As a standard-bearer for local, seasonal ingredients, Chef Mike Davis grew up close to the ground in a farming family in Dothan, Alabama. After graduating from the University of Alabama, he moved to Charleston, South Carolina to attend Johnson & Wales. While in school, he worked at Magnolia’s under Chefs Donald Barrickman and Don Drake.
To further hone his palate-expanding Southern style, Davis then moved to New Orleans where he worked under James Beard Award-winning Chef Susan Spicer at Bayona and as a sous chef at Cobalt. Davis then stepped up to an extremely rewarding position working as sous chef at Birmingham’s Chez Fon Fon under Chef Frank Stitt, another James Beard Award winner. Under these chefs, Chef Davis refined his passion for using fresh ingredients from local producers whenever possible and learned to let the ingredients speak for themselves while simply prepared.
In 2006, Davis opened the doors of Terra in Columbia, South Carolina where he’s successfully making a mark on the regional and national map for his seasonal preparation of the area’s most loved dishes – but always with his own twists.
Chef Davis has cooked for Taste of the South, the annual Southern Foodways Alliance benefit at Blackberry Farm and has been interviewed twice on NPR’s A Chef’s Table. Chef Davis was invited to cook his Southern Roots dinner at the esteemed James Beard House in New York City for a sold-out crowd of diners and has been featured in Garden & Gun. Euphoria Greenville has invited Chef Davis to cook Sunday Supper each year since 2011. Most recently, Free Times readers named Davis “Best Chef in Columbia” consecutively in 2014 and 2015, and Chef was named the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association’s “2015 Restaurateur of the Year.”