Chef Kevin Gillespie

Kevin Gillespie

Kevin Gillespie

Chef Kevin Gillespie

Why is sourcing local and or organic produce important to you & your restaurant?   It’s important to ensure that we use the freshest products possible at Woodfire Grill. It makes sense to support our local farmers and serve the best tasting food to our customers.

If you were a farmer what would you raise or grow?  I think I would raise livestock and vegetables. I am intrigued by the three-field rotation method. It’s old-fashioned.

What one seasoning can you not live without? Well, salt goes without saying. In addition to that, apple cider vinegar.

What should every kitchen not be without? No kitchen should be without a high speed blender.

What chef or person inspired you to enter the culinary world? Thomas Keller. When I was 18 years old I got the French Laundry cookbook and read it cover to cover 3 times. He inspired me to constantly strive for perfection.

What celebrity or historical figure would you most want to serve a meal to? George Bernard Shaw or Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Where and with whom would be your ideal location for your last supper? What would you eat, drink and listen to? I would like to be in the middle of a clearing in the woods somewhere in the middle of nowhere with a river or stream nearby. And I’d like to be with my immediate family and friends. We’d eat bbq and fried chicken with all the traditional southern fixings. We’d drink sweet tea. And the playlist would be like my favorite indie rock and speed metal bands. The last song would be from Mineral’s last album, “The Last Word is Rejoice.”


Executive Chef/Partner- Woodfire Grill

Chef Kevin Gillespie’s true passion lies in serving his customers quality food every day.  This enthusiasm means incorporating the use of fresh, organic and sustainable ingredients in all of his dishes.   His goals as executive chef and partner of Woodfire Grill are to increase the usage of local products, make seasonal dishes more exciting, and create a youthful atmosphere at the restaurant.

Gillespie, an Atlanta native, began his culinary education at the Art Institute of Atlanta where he was able to apply several scholarships he had previously earned from cooking competitions and other academic success.  During school, Gillespie was determined to gain the experience he needed to become a successful chef.  While carrying a full course load at the Art Institute, he worked part time at various restaurants perfecting his craft.  After graduating with honors, Gillespie went on to hold different positions at several well-known Atlanta restaurants including chef de partie at Atlanta Grill at The Ritz-Carlton, sous chef at TWO Urban Licks and chef de cuisine at Woodfire Grill.  He enjoyed his time at each of these places but found a true connection at Woodfire, where he originally stayed for two years.  In August of 2006, Gillespie headed to the West Coast where he went to work as executive sous chef at Fife Restaurant in Portland, Oregon.  After a year and a half there, he missed his family and friends in the South and returned to Atlanta.  Gillespie came back to Woodfire Grill to continue to work for his friend and teacher Michael Tuohy.

In the summer of 2008, Nicolas Quiñones and Bernard Moussa of Five Senses Restaurants, LLC purchased Woodfire Grill and made Gillespie the new executive chef.  They felt that in order to carry on Woodfire Grill’s reputation and mission, he was the most qualified for the position.  In early 2009, Gillespie joined Quiñones and Moussa as a partner in the restaurant.  Through his training, skill and passion, Gillespie maintains the values and ideas on which the restaurant is based.  In addition to achieving this partnership at the restaurant, Gillespie also earned a spot on Bravo’s Emmy and James Beard Award-winning series “Top Chef” for the show’s sixth season in Las Vegas in 2009.  Proving to be a top contender by winning several “Quickfire Challenges” and “Elimination Challenges,” he stood out as one of this season’s final three chef-testants who competed for the “Top Chef” title in Napa Valley.  Gillespie was also voted “fan favorite” by the viewers of “Top Chef.”

As a rising young culinary star that brings more than just good food to the table, Gillespie was named one of Mother Nature Network’s top “40 Chefs Under 40” in November 2009 for linking farms to forks and promoting better health for people and the planet.  In February of 2010, he was honored as one of’s “Top Five Rising Chefs” and named as a semi-finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s “Rising Star Chef of the Year” award.

Gillespie currently resides in the Morningside-Lenox Park area of Atlanta.  He is a member of Slow Food Atlanta, Southern Food Ways Alliance, Chefs Collaborative and the Society for the Preservation of traditional Southern Barbecue.  In his spare time he enjoys camping, playing music and barbecuing.

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!