Inspired by his grandfather, who was a chef, Southern Season VP of Restaurants Ryan Payne knew he wanted to be a chef at a young age. Payne has fond childhood memories of spending countless hours cooking in the kitchen with his grandfather, even before he was old enough to see over the counter top. After working in restaurants throughout high school as a sauté cook, Payne decided to begin his culinary career at Johnson & Wales University in Norfolk, Virginia.
Following his culinary school graduation, Chef Payne worked at Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Virginia, a four-star, four-diamond property. Over the course of his nine-year tenure at the resort, Chef Payne held a variety of positions, including that of the Executive Chef at Bray Bistro. In subsequent years, Payne served as the Director of Food and Beverage & Executive Chef at the Magnolia Inn as well as the Director of Food and Beverage & Executive Chef at the Pine Crest Inn, both in Pinehurst, North Carolina.
In September of 2012, Ryan was named Corporate Executive Chef for Southern Season, Weathervane and Southerly – the brand’s namesake restaurant for locations in Charleston, Richmond and more to come. At Weathervane Restaurant at Southern Season, Chef Payne focuses on creating southern cuisine with world influences, as well as incorporating local ingredients into his dishes. In November of 2013, Payne was named VP of Restaurants for Southern Season to oversee all restaurant operations and prepared food for the bakery and deli.
Distinctions, Accolades & Awards
Throughout his culinary career, Chef Payne has prepared meals for two U.S. presidents, catered four PGA golf tournaments, and received a number of awards, including the 2006 and 2007 People’s Choice Award for Best Restaurant during his tenure as Executive Chef at Magnolia Inn.
In July 2012, Chef Payne and his Weathervane team donned the coveted Red Chef’s Jackets after winning the Fire in the Triangle Competition Dining series, beating out 16 local chefs to win top prize. This advanced the team to the Final Fire State Championship, where they outperformed each competitor they faced. The finals pitted Team Weathervane against Bistro Roca of Blowing Rock, North Carolina – and with a final, weighted score of 75.18 to 71.81, Chef Ryan Payne and Team Weathervane were named 2012 Got to be NC Competition Dining State Champions.
Soon thereafter, in September 2012, Chef Payne took first place in the Triangle Chef Showdown in Raleigh, a charity event for the food bank of NC which raised over 100,000 meals for the food bank in one night.
Competition Dining Media