Reed Hearon certainly would be considered one of a new breed of diversely educated American chefs. After graduating from the University of Chicago and the University of Texas with two degrees, one in Mathematics and the other in Philosophy, he joined Great Chef Jimmy Schmidt in opening the Rattlesnake Club in Denver. A year later, he helped Great Chef Mark Miller open Coyote Café in Santa Fe. In his spare time, he went through the executive program in wine management at the UC Davis Graduate School of Business.
In January of 1993, he started Nice Ventures, and its first restaurant, Lulu. In 1994, Great Chefs taped him at Lulu for their Great Chefs – Great Cities series. Over the next seven years, he expanded Nice Ventures to include five additional restaurants in San Francisco, employing over 400 people. He won James Beard Awards for best new restaurant and best chef in northern California.
He was a self-taught chef and a self-taught designer of software and consumer products. In 2001, he was a principal of, and started Hearon Designs, which provides consulting for restaurant and food industry startups. In 2009, we saw him as executive chef, overseeing 300 employees at 13 food and beverage outlets at Mammouth Mountain Ski Resort. At last report, he was developing two waterfront restaurants in San Francisco.
While still running Hearon Designs, he started Purevin in 2011 that designs software and hardware tools for consumers, retailers and wineries. As of mid-2016, he is still running both companies and writing books.