A Kentucky native, Executive Chef Stephen began his culinary career at one of the best restaurants in Mississippi, City Grocery, working with Chef John Currence in Oxford.
He next moved to Miami, where he spent four years honing his craft under Chef Norman Van Aken at his eponymous restaurant, Norman’s. Van Aken subsequently brought on Barber as the opening chef de cuisine for Bambu restaurant, where he was discovered by MECCA’s owner, who successfully recruited Chef Stephen to the San Francisco Bay Area.
Building on his Southern roots, Stephen brings his own ingredient-driven approach to Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch‘s American farmhouse cooking which utilizes the organic produce, grass-fed beef, eggs, and olive oils from Long Meadow Ranch and other local artisanal producers. He inventively creates fresh seasonal dishes which let the ingredients shine.
Stephen also brings his expertise in live fire cooking and smoking meats. To help Stephen showcase these talents, Farmstead now has a dedicated area for outdoor live fire cooking and a locomotive-sized, custom-built smoker.
Chef Stephen was most recently chef of Fish Story restaurant in Napa, which is owned by Chef Bradley Ogden’s Lark Creek Restaurant Group. Previously, he was executive chef of MECCA in San Francisco where he received three stars from Michael Bauer of the San Francisco Chronicle and was named a 2004 “Rising Star Chef.”
In 2007, Stephen opened BarbersQ in Napa, which also received three stars from the San Francisco Chronicle, was featured on the “Top 10 Best New Restaurants 2007” and “Top 100 Restaurants” lists by Mr. Bauer, and was named a Michelin Guide “Bib Gourmand.”