Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Harrison Keevil was surrounded by women who passed along their love and talent for cooking to him at an early age. His mother and aunt, who once worked at Gourmetmagazine, spent hours in the kitchen creating elaborate spreads for their friends and family while Harrison observed and occasionally chopped onions. At the age of twelve years old, his mother introduced him to the grill and taught him the basics about meat temperatures and grilling techniques. Cooking remained a hobby for Harrison throughout college at the University of Virginia, where he treated his friends and fellow fraternity brothers to his culinary creations.
Upon returning to the States, Harrison enrolled in the French Culinary Institute to begin his path to becoming a chef. From there, he headed west to San Francisco where he accepted a job as a line cook at Mitch and Steven Rosenthall’s Town Hall restaurant. The chef at the time, Eric Markoff, introduced Harrison to Cajun/Creole cooking as well as the importance of using fresh, quality ingredients.
After a brief stint at The Culinary Edge, a San Francisco-based restaurant consulting firm, Harrison embarked on a one-month stage program at Heston Blumenthal’s three-Michelin starred Fat Duck in London. After four years of being away from his family and friends in Virginia, Harrison returned home and accepted a job as a line cook at The Clifton Inn, working under Chef Dean Maupin, whom he considers his mentor. Chef Maupin encouraged Harrison to use his creativity and talents by allowing him to conceptualize dishes for the menu on a frequent basis. It was there that he met his future wife, Jennifer Pendleton, who worked as his expeditor at the restaurant.
It wasn’t until early 2010 that Harrison decided it was time to open his own restaurant. With a business plan in place and timing on his side, a turnkey space in Charlottesville’s historic district became available and Harrison jumped on it. He opened the charming 60-seat restaurant in July 2010 with Jennifer as co-owner and front-of house manager. Cooking a menu that changes almost nightly, Harrison’s New American cuisine is inspired solely by what’s new and fresh at the markets.
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