Born and raised in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, many of Evans’ early memories revolve around food. From fishing in local waters, to tending his grandfather’s garden, it was family time in the kitchen that brought it all together, sparking his true love for cooking. Working at local restaurants during his time at Auburn University, Evans continued his culinary education after graduation as chef’s apprentice at The Grand Hotel in Point Clear.
He then ventured to New Orleans, working at Bacco and La Petit Grocery, and learning how to instill locally flavored passion. In May 2005, Evans headed north in pursuit of cooking dreams in New York City. He spent the next five years studying technique, efficiency, and innovation at Tom Collichio’s Craft, eventually earning the title of sous chef until he was relocated to open Craftbar in Atlanta as chef de cuisine.
Shortly after his arrival to Atlanta, Evans made a mark on the city’s culinary landscape through his signature seafood dishes at The Optimist, bringing national recognition from Esquire Magazine as Restaurant of the Year and in the rankings of Bon Apetit’s Top Ten Best New Restaurants, both within its first year of opening. Accolades continued during his three years at the helm of the city’s first oyster bar, including Conde Nast Traveler’s naming of the Optimist as one of The 70 Best New Restaurants in the World.
Evans then joined Jonathan Waxman as chef-partner at Brezza Cucina, a new restaurant venture in Ponce City Market. Excited to explore regional iterations of the rustic, Itlalian style of Waxman’s New York mainstay, Barbuto, Evans notes a special connection with the former Sears and Robuck building. His grandmother also worked there, something that comforts Evans, reminding him daily of his Alabama roots.
Most recently, Evans left his Executive Chef role to pursue his dream of owning and operating his own restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama.