Joy Turner has worked with some of the most lauded chefs in Charlotte. She now carries double titles of Catering Director and Head Catering Chef at Project 658. But ask her what she does for a living, Turner’s first response is “the farmer’s wife.”
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Chef Geoff may go by his first name around here, but Bragg is all business when it comes to preparing students at the Community Culinary School of Charlotte for real life in the hospitality industry. As supervisor of the in-house café, he leads students through breakfast and lunch service and preparing heat-and-eat takeaway meals.
On a small road off Route 160, the greenhouses of Tega Hills Farm huddle amidst orange construction barrels and the onslaught of a new housing development across the street. Here Mindy Robinson shows off a few of the nine varieties of lettuce upon which she and husband Mark have built a reputation.
While he will never shake the French soil from his soul, his new love of the Panthers and efforts to foster the next generation of local chefs make it clear that Chef Charles Sémail’s Carolina roots have grown deep and strong.
Townes Mozer has had a rough weekend. On this Monday afternoon in mid-September his usually forceful gaze is a bit hazy, his green eyes red-rimmed. Inside the cavernous taproom of Lenny Boy’s new South Tryon location, the Charlottte native sits at the long shiny bar and rubs his stubbled face. He’s trying to recall specific dates from his career, emerging from pizza-chomping college student to the Queen City’s king of kombucha.
Cheese changed Randy Fisher’s business. While he grew up on Cackleberry Farm, overflown by incoming flights to the Concord Airport, he went out and saw the world before settling back down to the family trade. He estimates he is the 8th generation of farming Fishers in the area, having inherited the place from his father.
Twelve years ago, Mary Roberts was living the American dream. She had a well-paying corporate job, a home in the country and a new man in her life. Then, like many Americans in the past decade, she saw that dream life suddenly turned upside-down. Roberts was fortunate to quickly find her feet again, only this time they were planted firmly in the soil … at her Windcrest Farm.
Elizabeth Anne Dover was a student at Davidson College, studying towards becoming a diplomat. Instead, she got Carolina clay on her hands. “I saw this PBS special on vineyards, and that they were the new and coming thing,” she says today. “I like challenges, and it sounded like my sort of lifestyle. I love being outside. I love living with nature.”
To look at the large, beefy hands of cheesemaker Zack Gadberry, you’d never guess them capable of pulling and wrapping the thin, delicate strands of mozzarella to make up a round of burrata. About 400 times every week, Gadberry plunges those hands into near-boiling water to form the popular little cheesy pouches found all over Charlotte. From farmers market stands to local retailers to some of the finest dining in town, Uno Alla Volta cheese has stolen its way onto our plates and into our hearts …
Chef Greg Collier and his food have a lot in common. Both seem straightforward at first glance: breakfast means eggs, grits, potatoes, sausage. Collier, a formidable presence manning the grill in his t-shirt and half apron, means plate after plate of simple, hearty food that won’t break the bank. But in both cases, you’d be missing the point if you looked no further.