A first of its kind festival, Indie Chefs’ COMMUNE is a two week long series of events run by a collective of acclaimed chefs. Consider it the “anti-food-festival” of the year -- a festival that is equitable, gives back to the community, champions social justice, and is committed to addressing systemic issues facing the hospitality industry.
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 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.