Chef Scott Crawford serves a dual role at The Umstead Hotel and Spa, combining his love of the dining room with his allure in the kitchen by taking on the role of food and beverage director. The Pennsylvania native has made a name for himself in the South, cooking across most of the region, and blazing a trail of culinary prestige everywhere he’s worked, including his previous post at The Georgian Room at the Cloister Hotel in Sea Island, Georgia.
When Crawford cooks, critical acclaim follows: He first earned five stars from Mobil Travel Guide for his regional American cooking as executive chef of Woodlands Resort & Inn, the Relais & Chateaux property and Gourmand Dining Room located in Summerville, South Carolina, before being hired away in 2006 as executive chef of The Georgian Room. It was there that Crawford’s coastal Georgian cuisine earned five coveted stars from Mobil Travel Guide and critical praise including Esquire Magazine’s Best New Restaurant accolade. Since opening in 2007, The Umstead Hotel and Spa and Herons have received the prestigious Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Rating and AAA Five Diamond Award, in addition to recognition by Food & Wine, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and Southern Living. Crawford was named a James Beard Foundation Best Chef Southeast semifinalist in 2008 and 2011 and in June 2011, he was honored to cook at the James Beard House in New York City with Herons’ chef de cuisine Steven Devereaux Greene.
Formally trained, Crawford credits most of his culinary prowess to his role as stagiaire at restaurants in San Francisco, but most notably at the now-shuttered Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead in Atlanta, under then-Executive Chef Bruno Menard.
“I haven’t looked at food or cooking in the same way since,” says Crawford of his time with Menard. “After that, it all came together for me.”
Crawford and Greene take great pride is showcasing local farms such as Chapel Hill Creamery, Elodie Farm and Cane Creek Farm throughout the seasonal menus at The Umstead. Both chefs have planted the restaurant’s cuisine deeply in the concept of bringing the farm to the table. Crawford is dedicated to utilizing organic produce, farm-raised meats, and local dairy products and he incorporates his passion for them throughout The Umstead’s food and beverage program.