Joe Randall has been a veteran of the hospitality and food service industry for more than fifty three years. The depth and range of his experience and his dedication to professional excellence, have earned him the respect of professional chefs as well as restaurant managers and owners.
He is noted for his capacity to teach, guide and advise others in the practical aspects of food quality and profitable food-service operations. Randall has worked his way up through the ranks from Air Force flight line kitchens to executive chef post at a dozen restaurants, including the award-winning Cloister Restaurant in Buffalo, New York and Baltimore’s Fishmarket in Maryland.
He has owned and managed a catering firm and provided consultant services to restaurant operators. His broad experience, coupled with a talent and enthusiasm for helping others learn the craft and systems of restaurant excellence, resulted in his serving on the faculty of four schools. In the late 1990s he adopted his signature Kente cloth from Ghana, adding the hand-woven cloth to his uniform as a show of his pride as an “African-American chef,” Randall said.
The magic of Savannah and the city’s love for good southern cooking lured Chef Randall to Georgia. Known by many as the Dean of Southern Cuisine, Chef Joe Randall has been cookin’ up fine southern dishes in Savannah since 1999. Randall founded the Chef Joe Randall’s Cooking School in 2000. He demonstrated basic southern cooking techniques and shared his favorite cooking tips with clients from around the world. His unique style exemplified authentic southern cuisine.
Using food from the South, the Low Country and Georgia’s Atlantic Coast, it didn’t get any better than Joe’s mouth-watering Sea Island Smothered Shrimp and Stone-Ground Grits, or a steaming pot of Savannah Red Rice. He taught two generations of “food enthusiast and cooks” during his 16 years at Chef Joe Randall’s Cooking School at 5409 Waters Ave. Now 70, Randall said he plans to retire at year’s end — or at least say goodbye to the cooking school and start a new venture at the same location.
Randall’s expertise in southern cuisine is held in such high esteem that he was honored and featured in the Culture Expressions Gallery of the newly opened Smithsonian Institute of National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., along with chefs Edna Lewis, Patrick Clark, Leah Chase and Hercules, George Washington’s enslaved cook. Randall’s cookbook, “A Taste of Heritage: the New African-American Cuisine” and his 40-year-old colander will be on permanent display there.
Chef Randall’s professional affiliations have included the American Culinary Federation, and the American Academy of Chefs. He is a Founding Board Member of the Southern Food Alliance and the chair of The Edna Lewis Foundation.
A good friend of the late Edna Lewis, the “Grand Dame of Southern Cooking,” Randall’s mission as chairman of the Edna Lewis Foundation is to fulfill her dream to preserve older cooking recipes and protect Southern cuisine and its heritage in black kitchens. His other professional affiliations have included the American Culinary Federation and the American Academy of Chefs.