Gary Mennie was born in 1970, and raised in the heartland of Pennsylvania. He was introduced to the culinary world watching his family grow vegetables and fruits in their backyard. After graduating from the CIA in New York, Gary set his sights on the California Cuisine that was happening out west. He started in 1990 at L’Orangerie under French Master Chef Jean-François Meteigner and in 1991, to Spago under Great Chef Wolfgang Puck. In 1993, he moved to Atlanta to work under Great Chef Guenter Seeger at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead.
In 1995 his hard work paid off when a group of restaurant developers, including Great Chef Gerry Klaskala, selected him to lead the culinary team of their new restaurant, Canoe. The kitchen wasn’t even ready when the Great Chefs television crew showed up to tape him for Discovery Channel’s Great Chefs of America television series, so chef and crew had to borrow a kitchen in a restaurant supply house in which to film.
Chef Mennie stayed at Canoe for 10 years before opening his own restaurant in 2005 in Atlanta, called Tarus. In 2010, he became the executive chef of Table 1280 in the Woodruff Arts Center. That didn’t work out and he and his wife, Karen, decided to move to Greenville, South Carolina to open High Cotton Maverick Bar & Grill in 2012, where he remains today in 2016.