Renowned chefs from around Alabama will converge to create an exclusive VIP experience at this year's Birmingham Originals Local Flavor Festival on Sunday, October 13 in Railroad Park. It will be a true Taste of Alabama event.
VIP Chefs will be Wes True from Montgomery, James Boyce from Huntsville, Rob McDaniel of Alexander City, and Josh Quick from Florence.
Husband and wife team, Wesley True and Bobbi Heirtoff, arrive in Montgomery as Executive Chef / Owners of TRUE. The two-time James Beard Award semi-finalist for “Best Chef in the South” has received widespread recognition in the likes of Southern Living and Garden & Gun for his culinary work at Mobile’s True and true Midtown Kitchen and participation in national food events alongside the country’s best chefs. After participating in Montgomery’s annual Farm-to-Fork Food Invasion and Alabama All Star Food Festival, Wesley and Bobbi seized the opportunity to move true to the capital city in the former Roux space.
Born and raised in Mobile, Ala., Wesley attended the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss. where he took his first cooking job at John Currence’s popular restaurant, City Grocery. Inspired to pursue a career in culinary arts, True enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. While there, he did his externship in Manhattan where his love for fine dining was born. After eight years of working for some of Manhattan’s most influential chefs including Bobby Flay, David Bouley , Marcus Samuelson and numerous michelin-starred restaurants, Wesley moved back home to Mobile in 2007 to open True with the help of wife, Bobbi.
Wesley is an avid supporter of Alabama Gulf Seafood and the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission’s campaign to promote the state’s seafood industry through a series of TV commercials and other marketing initiatives. In 2012 , Wesley was also selected to participate in the Alabama Tourism Department’s “100 Dishes to Eat Before You Die,” Alabama Restaurant Week, Alabama All Star Food Festival, “Sunday Supper” James Beard Benefit Dinner in Atlanta, Taste of Alabama Dinner in Birmingham, Auburn’s “Real Food” Fest and the Farm-to-Fork Food Invasion in Montgomery.
Chef True is joined by his wife Bobbi as front of house manager and Certified Sommelier. Bobbi brings a warm welcome to the dining room and is on-hand to offer suggestions and seasonal recommendations from our extensive and thoughtful wine list.
This 20-year industry veteran launched his culinary career at New York’s venerable Le Cirque, where he worked for six years under the tutelage of Daniel Boulud. While working in New York, Boyce studied at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, graduating with top honors. In 1990, Boyce made his first trip west to The Phoenician, where he worked with Mary Elaine’s former chef de cuisine, Alex Stratta. After an initial five years with The Phoenician, he went to Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas as chef de cuisine at Palace Court. He joined Loews Coronado Bay Resort as executive chef in 1995. While heading culinary operations for Loews, he made a name for himself as one of Southern California’s leading chefs, earning critical acclaim and a variety of awards.
With his experienced, inventive approach to the culinary arts and dynamic leadership qualities, James Boyce was tapped to be the anchor of Studio when it opened in 2003. After earning a second Mobil Five-Star award for Studio, he relocated his family to Huntsville, AL to begin new culinary endeavors with the development of his own company, Boyce Restaurant Concepts.
In 2008 he opened Cotton Row, in Downtown Historic Huntsville, featuring fine American cuisine with strong Southern influences. He also opened Pane e Vino Pizzeria, which offers rustic-chic Italian fare in a superbly artistic setting - just below Huntsville’s own Museum of Art and overlooking Big Spring Park. In December 2010, on the opposite end of the Courthouse Square, he opened Commerce Kitchen - influenced by turn of the century style and classic cuisine.
Each restaurant within the Boyce Restaurant Concepts portfolio offers guests unique tastes and experiences which combine to make Downtown Historic Huntsville, Alabama a compelling travel and dining destination.
Jimmy is regularly featured on the cooking segment of the Today show, in Martha Stewart Weddings, and on Martha Stewart Living Radio. He and his restaurants are also featured in highly acclaimed magazines from Cooking Light, and Food & Wine, to Men’s Health.
Rob McDaniel is general manager and executive chef of SpringHouse. He is passionate about his grandmothers’ cooking, supporting local farmers and preserving southern cooking methods. Rob practices his incomparable skills and knowledge of Southern traditional cooking and presents exceptional products from local producers in a modern way.
After graduating from Auburn University in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management, Rob headed north to Montpelier, Vermont where he studied at the New England Culinary Institute. During his time at NECI, Rob began to appreciate sustainable living and cooking, supporting local and organic farmers and the importance of using local resources. Before leaving NECI, Rob moved to Grayton Beach, Florida where he worked for Chef Johnny Earles at Criolla’s. Upon graduating from NECI in 2004, Rob moved back to the South, where he worked as sous chef for Chris and Idie Hastings at their Birmingham-based restaurant, Hot and Hot Fish Club. Using the skills he learned at NECI, combined with the Hot and Hot style, he began to realize that southern food and sustainability are intricately tied.
In 2007, Rob left the Hastings to continue his culinary path as a chef with Jim ‘N Nick’s BBQ. During his time at Jim ‘N Nick’s, Rob began to appreciate the culture behind southern cooking and its methods. Two years later, Rob got the opportunity that he had been looking for when Russell Lands On Lake Martin offered Rob the executive chef position at SpringHouse restaurant in Russell Crossroads at Lake Martin. SpringHouse, opened in 2009, has allowed Rob to express his love for sustainable southern food and the preservation of its methods. Food has a story, and Rob loves telling that story equally to cooking it.
With the area's famed musical history and current status as a center of creativity and fashion, it's no surprise that fine dining would be flourishing in Florence. Executive Chef Josh Quick will be serving up fresh local ingredients at his new venture this fall, Odette. Previously Chef Quick, a native New Yorker, led the culinary team from Three Sixty at the Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa hosted a “Home-grown Alabama” dinner at the James Beard House in NYC.
Opening in mid-November, Odette will be casual dining with a focus on regionally sourced products. The food will have some southern influence, though Josh enjoys using many different flavors to highlight local products. Odette will feature a craft cocktail bar and a small retail section with tabletop and other kitchen items as well. The restaurant is located in downtown Florence in a 100 year old building, and will blend the historic look of the building with a contemporary feel.