With an old southern soul and an intense appreciation for all things food, Phillip grew up in Stafford, Virginia, trained in Virginia and California kitchens, and has spent the better part of a decade honing his vision for Southern Food in South Florida.
Bryant was raised in a household where canning, pickling, and making your own ketchup was a way of life. His parents are of French, Greek and Irish descent and a home cooked meal prepared by his mother, Chantal, was part of their everyday. Going out to a restaurant was reserved for only the most special of occasions.
Bryant began working in kitchens at the age of 15 at local joints and steakhouses. Once he decided his career was in the restaurant, he moved to Richmond where he was immersed in the southern food scene on a professional level. In 2005, Chef Bryant moved to Los Angeles in order to gain further fine dining experience with, James Beard Award Winning Chef, Norman Van Aken at Norman’s on Sunset. Bryant worked through every station until being promoted to Sous Chef.
Bryant’s adventure to South Florida began in 2007 on a road trip to the Key West, FL. He was relocating to Key West following his Mentor Chef Norman Van Aken, to take a position as his Executive Sous Chef, at Tavern N’ Town where he spent time cooking and perfecting his skills learning and executing Norman’s award winning, New World Cuisine, alongside Chef Van Aken. He fell in love with the cornucopia of Latin ingredients found everywhere and the island life atmosphere. He then moved to Miami, FL to take the helm as Executive Chef for Chef Norman’s new restaurant Norman’s 180, located in the Colonnade Hotel in Coral Gables, FL.
In 2011, he tried his luck with a new restaurant concept opening in South Beach, FL, called Yardbird Southern Table and Bar, where he took a position as Chef de Cuisine under Executive Chef Jeff McInnis. The restaurant opened to critical acclaim. Such as, making the top of best restaurant lists, being featured in publications such as Zagat, Bon Appetit, and Southern Living, and after its first year, was nominated for a James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant, as well as, Best Chef. During his time at Yardbird, he reconnected with his first love, Southern Cuisine and effortlessly moved into the blossoming New Southern food scene in South Florida that would take shape around a handful of young and forward thinking chefs.
He went on to become the Executive Chef of 50 eggs’ third concept, Swine Southern Table and Bar. Bryant’s culinary style draws inspiration from his Southern upbringing, his culinary training and hard work, and his embrace of the American South, coupled with the best ingredients from local and Southern based farms. At Swine, he was able to free his mind and compile a well thought out, innovative Southern Menu perfectly balancing delicate, and intriguing food pairings with bold flavors. Bryant’s innovative cuisine has earned him a name in the South Florida culinary scene. He has been featured on Local news stations such as CBS 4 and NBC 6, other Local News segments such as Bites with Belkys on WSVN TV 7, he was featured in an article by Zagat as one of their “Top Ten Southern Chefs to Watch,” among other newspaper and internet publications; he has appeared on Cooking Channel’s “Road Trip with G. Garvin.”
Bryant is now Executive Chef-Owner of The Local Craft Food and Drink where the menu now truly reflects his journey. With an ever changing menu to keep the inventive Chef from getting bored, “The Local” is a quaint local’s spot in the heart of Coral Gables, FL with a charming cult following. With scratch cooking as this kitchen’s base, Chef Bryant has started rethinking ingredients at a basic level. From making his own to butter and American cheese, to rethinking a katsuobushi technique with mushrooms stems, his mind is always working. The Local Craft Food and Drink was added to The Daily Meal’s “America’s 75 Best Fried Chicken Spots.” Chef Phil was nominated by Chef Norman Van Aken to compete in Robb Report Magazine’s Culinary Masters Competition for 2016.
Chef Bryant is co-founder of his small restaurant group and private consulting firm, Heirloom Hospitality Group with his partner, Veronica Valdivia.
When he is not in his kitchen, Bryant spends a lot of his time coming up with new recipes and techniques, visiting local farms for inspiration and sometimes consults with local restaurants on openings and day to day operations. He has gradually begun collecting his recipes, past and present, to begin working on his first cookbook.
Bryant approaches his professional and culinary life with candor, humility, humor, and—most importantly—the same spirit of adventure that was the original impetus for his continued success.