Chef Johnson started with the famous New Orleans based Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Destin, FL in 2006 where he remains the Executive Chef.
A graduate of Delgado Culinary Institute in New Orleans, Executive Chef Lee Guidry has dedicated numerous years to honing his skills through various positions in Nashville, Chicago, and the Florida Panhandle. His passion for cooking stems from his summers spent in the south of Sardinia, Italy, where he learned classic and regional Italian preparations. He also worked with classically trained chefs from Germany, France, Spain and Japan, absorbing the distinct philosophies of each region’s cooking techniques.
Prior to joining Seagar’s Prime Steaks & Seafood, Chef Guidry dedicated two years to the Meli Café Group in Chicago, where he designed, executed and oversaw their first venture into dinner service. He also spent four years as the head chef at SushiSamba Rio in Chicago, where he worked side-by-side with Chef Shige-san, a renowned Sushi Chef in the U.S. Before that, Chef Guidry worked as executive chef at Bound’ry in Nashville, where he designed seasonal menus featuring local products.
Chef Roberto Hernandez
Pompano Joe’s Seafood House
Chef Roberto Hernandez is Southern Restaurant Group’s Executive Chef. He started in the restaurant business back in 1975. With forty years of experience, Roberto insures all of their kitchens are running with optimal efficiency and that the staff is well trained. One of the secrets to our success is knowing how important it is to always use fresh ingredients. Roberto insists that all Southern Restaurant Group’s restaurants sauces are all made in-house and that our seafood is from the Gulf of Mexico.
Chef Heidi, the owner and a pastry chef for over a decade, believes in utilizing only the best ingredients possible. By making everything from scratch our creations not only look good but taste even better. We feel that baking is not about short cuts, but taking the time to do something memorable.
Bake My Day provides special occasion cakes and pastries,such as wedding and birthday cakes. We also provide desserts to local restaurants, as well as to the public. We make everything from scratch, with the best ingredients available.
Restaurant Paradis is a small fine dining restaurant, with a comfortable and inviting full service lounge. Nestled in the beautiful coastal town of Rosemary Beach, Florida, you’ll find this hidden gem that loyal customers like to call home. Evoking a warm neighborhood feel, the dining area features an understated wine country elegance.
Open for dinner, Paradis is committed to serving fresh seasonal ingredients, which celebrate local produce and an abundance of fresh Gulf seafood, along with prime steaks and fine wines.
Paradis welcomes wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, and all celebrations, both intimate and large. Throughout the year, Paradis also offers select wine dinners and tastings from some of California’s most exclusive vintners.
With a focus on coastal cuisine, Paradis draws from the rich flavors of the coastal area as well as various other regions to create its innovative and tantalizing dishes. Paradis’ chefs have a flair for using common ingredients, but with a unique twist. Dedicated to sourcing locally grown products so the menu changes with the seasons, Restaurant Paradis prides itself on providing customers with new dishes to look forward to year round.
Whether you’re strolling by in your flip flops and shorts or dressed up for a night out on the town, our staff will welcome you with smiling faces. Maybe you’ve just dusted the sand off your feet and realized its dinner and you’re too relaxed to go home and cook. Come on in to Restaurant Paradis where we can meet your leisurely or more sophisticated appetite!
Born and raised on the Emerald Coast of Northwest Florida, Executive Chef Dan Pettis began his cooking career at the young age of 13 with a summer job just before 9th grade. Like most young aspiring chefs, he started at the lowest position, washing dishes and learning by the sidelines. Working under Destin, Florida’s most prominent chef and restaurateur, Executive Chef and owner of Beach Walk Crystal Beach, Tim Creehan, sparked the fire that made Chef Pettis realize that this was his calling. His efforts have culminated in a close working relationship and friendship with Chef Creehan. That summer job started a relationship between Chef Pettis and the award-winning chef that survived more than three restaurants and is still going strong. From the dish pit at Marina Cafe, he was promoted to a line cook position. He excelled from a base line prep cook to the lead line cook and was able to take on responsibility and authority that the job required. Shortly after, Chef Pettis worked at Harbor Docks Seafood & Brewery and Creehan’s Market as the kitchen manager, later becoming the sous chef at the award-winning Beach Walk Crystal Beach. Feeling the need to continue his education and training, but desiring to stay close to home, Chef Pettis decided to attend the Florida Culinary Institute in West Palm Beach where he finished on the President’s List with a perfect 4.0. In addition to winning a number of culinary competitions, he was also featured in Florida Trends NEXT magazine in August of 1999.
By fall 2009, and with the help of his father and brother, Pettis took a leap and opened his own restaurant, One 20 a Modern Bistro to the delight of many. The 75-seat bistro features simplistic seaside inspired fusion cuisine, drawing on Chef Petti’s Southern roots, South Florida schooling, and worldly travels. One 20 a Modern Bistro has quickly become a place where locals love to gather after church on Sunday, for business meetings and family celebrations, ladies night, or a romantic dinner for two. It is easy to see why Dan Pettis has been voted Best Chef of the Emerald Coast for two years in a row by his loyal followers and readers of Emerald Coast magazine.
Chef Gary Palm has more than 25 years of worldwide culinary experience. He is, currently, the Executive Chef of The Henderson. He joined the resort after working in France, Monte Carlo, India, Korea, Indonesia and China with international hotel brands such as Intercontinental Hotels, Ritz Carlton, Taj Resort and Palaces and Ayana Resort and Hotels. Palm had the honor of cooking for the Prime Minister of Vietnam and the President of Chile during the World Expo in Shanghai in 2010, as well as serving President Bill Clinton across several events and occasions. He has a deep commitment to using the fresh, local ingredients and combining them with international techniques and flair.
Stay tuned for event information and exciting details for the 9th Annual 2018 Savor the Season Fundraising Event benefiting the Taylor Haugen Foundation! Check back in the early Spring 2018 for updates.