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Featured Guest Chefs

Sweetwater Supper Club features a rotating roster of guest Chefs de Cuisine for our monthly Dinner Party Events.

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Jay Meier of LeJayFilet

Drawing on his time spent in both the low and high country, Jay is a southern chef at heart. He cooks seasonally, and prefers dishes that that allows ingredients to stand on their own. He believes the best meals have much more to do with these ingredients than the chef, and works closely with local producers to find the best ingredients possible. This way, his meals tell the humble story of where we are, who we’re with, and why certain meals just need to be celebrated. 


Jay began cooking for large groups while working for a Conservation Corps in 2018, where he learned how food can bring about a true sense of togetherness. He began cooking in restaurants in 2020 and would host seasonal dinner parties for his friends in his free time. In 2023, Jay started a private chef and catering business, LeJayFilet LLC, that aims to celebrate his draw to southern food through locally sourced and seasonally inspired meals.

Chef Sarah Long of Spade & Spoon

Writing for Vogue magazine in 1956, journalist Harriet Van Horne, wrote that cooking was like love and should be “entered into with abandon or not at all.” That is my philosophy as a writer and cook. My “love” of cooking extends not just to those who eat my food, but to the Earth, my favorite sous chef, with whom I collaborate while cultivating many of the ingredients used in my dishes.  

When I prepare a menu, I try to meet three objectives: 

·      If I don’t grow the ingredients on my small hobby farm, then they should, preferably, be locally sourced and always in-season. 

·      While the dish can be technical, it must also be replicable and within reach of other serious home cooks. Food should be an equalizer, not elitist. 

·      And finally, the dish should have an element of surprise. I have been described as unconventional and I like my food to have just a dash of eccentricity too. Maybe that means using an exotic spice, or an avant-garde plating style, or maybe it’s featuring an ingredient with a problematic past. However I incorporate a little quirk into the meal, I want the flavor and its story to haunt you all the way home.


Chef Sherri Pengjad of Thai Foodie

Sherri fell head over heels in love with Thai food after her first bite of it in college, and from that point on, her life was changed forever. 


She eventually moved to Thailand after graduating college, mainly so she could eat cheap, perfect Thai food every day.


While there she unexpectedly fell in love with a Thai guy, and eventually they got married in Bangkok across the river from the sparkling Grand Palace. 


Later on, they moved to America, and the closest Thai restaurant was 45 minutes away and quadruple the price of Thai food in Thailand. Sherri was forced to learn to cook it if she wanted to eat it everyday.


So she learned! 


She applied the cooking skills her Thai grandma-in-law had taught her in Thailand, and Thai Hubby taught Sherri what Thai Grandma had taught him, and she cooked and cooked for years until she could make Thai food even her Thai mother-n-law asks seconds for!


She has had a Thai recipe blog for over a decade,, and has been teaching Thai cooking classes in Boone for the last 5 years. 


She loves sharing the secrets of how to make Thai food at home, so it’s more accessible for those who are Thai foodies, but aren’t Thai. 

Chef Lousiana Johnny

For me, cooking started when I was big enough to stand at the pot and hold a spoon. 


As a young boy I got encouragement and experience at the men’s gatherings, where men would get together and play cards, make music, and talk. And cook. 

As a young boy I got to go to these gatherings and stir the pot, then as I got older I was allowed to chop vegetables, and eventually progress to joining in on cooking the meal.


We had regular get togethers at grandma and grandpa’s house ~ I was the firstborn grandson, and my grandpa pretty much raised me.  Grandpa was a cook in the army and offshore on the gulf. He just loved to cook. And fish and hunt and cook off the land. He taught me respect, how to use it, nourish all of it, leave it like you found it. 


On Summer Sunday’s at grandpas the men would gather at the outdoor kitchen, cook, and talk, and play music. Most of the time the women and children would be off to the side. Once the meal was ready everybody would integrate, the children and women would eat, then the men would come in and join them. Everything centered around the food, the cooking process. 


As I grew older I held on to that. Cooking was a way to stay connected. So I make the same meals that my grandpa and great-grandpa made. 


I make them the same way today. All traditional Cajun cooking ~ what people make at home from what they have. The way they’ve been doing for 100s of years. Basic simple ingredients put together in a way that just makes you feel good. 


Food and cooking is more about connection and community. Doing it alone is not that much fun. But doing it with people, for people, together ~ that’s what makes it meaningful. 

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Chef Meg Brown of Devorah Chocolate

Meg's foray into the culinary arts began at the age of 8 when she began attempting to replicate the eastern European delicacies of her grandmother. Since then she has loved to discover food traditions and culture from her own corner of Appalachia and around the world.


As a young adult, Meg had the opportunity to live on the island of Sicily in southern Italy where she spent her days learning Italian home cooking from her adopted Sicilian grandma, and climbing trees picking citrus and olives.


Meg's time in Italy profoundly impacted the way she conceptualizes food. She sees it not as a mere necessity that must fit around our busy schedules, but as a reason to get up in the morning, to seek out fresh locally grown ingredients, prepare them with intention, and share with people we love.


While studying sustainable food systems at Appstate Meg began to go down the rabbit hole of understanding the unethical nature of the international chocolate industry. This led to a fortuitous encounter with a family operated Peruvian Cacao Farm in 2016, where, in the heart of the Amazon, she harvested, fermented, and dried what would become her first batch of homemade chocolate. This led to the creation of her own Bean-to-Bar chocolate company, Devorah Chocolate, focusing on ethically sourced cacao and simple wholesome ingredients.


Meg continues to explore and honor the rich traditions and customs around chocolate, from ancient cacao culture to present day methods, through teaching, advocating for ethical trade, and contributing her own innovations to the ever evolving world of chocolate.

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