Chef Kevin Gillespie
President and Chief Ideas man
Kevin Gillespie grew up on Sunshine Circle in Locust Grove, Georgia surrounded by his large extended family where he watched his granny, Geneva Gillespie, cook each day. He fell in love with food and cooking at an early age but didn’t decide to become a chef until high school. Wanting to become a nuclear engineer, Kevin applied to and was accepted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a high school senior. Once he got over the initial shock of being accepted, he hid the acceptance letter from his parents, friends, and college placement counselors so he could rethink his ambition to become a nuclear engineer. He eventually told his parents that he didn't want to go to MIT but instead wanted to go to the Art Institute of Atlanta and study cooking. His parents supported his decision and his mother told him it was good that he knew what he was meant to do early in life.
Kevin began his culinary education at the Art Institute of Atlanta and 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 2009 after Michael Tuohy departed, Kevin was promoted to executive chef at Woodfire Grill and was subsequently offered partnership in the restaurant. During Kevin’s time at Woodfire Grill, the restaurant was featured on CNN, Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine, and Men’s Health as a dining destination for visitors to Atlanta.