Joey Ward, Executive Chef
Growing up, Joey Ward knew he wanted to become a chef. He had always looked up to his grandfather, who cooked for the United States Navy. On Saturday mornings after the children’s shows were over on PBS, Ward would stay tuned for the cooking shows that followed. Programs such as “Yan Can Cook” and “The Galloping Gourmet” had him hooked. Along with his love for art, Ward found that he could hone his creativity into cuisine.
“For me, cooking is a form of art that is challenging in the way that you must strive to appeal to all of the senses simultaneously, and if possible, evoke emotion,” says the passionate chef. “That is a very special part of why I cook – to take something as basic as someone’s need for nutrients, and elevate it to a level of emotional stimulus, whether that be through surprise, wonderful flavors or if the diner is having a great time in that moment.”
Ward graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. in 2005 with an associate degree in culinary arts management. He began his career in the South as the sous chef at the St. Regis Atlanta. Ward eventually left the hotel to work under Woodfire Grill’s former executive chef and Bravo “Top Chef” alum, Kevin Gillespie. After two years of guidance under Gillespie, he moved on to become the executive chef at H. Harper Station.
For Gillespie’s unique idea of Gunshow to come alive, he needed someone with a keen eye for presentation who valued the art of cooking. Immediately, Gillespie thought of Ward and his passion for creativity in the kitchen.
“I think Kevin’s concept of Gunshow is a breath of fresh air to the Atlanta restaurant scene,” says Ward. “The new approach is exciting and I am ready to bring creativity and emotions to the food we present to our guests each day.”
Ward faces different challenges at Gunshow every day, such as coming up with new, innovative menu ideas, executing the restaurant concept in a timely manner and being resourceful with seasonal foods.
“Each day, my goal is to elevate the level of cuisine and service, bring a fresh approach to the finest, locally sourced ingredients and build lasting relationships with local farmers,” says Ward.
Ward lives in the Midtown neighborhood of Atlanta with his wife Emily. When the craft beer enthusiast is not in the kitchen, he can be found running, hiking, bike riding or dining out. In 2015, Ward was named Jezebel’s Best Rising-Star Chef and was also named to Zagat’s 30 Under 30 of people redefining the hospitality industry in 2014. He is also the three-year consecutive champion of the Kevin Gillespie Super Bowl Dip Off/Snack Attack competition.