ABOUT

INDIE CHEFS

Indie Chefs Community was founded with a mission to build stronger and more equitable chef communities in markets across the US. Founded on the premise of collaboration, we strive to create a space for chef-to-chef interaction and inspiration. After a strange, secluded past two years, the 2022 city tour will bring more cities, more dinners, and more chefs – as we pave the Road to COMMUNE. The mission of the Road to COMMUNE is to set the stage for a “rebirth” of the culinary community, creating a safe environment for chefs to network, bond and inspire each other once again. With a goal of inclusivity and expansion, we are widening our reach with a ten-city tour, opening our arms to new and old talent along the way, to allow chefs to forage relationships in – and out – of their market. All cumulating at COMMUNE in Spring 2023, the 2022 tour will be a catalyst for re-envisioning how the culinary community can support and elevate each other, while providing chefs with both tangible and intangible resources along the way.

GROVER SMITH

GROVER SMITH

FOUNDER

  FORMER RESTAURANT GM

  PRODUCED 40 ACTIVATIONS IN 13+ MARKETS IN THE US

Born from Indie Chefs Week, a pioneer of large scale collaborative dinners, Indie Chefs Community was founded in 2017 by Grover Smith and strives to build stronger, more equitable chef communities. Grover started in restaurants after a career change in 2012 and worked his way up from server to floor manager to GM in 18 months at the trailblazing nose to tail restaurant Foreign & Domestic in Austin. After meeting and marrying his wife, Jacquelyn, they relocated to Houston, TX where Grover was the opening GM of Bernadine's in the Houston Heights. He later had a stint as GM of Pass & Provisions where he realized that his career in hospitality industry as it currently operated was not conducive with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. In 2017, Grover became a partner in Indie Chefs Week and began traveling full time producing IC events. In early 2017, Grover transitioned the series to Indie Chefs Community with a renewed focus on building stronger and more equitable chef communities in markets across the US. Grover lives in the Houston Heights with his wife, daughter Sloane, son Finn, and their three cats. 

BRETT COOPER

BRETT COOPER

CHEF RELATIONS

  FORMER CHEF OWNER OF MICHELIN STARRED ASTER

  FORMER CDC OF SAISON

  FORMER EXECUTIVE CHEF OF OUTERLANDS

Brett grew up in the kitchen with his mom, making Lebanese food and shake and bake chicken. At 17, he began cooking professionally at a traditional Italian restaurant in Colorado's Western Slope. In 2002 he left for San Francisco to further pursue his career in the kitchen, and began honing his skills under the mentorship of chefs Stuart Brioza at Rubicon and Daniel Patterson at Coi. He later helped open Saison's first location as Chef de Cuisine, and in 2011 took his first role as Executive Chef at Outerlands, helping transform the tiny cafe into a neighborhood community hub. His creative, ingredient-driven cuisine garnered national attention, earning him Rising Star Chef awards from SF Chronicle, Star Chefs, and SF Magazine. In 2015 Brett opened Aster, his vision of modern California cuisine, continuing to challenge himself to highlight the flavors found in SF's bounty of local produce, and awaken the palate with surprising flavor combinations. In its first year the restaurant was awarded one star from the Michelin Guide, and maintained that rating until Brett decided to relocate to SoCal. Brett is the Director of Chef Relations for Indie Chefs and likes to ride bicycles when he’s not hanging with his wife and daughters.

REBECCA LEMELIN GANN

REBECCA LEMELIN GANN

PROGRAMMING DIRECTOR

  PRODUCED SOME OF THE LARGEST FOOD FESTIVALS IN THE SOUTHEAST

  FORMER PROGRAMMING DIRECTOR OF ATLANTA FOOD & WINE

Since childhood, Rebecca has had a strong passion for good food and travel, having lived in numerous cities domestically and abroad, experiencing new cuisines and cultures. Growing up primarily in Northern Virginia, she landed in the South in 2010. With a desire to work in the world of food and beverage, she began in restaurant and chef public relations, before starting her career with the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival. Working her way up from event manager to programming director between 2015 and 2020, Rebecca led the programming and talent management of the 4-day festival, which attracts 10,000+ annual attendees, managing 250+ talent. During that time, she also worked on several other notable culinary events including Cochon555 and the Sugarland Wine & Food Affair. In 2020, she founded Epicurated Concepts, producing culinary events large and small – including Audi x James Beard Foundation PROOF series, and Gather ‘round, named Atlanta’s best new food festival in 2021. Working with top chefs across the southeast and nation-wide, Rebecca strives to create a platform for chefs to tell their stories through live culinary experiences. In 2022, Rebecca joined ICC as Programming Director. Based in downtown Birmingham AL, Rebecca enjoys checking out craft breweries and independent restaurants around the region with her husband, Stephen.

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