Chefs & Menus


Chef Christopher Holbrook of Signature Catering

Chef Christopher Holbrook
Signature Catering

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 - Ruth Chris

Chef Ruston Johnson
Ruth Chris Steak House

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.

Chef Laurie Graupner - Seagars

Chef Laurie Graupner
Seagars Prime Steaks

Executive Chef Laurie Graupner has her grandfather to thank for her introduction to the culinary arts. The two would watch cooking shows during her visits to California, which ultimately inspired the Menasha, Wisconsin native to pursue culinary school. Now a 14-year veteran of the culinary industry, Chef Graupner has honed her skills by working a variety of positions alongside a diverse group of chefs.

Chef Graupner first joined the team at Seagar’s Prime Steaks & Seafood five years ago as a part-time line cook under the leadership of Chef Dan Vargo, the restaurant’s previous Executive Chef and newly appointed Executive Chef of Hilton Sandestin. Chef Graupner mentored under Chef Vargo as a line cook for several years before earning the title of Sous Chef, and now Executive Chef of Seagar’s.

Named Executive Chef of the AAA Four Diamond restaurant in January 2017, Chef Graupner shares her predecessor’s passion for locally sourced ingredients and partnering with local purveyors. Building on her years of training with Chef Vargo, she is committed to enhancing the fine-dining experience at Seagar’s and is bringing new and innovative ideas to the already thriving culinary team. Chef Graupner left Wisconsin and moved to Florida to broaden her knowledge in the culinary industry and to experiment with fresh, local produce and seafood available in the state. Even so, her favorite dish to prepare is sweet or savory risotto, and her favorite meal to eat is grilled ribeye with herbed gnocchi.

Chef Todd Misener

Chef Todd Misener
Stinky’s Fish Camp

Chef Todd Misener took his first restaurant job asa prep cook in a small family restaurant at the age of fourteen. Working in multiple restaurants throughout high school, he discovered his passion for fine food and creativity at a young age. He was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America and graduated with awards in 1989.

He immediately accepted a job with the late Master Chef, Jack Shoop in New Jersey to continue honing his love for the craft of cooking. Chef Todd spent the next 17 years working side by side with Chef Shoop studying a variety of ethnic cuisines and styles of cooking including Italian, German, Asian and foods of the Mediterranean but focusing on the French classics. His Career has taken him to New York, New Jersey, Atlanta, Boca Raton, Tallahassee, and to the panhandle of Florida, where he has planted his feet since 2004.

Chef Todd partnered with Chefs Jim Richard and Brannon Janca in 2007 to open Stinky’s Fish Camp in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. He also currently is the chef and director for Blue Mountain Catering Company. Chef Todd spends his spare time with his wife and their five wonderful children. Todd is a lifelong student of fine cuisine and pursuit of excellence.

Heidi McAnulla - Bake My Day

Chef Heidi McAnulla
Bake My Day

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.

Chef Mark Eichin of Paradis

Chef Mark Eichin
Restaurant Paradis

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!

Chef Chris Mongogna

Chef Chris Mongogna
Emeril’s Coastal Italian

Chef Chris Mongogna cooks with a passion and excitement matching his engaging personality. At the age of thirteen, the self-taught New Orleans native cooked his first meal on a Monday, red beans and rice. Helping his mother finish while she was working, he started experimenting with his own spices, tweaking the dish to the enjoyment of his family.

It’s this type of enjoyment that serves as the basis of why he’s always wanted to be a chef. He appreciates the fact that food is nostalgic, can spark memories of childhood, or experiences of diners’ past. Chris owes a lot of his love for cooking to his mother and two grandmothers who specialized in Italian food, New Orleans classics, and Southern Country. Chris quickly moved on to helping his Grammy during Sunday dinner, grating cheese and asking if he could help with EVERYTHING. After a few slaps on his hand from a wooden spoon as he dabbed his bread into the red gravy, he was soon stuffing artichokes and became a full-time helper on Sundays.

Chris came to the Emerald Coast after Hurricane Katrina where he held the position as Executive Chef of Fire at Gulf Place. The Marigny gives Chris a chance to return the the dishes of his youth in New Orleans, offering a laid back family atmosphere with delicious food from his past. “Pure Creole” is a concept of Louisiana cuisine that can only come from a native. Chris believes that food should be a celebration and shared with family over memories, while creating new ones for the future. Chris hopes that The Marigny can be a “Sunday dinner” spot for many families to share good times over great food.

Chris notes Carl Schaubhut, formally of Commander’s Palace and current Executive Chef at Cafe Adelaide in New Orleans, as his mentor and friend who taught him not only ideas about how to run a kitchen, but about the restaurant business as a whole. His influences also include Kerry Simon and Tim Love. The first cookbook he received from Grammy was that of native New Orleanian Frank Davis, and Emeril Lagasse holds a special place as Chris followed him in the early days before celebrity chefs became en vogue.

As if Executive Chef and Partner isn’t enough, when he does get some time away from work Chris enjoys playing golf, watching sports, and spending time with his two daughters, Karley 14, and Sophia 10. Chris has started the girls early, carrying on the family tradition of a love of cooking, they both helped in building The Marigny, and they sprint to the kitchen when it’s time to stuff artichokes.

Chef Kevin Korman - Roselie

Chef Kevin Korman
Roselie

Kevin Korman has spent the last fifteen years cultivating a love of food and perfection. After studying classic French technique, he graduated from Baltimore International College in 2002. He began working in his first fine dining establishment under the watchful eye of one of the very few certified master chefs in the US, Rudy Speckhamp.

Within a short time he was promoted to sous chef and began managing and training those around him. Looking to expand his palate he began working at the Ritz Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation in Eatonton, GA. It was there he began thinking outside of the box and creating his own style of cooking. In the following years he moved back to Maryland to accept a position as instructor at the Lincoln Culinary Institute adding yet another dimension to his repertoire.

Rounding out his final years in Maryland, Korman served as the executive chef of Santoni’s Marketplace & Catering Company. With over seventy employees and six million in annual sales, he mastered yet another aspect of restaurant management. His unrelenting pursuit of knowledge and creativity led him to Caliza in Alys Beach, Florida to refine his style of modern American cuisine where he grew from chef de cuisine of Caliza Restaurant to executive chef of all Alys Beach outlets.

There he has been featured on local and national television broadcasting, along with featured articles in The Local Palate magazine, Men’s Fitness, Garden and Gun, Southern Living and many others. He has also been repeatedly invited to represent South Walton Beach restaurants at a variety of notable food festivals, including the Nashville Food & Wine Festival, where he presented alongside various Food Network celebrity chefs. His ability to present a familiar dish in an unexpected way is what he is known for.

Chef Ed Reese - Edwards

Chef Ed Reese
Edwards Fine Dining

Chef Ed Reese began his 27 year career in the fine dining restaurants of Ft. Walton Beach, Fl. He attained his degree at the acclaimed Culinary School at Johnson & Wales University in Charleston, South Carolina and then went on to work under James Beard Award-Winning Chef Frank Stitt in Birmingham, Alabama. His years with Stitt enabled him to explore many different flavors, European regional cuisines and to expand his creativity.

“I LEARNED FROM FRANK TO KEEP IT SIMPLE AND FRESH. I LOVE USING FRESH PRODUCE AND SEAFOOD AND LETTING THOSE FLAVORS COME THROUGH.”

Ed moved on to Stitt’s Highlands Bar & Grill. There, he expanded his knowledge to include French Cuisine, which was incorporated into the Southern menu.

Reese continued to hone his skills and develop his own personal style working as a chef, caterer and culinary instructor. After many years in Birmingham, Ed and his wife Erin, who also grew up on the Florida coast, packed up their six children and returned to the beach. Ed has served as executive chef at some of the most popular restaurants on 30A but he longed to have his own little place. A restaurant that is simple and sophisticated where people can relax and enjoy great food. Ed and Erin found the perfect location and have created an intimate chef driven restaurant.

Ed loves his open kitchen where guests can join him at the chef’s counter for some friendly conversation as he prepares his simple, fresh dishes. Edward’s is partnered with local growers, seafood and meat purveyors to bring you only the best.

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