Chef Bios Category

Cooking local with Brookville Restaurant’s Harrison Keevil


Brookville Restaurant features 90 plus percent local products everyday.

The term locavore was coined by professional chef and author Jessica Prentice back in 2005, and the word was the Oxford English dictionary’s word of the year in 2007. The idea to eat “locally” spawned a movement that has since spread world wide, and here in Charlottesville, one of it’s biggest proponents is Chef Harrison Keevil of Brookville Restaurant.  On Sunday,  April 14, 2013, Chef Keevil will share some of his philosophy, cooking skills and inspiration at The Happy Cook Farm to Table series, from 5:00 – 6:30 PM, and you can call (434) 977-2665 for tickets, which are $40 per person, tasty bits and beverages included.  Click here to book online.

Chef Harrison Keevil behind the line at Brookville Restaurant

I caught up with Chef Keevil last week at his restaurant and talked to him about the upcoming class at The Happy Cook.  Chef Keevil grew up in Richmond, Virginia and after a circuitous route to the kitchen, which included stops in California, London and San Francisco, he opened Brookville Restaurant in Downtown Charlottesville in 2010 with his wife.  About the class series, Chef said, “We partnered with The Happy Cook to create a Farm to Table class series, where I team up with a local farm, and we could just show and give credit to the local farmers who are really doing all the hard work.”  It seems to me to be a prefect match, because The Happy Cook itself is locally owned and operated since 1978.

Looking at tickets during dinner service

“Brookville was founded with the philosophy of sourcing and utilizing as much locally grown product as we can,” said Keevil, “right now we are 90 percent locally grown … so most everything comes within 100 miles, and everything else we get from small local purveyors here in town, so our money can go back into the local community.”  This standard will be on display during the Farm to Table cooking class at The Happy Cook  when Chef Keevil presents Shiitake Crepes made with locally sourced mushrooms from Sharondale Farm on April 14, 2013.

Shiitake Crepes with micro greens and smoked Piedmont

“I love this recipe because it is a fun vegetarian recipe that is delicious year round,” said Chef Keevil. “It’s a nice simple vegetarian dish … the last of the cold weather kind of warm you up dishes, that will hold you over until all the greens of the spring arrive.”  Crepes, a thin French kind of pancake, is something everyone can benefit from learning how to make.  I learned to make crepes in Normandy, France back when I was an exchange student, and once you make your own at home – you can fill them with sweet as well as savory items, they will become a regular on your weekend menu. When asked about the hardest part of making crepes for this recipe, Chef said, “The hardest part is the crepe. You have to make sure your heat is not too high because you want as little color as possible.”

So come on out and support our LOCAL FARMS and CHEFS, and sign up for this great evening at The Happy Cook.  Chef Harrison Keevil from Brookville Restaurant will be cooking Shiitake Crepes, among other treats! Learn about this local farm, eat great food, and enjoy a fun evening out with your friends! $40/person, beverages included. (434) 977-2665 Sun., April 14, 5-6:30 pm.  Click here to purchase tickets online.

Harrison Keevil Chef/Co-Owner Brookville Restaurant

Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Harrison Keevil was surrounded by women who passed along their love and talent for cooking to him at an early age.  His mother and aunt, who once worked at Gourmetmagazine, spent hours in the kitchen creating elaborate spreads for their friends and family while Harrison observed and occasionally chopped onions. At the age of twelve years old, his mother introduced him to the grill and taught him the basics about meat temperatures and grilling techniques.  Cooking remained a hobby for Harrison throughout college at the University of Virginia, where he treated his friends and fellow fraternity brothers to his culinary creations.

 After graduating from UVA in 2005 with a degree in Western European foreign affairs, Harrison accepted an internship at British Parliament, where he spent the next year working as a research assistant and frequenting Borough Market, England’s oldest market, in his free time. Although working for Parliament was a valuable experience, Harrison departed Great Britain a year later with the realization that he was destined for a career outside of an office. 

 Upon returning to the States, Harrison enrolled in the French Culinary Institute to begin his path to becoming a chef. From there, he headed west to San Francisco where he accepted a job as a line cook at Mitch and Steven Rosenthall’s Town Hall restaurant. The chef at the time, Eric Markoff, introduced Harrison to Cajun/Creole cooking as well as the importance of using fresh, quality ingredients. 

 After a brief stint at The Culinary Edge, a San Francisco-based restaurant consulting firm, Harrison embarked on a one-month stage program at Heston Blumenthal’s three-Michelin starred Fat Duck in London.  After four years of being away from his family and friends in Virginia, Harrison returned home and accepted a job as a line cook at The Clifton Inn, working under Chef Dean Maupin, whom he considers his mentor. Chef Maupin encouraged Harrison to use his creativity and talents by allowing him to conceptualize dishes for the menu on a frequent basis.  It was there that he met his future fiancé, Jennifer Pendleton, who worked as his expeditor at the restaurant.

 It wasn’t until early 2010 that Harrison decided it was time to open his own restaurant.  With a business plan in place and timing on his side, a turnkey space in Charlottesville’s historic district became available and Harrison jumped on it.  He opened the charming 60-seat restaurant in July 2010 with Jennifer as co-owner and front-of house manager.  Cooking a menu that changes almost nightly, Harrison’s New American cuisine is inspired solely by what’s new and fresh at the markets. 

Chocolatier Tim Gearhart

The Chocolatier
Tim Gearhart was trained in pastry at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and has cobbled together a culinary career that has taken him from the Gulf War in Kuwait to a dude ranch in Wyoming to a castle in southern England with stops in fine-dining restaurants along the way. Tim started Gearharts in 2001 and lives with his family in Waynesboro, Virginia.

Chef Robin Shirley

Robin Shirley is a health enthusiast, entrepreneur and the founder of the International Health Coach Association LLC and the Take Back Your Health Conference. Her mission is to bring together people and health information in an inspirational atmosphere so that healthy lifestyles will spread like wildfire.

Robin started juicing vegetables and fruits with her mom when she was 12 years old and has since spent over 10 years on her own studying and experimenting with nutrition, herbs, movement and various alternative therapies. Robin has personally experienced the power of holistic nutrition and lifestyle adjustments on reducing pain and inflammation and increasing joy and pleasure, which is her inspiration to serve and support others with health challenges.

Robin is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and a member of the American Board of Drugless Practitioners. Her formal training was at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition through SUNY Purchase College. She is also a Reiki master practioner through Anam Cara Wellness. All of Robin’s classes are organic and gluten-free. Feel free to stop by her page to learn more!

Chef Ashley East

Ashley East found her passion for cooking at a young age. In 2001 she received her culinary certification from Cookery at the Grange in Somerset, England. After starting her catering business Dinner at Home in 2003 she continued to learn from other chefs while working at several local restaurants including the Clifton Inn.

Ashley’s mission remains rooted in preparing fresh, healthy cuisine for those who cherish excellent food and heartwarming company.  For a number of years Ashley has taught cooking classes for UVA’s  Club Red which is an organization that educates women on the importance of heart health.  Aside from cooking Ashley is an avid cyclist and loves the great outdoors.

Chef Ingrid Berger



Ingrid Berger, a graduate of New England Culinary Institute, is a personal chef, caterer & cooking teacher in Charlottesville.  For more information, visit

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