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Cheese board: Chef’s selection of artisanal cheeses, prosciutto, house made jam, fresh fruit, house made pretzels and crackers. George Neal is the Corporate Chef and proprietor of 1618 Seafood in Greensboro, N.C.

While we all know the restaurant names — 1618, Undercurrent, Blue Denim, etc. — most of us know very little about the men and women behind the kitchen door. Chefs not only cook the meals we eat; they also build the menus, create the recipes, source the ingredients and shape the culinary identity of a restaurant.

And in Greensboro, these chefs hail from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives, creating a rich tapestry of a food scene filled with bright flavors and creative dishes.

We recently caught up with five local chefs to find out how they got their start and what inspires them.

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