Gulf-coast born and raised Gary “JR” Grady, Jr. knew from an early age he wanted to be chef. As a youngster, JR spent time in his family’s Alabama kitchens learning secret recipes passed down from generation to generation in the Grady clan. Starting at the age of 17, JR traveled up and down the Gulf Coast, working in various kitchens and picking up many tricks of the trade. Midway through his college experience at Auburn University, JR furthered his commitment to cooking and transferred to Johnson & Wales University in Charleston, South Carolina. After graduation he spent time in several high profile kitchens, including “Riverhouse” located uptown in New Orleans, and “Hanks Seafood” in Charleston, SC (voted one of the best seafood restaurants in the country). JR also enjoyed preparing meals for the rich and famous (singer Lionel Richie, President Bill Clinton, Alabama Governor Don Singleman, actors Cuba Gooding, Jr., Whoopie Goldberg, Sally Field, and Jack Lemon all complimented his culinary talent).

One day, while busy over a hot cook top in Hanks Seafood, JR gave the dining room a glance and love entered his life. Former Cleveland native, Kate Evans, caught his eye and romance ensued. When Kate decided to move back to Cleveland Heights, JR made the journey north.

Upon arriving on the North Coast, JR enjoyed the position of Executive Chef at Pizzazz Pizza and Speakeasy. But after two years, he was anxious to get back to his heritage and sought out an opportunity that seemed preordained. The Louisiana-Creole and Southern cuisine at Fat Fish Blue provided a great stage for his self described “born and raised die-hard-true-southerner” sensibilities. He jumped in immediately to fine tune the existing Fat Fish Blue menu, and added his cherished family recipes more in keeping with traditional southern and Louisiana-Creole cuisine. A natural born showman, JR is often seen on local tv as well as the dining room at Fat Fish Blue, talking about recipes, making friends and acting as Good Will Ambassador for Fat Fish Blue.

Expansion is on the horizon for Fat Fish Blue, and JR will most likely have a full plate overseeing three kitchens in the next year. We’re glad Kate brought him with her. We’re proud he is our Executive Chef.