*Winner of Food Network's; Guy's, Grocery, Games*
*Appeared on Food Network's; Beat Bobby Flay*
Growing up in Lawrenceville, Ga., Wakefield was immersed in a world of diverse culinary cultures. His mid-Western mother taught him how to prepare meat and potatoes, as well as her “famous dishes” including spaghetti, pork chops and meatloaf, and his Tennessee-born father provided Wakefield with his love for Southern culinary traditions. In addition, his grandparents owned one of Iowa’s most successful bakeries. As a result, he first learned the tools of becoming a great pastry chef. This foundation led Wakefield to his love for all things culinary, where he took his first job at the age of 14 at a casual Italian restaurant. During his time there he crafted several dishes from scratch, surprising not only diners, but also, his superiors in the restaurant. A few years down the road Wakefield went on to attend Le Cordon Bleu in Atlanta, where he took a coveted three month externship at the exclusive Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Va. His culinary superiors asked Wakefield to stay on following his externship, and he worked his way up to the position of junior sous chef, where he was responsible for developing and preparing the extensive appetizer selections, and serving the 400 to 1,600 people who dined at the resort nightly.
Missing his hometown, Wakefield decided to move back to Atlanta, where he began working as a lead line cook at the acclaimed Spice Market, under the tutelage of internationally heralded chefs, Jean-George Vongerichten and Ian Winslade. The owners of Food 101 quickly recognized his talent and hired him as executive sous chef at Food 101 in Sandy Springs. Wakefield’s talent of combining Southern food and sensibilities to create cutting edge cuisine became highly praised and he was soon promoted to executive chef of Meehan’s Public House in Downtown Atlanta. Soon after he was named corporate chef of Meehans Public House. Between Jordan’s extensive training, skill and hand-picked kitchen team, he has taken Meehan’s fare to the next level, and in 2013, he was ready to embark on his latest venture with Food 101, Smoke Ring, which will serve up his very own take on “Georgia-Style Barbeque” in Atlanta’s Castleberry Hill community.
Jordan and his wife, who he met while she was a bartender at Meehan’s Public House Sandy Springs, are the owners and operators of Smoke Ring. Long time fans of all things Southern and barbecue Jordan and Erin enjoy to spread this love through the neighborhood of Castleberry Hill that they have now called their second home.
Follow him on Instagram! @BBQSomething
Erin Wakefield has always considered herself a Southerner at heart. One of four children, Wakefield’s family moved from Dallas, TX when she was a young child and relocated to Florida. In high school, her mother’s job led the family to move around to various cities, some including Atlanta and Michigan; However, Wakefield soon realized that she belonged in the South, particularly Atlanta. Feeling like she was finally at “home”, Wakefield began working at Meehan’s Public House in Atlanta first as a waitress and then a bartender, all while attending school at Georgia State to study psychology. Believing in the importance of making people feel comfortable and welcomed at all times, working as a part of the Meehan’s family has been the perfect fit for Wakefield. Meehan’s also brought Wakefield together with her now husband, Jordan Wakefield, who was the executive chef at Meehan’s Public House Downtown.
A graduate of Georgia State Erin has always lived by the motto, “You get what you give out,” which has seemed to always work in her advantage. Smoke Ring is a concept of “Georgia-Style Barbeque” that she and her husband have been working to build for quite some time along with the guys behind 101 Concepts. Now that it has become a reality Erin enjoys building her career as part owner and bar manager, of Smoke Ring, where she now calls the people of Castleberry Hill “regulars” which are more like family to her. She is currently in school for her Masters Degree at Mercer University.