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Blue Ridge Mountains Sams Gap

"Get Fresh With A Farmer"


       It all started at The Starving Artist Cafe, where I was first ensnared by the tentacles of a culinary and agricultural subculture, one that would later burst from the shadows and seize the spotlight in the twisted underbelly of the food and beverage industry. In those days, I was a lowly dishwasher, utterly unaware of the wild rollercoaster ride that would unfold before me. It was Chef Shawn Crookshank, with his raspy voice and half-sober wisdom, who christened me with my first apron and welcomed me into the chaos of the dish pit. Chef Roger Goodson, the mad hatter of the kitchen, would slide me beers as I scrubbed away the filth of the evening's debauchery. At the tender age of 15, I was blissfully ignorant of the gluttonous indulgence that awaited me. But in the immortal words of Hunter S. Thompson, "I bought the ticket, and I took the ride."

       Years have passed, and the twisted path I embarked upon has been seared into my memory like a brand, leaving me with a patchwork of hard-won skills, friendships, and rivalries. As fate would have it, I escaped the clutches of small-town USA and found myself in Charleston, South Carolina, where I enrolled in the culinary mirage that was Johnson & Wales. But the true education lay not within the hallowed halls of academia, but in the sweltering kitchens of the Low Country, where experience is king and the chefs are the true professors.

In this frenetic whirlwind of short days and long nights, I collected an endless array of memories, stories, and sins, many of which remain buried deep in the pluff-mudd of my past. I graduated, paid my dues, and worked alongside the great culinary sorcerers of Charleston: Chef Chris Brant, Chef Fred Neuville, Chef Brett McKee, Chef Dan Carusso, Chef Jassen Campbell, Chef John Whisenant, Chef Sean Brock, Chef Eric Williams, Chef Rick Pawlak, and countless other unsung heroes who held the line. Eventually, I took up the mantle of the chef myself, but the weight of the kitchen and its impact on family life, health, and sanity drove me to seek a different path.

       And so, inspired by the legendary Jimi Hatt of Guerilla Cuisine, I dove headfirst into the world of communal dining, marrying the delights of good food, good music, good art, and good company. Fueled by a renewed passion for community and agriculture, I transformed my humble sushi company, Southern Culture, into Southern Culture Cuisine Appalachian Produce & Food Service Provisions. It is a living, breathing entity that continues to grow and evolve, as do I, and the communities and people who share in our vision.

       The ultimate goal is to embrace the raw, poetic romance of the culinary industry and celebrate the importance of community. By weaving a tapestry of good food, libations, passion, and spirit, we bring people together and revel in the heart and soul of the culinary world. This lifelong journey has been fraught with peaks and valleys, but through it all, it has been a savage honor to be a part of this wild, madcap adventure.

Chef Nathan  Tyler       

Southern Culture LLC     

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