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Josh Rockstead

St. Louis, Missouri

Entering the restaurant industry as a dishwasher, Josh advanced his career with his total ownership mentality. What started out as a summer job during high school turned into a solid 20+ year career.

From the dish pit, Josh moved on to pantry before progressing to behind-the-line. Realizing that he was good at it, and finding himself enthusiastic about the restaurant environment, Josh moved to his next challenge. Wearing a number of hats all in one day kept Josh busy and open to new learning opportunities. Recalling a time in the early days — scheduled to bus tables, operate the fry station, and manage the dish pit all in one shift at a high-volume restaurant — Josh seized opportunities to develop and strengthen his character.

Constantly on the move early in life, Josh relocated with his family to Germany (twice), Texas, and Florida, leading him to feel “at home” shifting gears, and comfortable being uncomfortable from a young age.

After proving his ability to cook and work well with others, Josh was promoted to kitchen manager. In the space of a few years, Josh was offered the opportunity to round out his management experience as assistant general manager of a high-volume casual dining operation in Atlanta, Georgia, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Josh returned to Florida in 2010 as an executive chef before taking on the challenge of regional culinary manager overseeing the opening of new restaurants and helping multiple culinary teams across Florida improve their performance.

With high expectations for himself, and an unwavering cut-and-dried teaching approach, Josh has the reputation for never missing out on a coachable moment — and he is much admired and appreciated by his crew members of today as well as those from his past. Josh says that in essence, many former employees think he’s a tough manager — but ultimately, they carry his lessons with them and value his friendship.

Josh appreciates the level of creativeness he gets to bring to the table working with Chef Jim Shirley. He continues to enjoy the challenge of designing menus to work with the seasons, sourcing local ingredients, and weaving influences from his travels into the menu.

When he’s not working, Josh keeps busy around the house, spending time with his pets — both of them rescues.