Culinary Leadership

 
Andrew Whitney, Virago Chef

Andrew Whitney

Virago

Chef Andrew Whitney was born in Dallas Texas, but spent most of his life in Middle Tennessee. He began as a dishwasher at the age of 15, and worked his way around various areas of the kitchen. “I don't think I ever had that ‘moment’ were it hit me. I just fell in love with cooking at a young age, so I did everything possible to find success in the industry.” Andrew believes his passion for success and hard work comes from his father. “He was a career driven man. He worked his way from a construction worker framing houses, to becoming the Vice President of the largest home building company in Middle Tennessee. He accomplished all of this by working hard and being self-motivated. I know that is where I get my drive from.”  

Andrew went on to accomplish his career goals by receiving his Chef’s training at the Le Cordon Bleu in Atlanta, Georgia. Whitney was the Executive Chef for a local Nashville food truck turned Brick and Mortar, Riff’s Fine Street Food, before joining the M Street Family. He is now the Executive Chef of the award winning Asian fusion restaurant, Virago. His newest menu contributions are heavily influenced by the season, created with respect for regional traditions as well as the Asian culture.

Jay Flatley, Tavern Chef

Jay Flatley

Tavern

Jay Flatley was born and raised in New Orleans, LA, where he began cooking at a young age with his mother and sister. Like many chefs, Jay started his restaurant career washing dishes in a neighborhood restaurant. He moved to Dallas, TX and began cooking for Outback Steakhouse, where he learned all areas of the restaurant. After Outback, Jay began cooking in a privately-owned restaurant when he decided to further his career and attend culinary school. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from the Culinary Institute of America and shortly after returned to New Orleans to be a Sous Chef at Crescent City Brewhouse. While there, he worked for three years before and after Hurricane Katrina, until leaving for the Gulf Coast where he was Chef De Cuisine for the upscale dining restaurant, Fire. 

After two years on the beach, Jay moved to Nashville, TN and began cooking at Lime, where he became Sous Chef. Finally, in 2013, Jay became Executive Chef at Tavern in Midtown, M Street’s cool-casual, gastro-pub concept. As Chef of a local “foodie favorite,” Jay has been able to explore his creative mind by creating fun, inspired, and mouth-watering dishes

Robert Grace, Kayne Prime Chef

STEVEN CHANDLER

Kayne Prime

Kayne Prime's newest leader and Chef De Cuisine, Steven Chandler was born and raised in Breckenridge, Colorado. He first fell in love with cooking at the age of 12 years old when he would help his uncle prepare pizza dough and sauce at his Colorado pizzeria. Steven quickly advanced in his culinary career when he transitioned to Omni Hotels' culinary program. He ventured to both Napa and New York, working for Michelin Star Restaurants in both cities. In Napa, Steven served as the Chef De Partie at the famous French Laundry. After his time in the kitchen at world-renowned restaurants, Chef Steven was offered another position at Omni Hotels as a Task Force Chef. He traveled around the country renovating Omni's' culinary programs.

After his time traveling, Chef Steven was part of a culinary team that catered for movie and TV sets. This opportunity brought him to Nashville for several months. Steven immediately fell in love with the city and decided to stay. Joining the Kayne Prime team in April 2016 as a Sous Chef, Steven quickly proved his innovative mind as he created new, outside-the-box dishes for menu development. He cannot wait to lead the Kayne Prime kitchen to continued greatness.

 
Jason Slimak, Saint Anejo Chef

Jason Slimak

Saint Añejo

Jason was born and raised Chicago, Illinois. He remembers being interested in cooking since he was a young boy. He started his culinary career washing dishes and prepping school lunches during high school.  He attributes his inclination to cooking to his mother’s lack of cooking ability, so some of his best memories are cooking in the kitchen of his family home with his mother and father. 

In Chicago, he worked for the Garden Restaurant in the Art Institute Museum, Walker Brother, Kumas Corner, De Cero, Lockdown Bar and Grill, and Veresway. The owners of Veresway were looking to reinvent their restaurant at the time, so they asked Jason to help create a new concept for her. He helped turn Veresway in Grange Hall Burger Bar, which featured grass fed beef burgers, homemade pies and ice creams, and hand cut fries. At Lockdown, Jason won Chicago's Best Burger Award and was interviewed for multiple TV outlets, such as Fox News, CBS, NBC, and the Living Well Network.

Jason moved to Nashville to be part of of the thriving food scene. After living in Nashville for only five days, he started his career with M Street and has been with the company since. Jason is now the executive chef of Saint Anejo, M Street’s cantina-style Latin inspired concept, where he implemented the weekend Brunch program and has seen immense growth in the restaurant’s success. 

Executive Chef Shane Midnight

SHANE MIDNIGHT

Whiskey Kitchen

Shane Midnight grew up in Dansville, a small town in upstate New York. It was there that his parents engrained in him a strong work ethic from an early age. At his mother's beckon, Shane first set foot in a kitchen as a dishwasher at the age of sixteen...if he could have only known then the doors that experience would open down the road. 

With the restless spirit of a twenty-something, Shane was fortunate to experience the diverse culinary scene of the United States. His stops along the way included stints at the Bittercreek Alehouse in Boise, the Grassy Key Dairy Bar in the Florida Keys and the Portland City Grill in Oregon. Throughout this time, he continued to hone his craft and learn from a diverse set of mentors along the way. He also earned his Associates Degree from the Western Culinary Institute while residing in Portland.

Sin City called next and Shane Midnight answered, accepting an opportunity to work under world famous Chef Mario Batali at Ristorante B&B. However, his vagabond soul led him away to Southern California where he served as Lead Line Cook at Cafe Chloe and Sous Chef at the very popular PrepKitchen in San Diego. That same sense of adventure even temped him briefly with a stint on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska feeding fishermen and their staffs.

Shane moved to Nashville in 2013, finally ready to settle down, and began working Whiskey Kitchen as a Sous Chef. Now, after a year and a half away, he has returned and accepted the position of Executive Chef. Chef Midnight has a passion for the tight-knit family his kitchen provides. He enjoys cultivating the budding careers of his colleagues and believes an inspired staff leads to an inspired menu.

Luke Senderling, Moto Chef

BRANDON CHAVANNES

Moto Cucina + Enoteca

Chef Brandon Chavannes's love affair with food began at an early age. As many others who have made a career in the industry, Brandon began washing dishes and prepping for a neighborhood sandwich shop as a teenage. Quickly, he discovered his passion for food. After working his way around the Atlanta dining scene for a few years, Brandon decided that he would advance his training by moving to New York. He worked in the kitchens of April Broomfield and Daniel Boulud during his time in the city and subsequently followed his craft to Spain while working as a private chef. "Spain is what really turned my world upside down," Brandon states. "It was not until I went there that I truly understood just how incredible a single ingredient can be." Upon his return to New York, Chavannes accepted an opportunity at the helm of a hip bistro, "5 Ninth", in the Meatpacking District.

Eventually, Brandon returned home to his native Atlanta to work alongside industry leaders like Ford Fry and Fifth Group Restaurants. Executive Chef Brandon Chavannes now heads the kitchen at Moto Cucina + Enoteca, M Street Entertainment Group's most recent concept. There, he focuses on ingredient driven plates, hand-made pastas and sustainable seafood.