Haven, Élevage, and the Epicurean Hotel, Tampa
Growing up in Paducah, Kentucky, Johnson decided to pursue a culinary career after spending time at his best friend’s family’s restaurant. He attended the French Culinary Institute in New York where he was determined to learn all he could from the famed staff, which included modern culinary luminaries like Jacques Pepin, Andre Soltner and Alain Sailhac. He paid for his own tuition, came in early and stayed late - always pressing his instructors for more information. From these legends, Johnson learned the techniques and traditions that have made French chefs leaders in dining for hundreds of years.
Johnson began his culinary career in the modern Mediterranean kitchen of Layla under Chef Frank Proto. At Layla, Johnson was introduced to the cooking styles of the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa. After a stint at Layla, Johnson worked in the popular kitchen of Montrachet where, as he assisted the pastry chefs and plated amuses nightly, he learned, from Chef Chris Gesualdi, how a high volume, fine dining kitchen could be organized for maximum efficiency. Following Montrachet, he enjoyed a stint at the Savoy, under Chef Peter Hoffman. Johnson was exposed to premium products in their natural state. This was the essence and focus of Hoffman’s cuisine; great ingredients prepared simply, allowing their natural flavors to shine.
Using the freshest, premium ingredients and preparing them using modern cooking techniques that highlight the ingredient’s inherent flavors, Chef Chad Johnson’s culinary passions are translated into Haven’s modern New American cuisine. His ultimate goal is to let his guests feel that someone in the kitchen truly cares about what they are eating, how it is prepared and presented.
At Élevage, at the Epicurean Hotel, where nostalgia meets nouveau, Johnson recaptures the feeling of your old favorites, while dining in a chic atmosphere. With Johnson’s newest brainchild Haven, born out of our award-winning classic SideBern’s, chef spent a year perfecting the concept and recipes to ensure the restaurant will be a staple in the Southeast-dining scene.
Johnson was named a semi-finalist in 2014 and 2012 for Best Chef: South Region by the James Beard Foundation. Best Chefs of America also named him a 2014 Top 25 Best Chefs in American South. Additionally, Johnson was named the 2011 and 2012 Best of the Bay Chef by Creative Loafing and Top Chef by the Tampa Bay Times. He has been featured in numerous National and Regional publications and television including CNN, Bay News 9, Studio 10, USA Today, Southern Living, Washington Post, The Tampa Tribune, Travel and Leisure, Emeril’s Florida, Wine Spectator and DuPont Registry. His natural passion for great food combined with his French Culinary Institute education and exposure to some of the country’s best restaurants have all influenced Johnson’s signature cuisine.