2017 Nourish Chefs - Margot McCormack & Friends

MArgot Mccormack
Margot Cafe & Bar, Marche Artisan Foods

Margot spent many Saturday mornings as a little girl in the kitchen with her mother frying doughnuts, baking bread and making candy. Cooking was fun and it tasted good, so it was restaurant work she turned to for a part time job while studying creative writing at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Margot excelled in the work and was quickly promoted.

Back in Nashville after graduation, she found herself drawn to the kitchen at Faison’s. Owner Jody Faison encouraged Margot to be creative and introduced her to the work of chefs like Alice Waters. After a year of experience, Margot decided to pursue a career in the culinary arts and enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America. During the two year program, Margot set her sights on NYC and moved there the day after graduation. She held positions in many different restaurants to gain knowledge and experience. In 1992 she became the chef at Danal, a tiny European café in the east village. Margot was exposed to the more rustic dishes of France and Italy. Her developing style attracted a following and garnered reviews in the NY Times and NY Magazine.

After ten years in NY, Margot returned home to Nashville in 1996 and worked as chef de cuisine and then executive chef at F. Scott’s. During her five years there, Margot made a name for herself in Nashville as the restaurant received rave reviews and many accolades.

Margot dreamed of a restaurant of her own, though, and left F. Scott’s in February of 2001. She partnered with Jay Frein to open Margot Café and Bar in June of 2001. Since opening, the restaurant has continued to buzz thanks to incredible neighborhood support and critical praise. Margot Café & Bar has been featured prominently in local publications such as The City Paper, Nashville Lifestyles & The Tennessean and has received numerous Nashville Scene “Best of Nashville” awards including winning “Best Restaurant” five years in a row. National press for the restaurant includes National Geographic Traveler Magazine, Southern Living, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal & The New York Times. McCormack & Frein opened their second restaurant, Marche Artisan Foods, in 2006 to similar acclaim.

Margot’s philosophy on food and cooking is rooted in the cultures of southern France and Italy. She enjoys the sturdy flavors of peasant cookery where cuisine is pure, uncomplicated, seasonally based & ingredient driven. Her cooking style is personal and features food that you can be comfortable with. Margot is not looking to reinvent food but to reintroduce it in a personal & uncomplicated way.

When not working, Margot enjoys traveling, cycling, gardening and spending time with her wife Heather, their two year old son Jacob and their dogs in their home in the East Nashville neighbor- hood of Inglewood.

Jess Benefield
Two Ten Jack

Jessica credits her ‘commitment to being committed’ for many successes thus far in the hospitality industry. After years of waiting tables, bartending and managing the front of the house staff, she switched gears to what has become her life’s passion; working in the kitchen. Studying under former Matsuhisa, Aspen Chef, Robbie Wilson, she discovered a deep passion of and connection to Japanese culture and cuisine.

The people closest to her know Jessica to be a thoughtful, passionate individual. She believes in doing business responsibly, the way it should be done; using the best available product that’s sourced seasonally and as locally as possible. Jessica and her husband Trey are proud members of the Southern Foodways Alliance, supporters & volunteers for the American Humane Association & Nashville Rescue Mission and advocates for the Gulf Wild sustainable seafood & “CleanFish” programs. 

Julia Sullivan
Henrietta Red

A native Nashvillian, Julia Sullivan trained at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and worked at some of the best restaurants in New York (Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Five-Star Per Se, Franny’s) before returning to Nashville to join acclaimed chef Josh Habiger at Pinewood Social, a 2014 James Beard semifinalist for Best New Restaurant. There she became an expert at logistics, implementing systems, managing staff, expediting service and making sure the kitchen is running as smoothly as possible — all while keeping the culinary experience consistently delicious. In early 2017, Sullivan teamed up with sommelier Allie Poindexter to open Henrietta Red, named in honor of Julia’s grandparents and embodying their Carolina low-country hospitality. 


Rebekah Turshen
City House

Rebekah started her first baking job in February 1993 at Harvest Cafe and Bakery in Oxford, MS, and by the end of her first day she decided to make a career out of it. Rebekah began working in Nashville kitchens in 1996 and has been Pastry Chef at Tandy Wilson's  City House since 2009.

Laura Wilson
Citizen Kitchens

Laura Wilson has been cooking professionally in Chattanooga, New Orleans and Nashville for over 20 years, working as executive chef at restaurants such as the Red Fish Grill and Ombi. She is now the Owner Operator at Citizen Kitchens, a membership-based food business incubator for Nashvilians looking grow a food-based business.