Crook's Corner | Chapel Hill, NC
Justin joined the team at Crook’s Corner in late 2018 with an already impressive culinary career focused on Southern food and ingredients. After working alongside Southern food icon Bill Smith for months, Justin took the reins of the Crook’s kitchen in January 2019. He is the third chef at the helm of the 36-year-old institution.
Born and raised in Snellville, Georgia, Justin began cooking with his grandmother at an early age. Taking his first official industry job at age 14 at Glen’s BBQ in Snellville, he began as a dishwasher and worked his way to the pit. Following graduation, Justin moved to Athens, Georgia, and worked in corporate kitchens. Craving more culinary experience and a more creative menu, he approached chef Hugh Acheson of 5 & 10, offering his services for free in exchange for experience. Acheson took a chance on Justin, awarding him with the position that began his formal culinary career in 2005.
In 2006, Justin relocated to Asheville, where he worked his way up the ranks at various local restaurants, including The Market Place, Table Restaurant, The Richmond Hill Inn and Nova. In 2009, Justin accepted an opening position at Miller Union in Atlanta under executive chef Steven Satterfield and served as the chef de cuisine for nearly three years.
Craving a return to North Carolina, Justin took the executive chef position at Ruka’s Table in Highlands, North Carolina, in 2012, where he received national attention for his modern work with local ingredients and flavor profiles. Among his many accolades, Justin received a Carolina Rising Star award from StarChefs in 2013, was named by Food & Wine magazine as one of the top ten chefs in the Southeast in 2013 and 2014, and was highlighted in 2014 as one of Plate’s Top 30 Chefs to Watch.
In December 2015, Justin opened Local Provisions in downtown Asheville. Acting as chef-owner, Local Provisions gained instant national recognition for its innovative use of local ingredients and technique.
When he’s not in the kitchen, Justin enjoys spending time with his wife, Brooke, his daughter, Olive, and their pets.
Follow Crook's on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!
Justin is participating in the Hill Fire dinner on October 17, the Sustainable Classroom on October 18 and the Fall Fête on October 19.