Mashama Bailey is the executive chef and a partner in The Grey, a new restaurant located in a landmarked 1938 Greyhound Bus Terminal in Savannah, Georgia, where she serves her personal take on southern cooking that's at once approachable and modern. Since opening in December 2014, The Grey has earned a number of accolades, including being named one of Food & Wine's Restaurants of The Year, one of Eater's 21 Best New Restaurants in America, and a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation's 2015 Best New Restaurant award, thanks in large part to Mashama's flavorful dishes that highlight local and seasonal ingredients. Mashama was born in the Bronx and raised in Queens. Her maternal roots are in Georgia, and as a result Mashama attended grammar school in Savannah and spent many summers at her grandmother's in Waynesboro. Mashama learned to cook at the hands of the women in her family: her grandmothers, aunts and her mom. To round out her real-world education, she attended the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, has studied in France and traveled far and wide for food. She spent more than a decade cooking at restaurants throughout New York City, most recently working for four years at Prune on Manhattan's Lower East Side under the tutelage of Gabrielle Hamilton. Mashama surrounds herself with family, friends and food and is a firm believer in the old adage that you learn something new every day

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What is your earliest memory involving food or wine?
one summer traveling from NYC to Waynesboro Georgia my family stopped at a friends house along the way. They sat me down at the kitchen table and gave me a big slice of red velvet cake. I remember the color, size and taste of that cake like it was yesterday. I think I was four years old.

If you've participated in the Festival before, what is your favorite SOBEWFF memory to date?
No I have not

If this is your first year participating in SOBEWFF, what are you most looking forward to?
I'm looking forward to meeting other chefs. I don't think any chefs know who I am.

If you could cook with anyone in the world, who would it be?
Alice Waters hands down! I have admired here cooking my entire career.

I never leave home without my:
pen and notebook. you never know what will inspire you