LEON JEFFERSON | CENTRAL STATION GRILL
Leon is a graduate of Starkville High School and Gibson’s Barber and Beauty College. He started cooking at Pappadeaux’s Seafood Kitchen in Houston, Texas in 1995. He has a lot of history working with experienced chefs: Curt Chrissy, Jay Yates, and Eat With Us’s own Carnell McGee. He credits McGee with being the most talented chef and teaching him to hone his skills.
Leon is constantly teaching about food safety, quality, taste, temperature, and presentation. He has continued to learn more about the art of food every day since he joined the company in 2001. Having a strong passion for food, he really enjoys cooking, creating and balancing the flavors of food.
While an assistant of Chef Carnell, Leon was introduced to cooking competitions. He participated in the United Way Souper Bowl for five years and placed second, second, first, first, and second, respectively. Representing the Central Station Grill in the Taste of Starkville competition, Leon won Best Festival Friendly Food in 2012 and Best Taste of Starkville in 2013. Leon won the awards for Best Taste and Most Original at Starkville Area Arts Council Forks & Corks 2013.
The most unique part of being a chef for Leon is finding the simplicity and balance of flavors. “Simplicity is often the key to perfection,” he says. His favorite dishes to prepare are seafood, seasonal produce, and steaks. When forced to choose just one favorite food to eat, he reluctantly settles on Maple Grilled Spare Ribs.
Leon’s favorite part of being a chef is the ability to reinforce his personal and professional life. “It also gives immeasurable happiness when a delicious outcome comes out of the food you’ve prepared. A balance in everything creates memories and future experiences,” he states.
Leon is married to “the beautiful and caring Latonya.” They have two kids, Jay and Kiara.
RYAN MCCOY | FAIRPARK GRILL
Ryan is a native of Nashville, Tennessee. He has an extensive background in several of the top restaurants in the Nashville area, including Andrew Chadwicks at Rutledge Hill, Flyte, and 360 Bistro. His most recent position was executive chef at the Paris Country Club in Paris, Tennessee.
NEW CHEF | JACKSON SQUARE GRILL
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