Jeffrey McInnis was born to either fish or cook. Growing up on fishing boats around Niceville, Florida, by 16, McInnis was peeling shrimp, cutting fish, and cooking on the line at The Marina Cafe. Long Southern summers working his grandparents’ Alabama farms further stoked his passion for fresh, local food.
After high school, McInnis left Florida to attend Johnson & Wales University in Charleston. After graduating, he traveled, going from a position at Caribbean-Asian Asolare in St. John, Virgin Islands, to the Asian-French Azie San Francisco, to rural Virginia’s Keswick Hall. A post under Norman Van Aken at Norman’s took him to Miami and ultimately The DiLido Beach Club, where he won a 2008 StarChefs.com Rising Star Award.
When McInnis cooked his way into the finals of “Top Chef,” his already widespread acclaim went national. In 2010, he became the executive chef for the Miami-based gigi, and in 2011, he was nominated for “Peoples Choice Best New Chef” by Food & Wine. With so much success, McInnis returned to his roots, becoming chef-partner of Yardbird Southern Table and Bar in Miami, where both chef and restaurant received James Beard nominations.