Justin Pfau, Executive Chef
A native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, executive chef Justin Pfau first began cooking back in 1999 during his couch surfing days as a way to repay hospitable friends. He then entered the restaurant world, gaining experience in professional kitchens such as District 211. There Pfau met his first mentor, Andrew McCrosky, who gave him his first proper knife, a Wusthof. In 2006, Pfau moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. There he served as the chef of La Residence, and he cooked at Guglhuph, where he first seduced his wife by throwing peas in her hair while she waited tables.
The pair later moved to Chicago, where Pfau began working for chef Perry Hendrix, who ironically was his first introduction to Southern food. Hendrix’s cooking has a natural elegance while still retaining the humble honesty of Southern food, directly inspiring Pfau’s work at Harold’s Cabin. In 2012, Pfau began working under chef Patrick Sheerin at Trenchermen. Another of his career mentors, Sheerin’s ability to balance perfect simplicity against complexity helped Pfau to look at each dish as its own unique creation. Sheerin also taught him the invaluable lesson of how to create a culture of respect and teamwork in the kitchen, to the tune of the 80’s pop songs he belted out at top volume.
A relatively recent transplant to Charleston, Pfau and his wife Brianna moved to the Holy City in 2015. They live with their two cats, Bacon (his wife’s favorite food) and Geezer (named for the Black Sabbath bassist, who is a vegan). When he’s not reading comic books or playing ninja kitty with his cat, Pfau can be found playing half-finished songs on his bass. He still throws peas in his wife’s hair when she’s not looking.