Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Savoring Success: The career of Patrick White, Food Fire + Knives 2023 Chef of the Year

Statesboro native Chef Patrick White began as "extra help" in the kitchen at the beloved Emma's restaurant. Through his natural talent, hard work, and dedication to his craft, he quickly worked his way up to chef in the restaurant. Today, he is a private chef who recently had the opportunity to showcase his culinary skills for none other than billionaire Michael Bloomberg.
Chef Patrick White

Born and raised in Statesboro, Patrick White, now 32, recently earned the title of Chef of the Year, surpassing more than 200 chefs affiliated with Food Fire + Knives, a platform for private chefs that connects them with potential clients. Featured in The New York Times and frequented by various news sources, Food Fire + Knives is a reputable source known for valuing excellence in culinary artistry.

“It was no easy feat. I had to go to extremes to accomplish it. There were over 200 competing chefs from all over—California, Chicago, North Carolina, Washington D.C., Florida, Georgia, and beyond," White said. "Over the years, we [Food Fire + Knives] have been gaining popularity. I won because I had the most five-star ratings, the most bookings, and the best menus, something I really prided myself on."

Chef White's menus are even used by the company to guide newer chefs in formatting their menus.

One of Chef White’s standout menus is "An Ode to Emma’s," named after the restaurant in Statesboro where he began his culinary journey, starting as extra help and working his way up to becoming one of their chefs. Though he would move on to grow his skills at other restaurants throughout the Savannah area and the state of South Carolina, Chef Patrick's dedication and hard work at Emma’s laid the foundation for his impressive career.

In the kitchen at Emma's, 2014

Reflecting on his roots, Chef Patrick shares, “When I first started private chefing, I went back to those classics that I remembered, and some of the classics that I helped to create during my time there, and I used that inspiration to create the menu, a menu honoring my time at Emma’s, honoring my beginnings. Some of the items include tuna tartare, crispy fried oysters, grilled duck bruschetta, and catfish tacos. So, to me the menu is chefy; it’s unique, but it’s also classic and has those items that feel like staples.”

Preparing food at the Statesboro Main Street Farmer's Market

With nine menus available on his profile, Chef Patrick's most recent addition is the Chef of the Year menu. Reflecting on this achievement, he notes, "Winning Chef of the Year meant I got to create a brand new, standout menu. The Vietnamese pork stands out. It's sticky, sour, sweet, with lemongrass and BBQ—a medley of great flavors. But it’s hard to pick a favorite, because I strive to fill my menu with dishes that are nothing but hits. So there’s truly a few really great dishes; one is actually a vegetarian dish I named, 'You Wish You Were Vegetarian': cast iron-seared, Savannah black eyed peacake served with a pecan Thai sauce. It's honestly just awesome.”

Recently, Chef Patrick was hand selected to serve as the private chef for billionaire Michael Bloomberg during a golfing trip to Kiawah Island in South Carolina. Recounting this incredible experience, Chef Patrick shares, "To jump to billionaire status, to know I was hand-selected by them, it’s just surreal, and I can only describe it as a true blessing. I’m happy, and they were happy with the food." 

Food prepared for Michael Bloomberg

While he has cooked for football players, actors, and rappers before, this experience marked a significant milestone in his career. White says his clean, slow-crafted menus played a crucial role in this opportunity. Chef Patrick was booked for five days, laughing and sharing that they would have booked him for six, to last the entire trip; however, he was already booked out by another client. 

He served as the dinner chef for the entire duration, offering a five-course menu on the first night and a three-course menu for the remainder of the stay. The menus showcased a variety of dishes, with an emphasis on fresh, high-quality ingredients.

For instance, one of the standout dishes featured local, wild-caught grouper served with herb onion-braised lentils and a seasonal vegetable medley, finished with a sundried tomato and rosemary vinaigrette. Another night, they enjoyed a shrimp cocktail appetizer followed by chargrilled flank steaks.

Chef Patrick with family

Chef Patrick stayed on the property in the guest house, where all the meals were prepared and served. His wife, Brittany, joined him for the trip and served as the sous chef for most nights. Chef Patrick emphasized their teamwork. "I really credit so much to her. She’s a huge support of me, always, and none of this would have been possible if it weren’t for her at my side."

"And yeah, they were just lovely people, very nice and warm," he said of his dinner guests. "One of the nights during the stay, they were joined by another high-end client for dinner, raising the guest count from 8 to 10, but they were kind as well. They actually live in the area and took my card after that dinner, so there’s potential there for future opportunities."

Chef Patrick expressed that being intentional has shaped him into both the chef and man he is today. He learned from a young age that if this was something he wanted to do, he was going to have to want it and work hard, choose it intentionally, and continue to learn throughout his career.

"I’ve been intentional about my steps along the way, choosing who I’ve learned under, and where and how long I spend my time learning at places," he shared. "I think it’s important to look to the people that you want to be like, the people doing the work you want to do—what can you take from them, learn from them?"

img_9010Looking forward to the upcoming year, Chef Patrick's goals include acquiring a mobile food trailer—a full-service mobile restaurant kitchen. He shared that he and his wife have already made significant progress towards making this a reality.

In the long term, Chef Patrick dreams of releasing a cookbook he’s been working on, titled "The Cookbook About Nothing," inspired by Seinfeld, the show about nothing. He envisions sharing his story, along with his passion for cooking, encompassing important dishes that are tied to significant memories throughout his years.

"Taking things from my past and being able to incorporate them into my cooking, being intentional—that’s where my heart lies for cooking," he says.

Chef Patrick's unwavering dedication, intentional choices, and culinary talent have positioned him as a rising star in the culinary world, with exciting prospects and dreams on the horizon.

He concluded by reflecting on the Chef of the Year award, highlighting the steep competition, but noting his rise after two years of being in the top five. Chef Patrick emphasized that his journey required extreme dedication and hard work, but it has all been worth it, and he believes he's just getting started in his culinary career.

Chef Patrick and his daughter

"The person who won Chef of the Year prior to me has 30 years of experience on me, but after two years of being in the top five, here I am as the 2023 Chef of the Year. I’ve had to go to extreme heights and work with endless dedication to get to where I am today, but it’s worth it. It’s all been worth it, and I’m really just getting started in my chefing career."