Chef Christopher J.Nason was born in rural Bucks County, Pennsylvania, fifty miles from Philadelphia. His childhood experiences were steeped in the seasonal farming traditions of his home, the metropolitan cultural influences of Philadelphia and the rich coastal heritage of summers in Cape May. Nason worked in many kitchens during high school and while earning his degree in Governmental Affairs from Lehigh University.
It was towards the end of college that Nason decided to begin his journey as a career chef. Nason moved to Charleston, South Carolina, in 1990 to attend Johnson and Wales University. Concurrently, Nason landed the Sous Chef position at the Village Café and was promoted to Chef in 1991. It was soon thereafter that Nason and the Village Café received the coveted DiRONA award. In 1993 Nason became Chef at Anson Restaurant in Charleston. It was here that Nason developed the concept of “Southern Flavors – Contemporary Cuisine of Charleston Heirloom Foods” and teamed with the full corporate Chef force of Dining Group South in their debut to a sell-out crowd at the James Beard House in New York City in September, 1995. “Southern Flavors” has garnered national and regional press, was highlighted as a “Southern life-style feature” at Spoleto Festival USA and was later featured on the Discovery Channel.
Chef Nason opened Sapphire Grill in January of 1998. Sapphire’s “Fresh Market Cuisine” is Chef Nason’s eclectic interpretation of Savannah’s antebellum culinary heritage, featuring local and regional day-gathered, organic ingredients. In June 1996, The New York Times gave Chef Nason a glowing review for his work in this field. He later expanded the “Fresh Market Cuisine” concept in its entirety at the Sapphire Grill. “We spend as much time discovering or finding the food as we do cooking it – in a way, it’s like gathering wild flowers.” Some elements of “Fresh Market Cuisine” are obvious: fresh caught seafood, organic free-range meats, game, poultry, vegetables and herbs from local and regional farms. More subtly woven into Nason’s menus are organic heirlooms and wild foods from local and national custom growers and gatherers delivered by airfreight on a daily basis. The oven and stock pot are central to Nason’s kitchen and resonate 24 hours a day, cycling fresh bread and decadent pastries from exquisitely created recipes during the day, and slowly roasting and simmering vegetables and stocks throughout the night.
Highlights at Nason’s Sapphire Grill include: Lobster Bisque in Three Parts with Pickled Tarragon Sherry, Lobster Foam & Lobster Bacon; Sesame Spiked Calamari & Ginger Coriander Pesto, Ponzu, Spicy Peanuts & Fresh Lime Juice; Benne Encrusted Local Black Grouper & Vinegar Jammed Jasmine Rice,Melted Leek & Heirloom Tomato Broil, House made Sweet Soy & Preserved Lemon; Confit of Organic Suckling Pig with White Truffle, Caramelized Baby Root Vegetables, Pineapple Sage Shortbread & Pineapple Oil. Since opening Sapphire Grill in 1998,Nason has received numerous accolades from international, national and regional press. He has been featured in The New York Times, Southern Living, Conde Naste Traveller, Atlanta Magazine,Modern Bride,WMagazine and Bon Appétit. In addition, he has been featured on the Food Network’s “Best of Fine Dining” and the Discovery Channel’s “Great Country Inns”.Talk to the Chef