Growing up in Winter Haven, Florida, Chad Clevenger developed an early and permanent taste for Mexican cuisine. So after graduating from the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin, Clevenger headed west, to the Coyote Café in Santa Fe, where he was responsible for menu development and purchasing at the Southwestern restaurant, spending three years working with acclaimed Chef Mark Miller. During this time, he also had the opportunity to work alongside such famed chefs as 2012 Austin Rising Star Rene Ortiz, Jesse Perez, Rick Bayless, and Tim Love.
Taking his westerly education up north a bit, Clevenger headed to Denver, Colorado, where he became the chef-owner of Mel’s Bar & Grill. Clevenger might have been new to the area, but he was warmly embraced. It wasn’t long before his restaurant was being lauded by diners and local press alike, receiving such awards as “Best American Restaurant in Denver,” “Top Tamale,” and “Top 10 Fine Dining Restaurants in Denver.” While in Denver, Clevenger also started The Porker Street Food Cart, a gourmet street food cart featuring global pork dishes. At the helm of Porker, Clevenger became known as “the swine sultan,” and was recognized for “Street Food Chef of the Year” and “Best Street Food” by Denver Magazine.
With this porcine commendation and his strong background in Mexican and Southwestern cuisine, Clevenger was a natural fit for the Latin flavors and spirited atmosphere of Atlanta’s Alma Cocina. Now at the helm of Alma, Clevenger combines years of culinary experience in both fine dining and high-volume casual dining with a proven track record for developing new menu ideas. The result is seasonality and modern methods infused into the roots of Latin cuisine.