Jason Stanhope won a James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southeast in 2015 | file photo

FIG Executive Chef Jason Stanhope is stepping away from the award-winning restaurant after 15 years, according to a late Thursday press release.

Throughout his tenure, Stanhope has consistently demonstrated unwavering dedication, exceptional work ethic and an unparalleled commitment to excellence,” according to a statement from the restaurant. “His innovative ideas, diligent efforts and strong leadership have left an indelible mark on our organization, fostering a culture of growth and achievement.”

FIG co-owner and founding Chef Mike Lata, a James Beard Award-winner like Stanhope, spoke warmly about his departing colleague. 

“I could not be more proud of Jason and all of his accomplishments — both personally and professionally,” he said. “He has embraced our company values and culinary sensibilities, all the while pushing them forward. 

“His passion, integrity, and talent have not only elevated our team but also set a shining example for others to follow.”

Lata and FIG (Food is Good) manager Adam Nemirow opened the restaurant in 2003 as a neighborhood bistro at the corner of Meeting and Hasell streets. The restaurant is known for its use of local purveyors, seasonally sourced ingredients and attention to detail with every aspect of the dining experience.

Through the years, FIG has received three James Beard Awards, with Lata winning Best Chef: Southeast in 2009.  Six years later, Stanhope received the same award, just a year after being named executive chef.  The restaurant also received a coveted Beard award in 2018 for its  wine program. 

While Stanhope hasn’t yet released any statement or information, FIG’s culinary leadership will remain under Lata and the current chef de cuisine, Jillian Schaffer.

“We have an incredible culinary team in place and we will embrace this opportunity to mentor the next generation of leaders,” Lata said. “I have always preached to my cooks that change is necessary for growth and I’m excited for the next chapter at FIG.” 

Stanhope has been active in local and nationwide food events, such as Charleston Wine + Food, the Home Team BBQ Block Party and pop-up events. He is slated to participate in this year’s Southern Smoke Festival in Houston, Texas, where proceeds go to support food and beverage workers in crisis nationwide through emergency relief funding. 

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