A native Texan, Wendell Price first learned basic culinary techniques at home from the recipes of his great, great, great grandmother—affectionately known as “Mama Lee.” In 1986, Wendell entered the Naval Academy, assigned to the SHLSS in Maryland. Sailing overseas as a maritime chef, Wendell experienced the world—savoring individual culinary experiences in every port. After four years at sea, Wendell settled in Los Angeles and quickly became the “chef of choice” for many of Hollywood’s elite—Elizabeth Taylor, Kevin Costner and Carl Lewis. One contact and private party led to another. It wasn’t long before Chef Wendell became an official restaurateur in LA, with the opening of Ya Mama’s Restaurant while juggling catering assignments for some of the most-watched TV shows of the 1990’s—The Jeff Foxworthy Show, The Martin Lawrence Show, and Living Single, Featuring Queen Latifah.
In 1996, Chef Wendell was named Executive Chef of Georgia, in one of LA’s chicest districts—Melrose Avenue. Owned by Norm Nixon and Denzel Washington, the restaurant’s concept was fine dining serving Southern American fare. Georgia quickly became the hot spot of Hollywood’s high society and celebs with the likes of John F. Kennedy, Darryl Hannah, Sharon Stone, Sydney Poitier, Vanessa Williams, and Magic Johnson regularly stopping by. Georgia was also applauded for its high level of customer service.
Setting his sights on other projects Chef Wendell introduced “the energetic taste of authentic American fusion and French/Soul cuisine within a fine-dining setting” to foodies in Houston with the opening of Café Noir/Café Soho; restaurant concepts co-owned and operated by Chef Wendell and Olympic Gold Medalist, Carl Lewis.
A true renegade, Chef Wendell pioneered the trend of fine dining restaurants in the historic Run-Down District on South Main in Memphis, TN. Beginning with Wendell’s World Beat Grill, Chef Wendell presented the area’s first high-end seafood restaurant serving the likes of Rev. Al Green, B. Smith, the late Johnny Cochran and Memphians seeking a new and fresh dining experience. Next, Chef Wendell launched Wendell’s 24-7, a creative comfort food concept at the nearby Artisan Hotel where he ran the property’s lobby restaurant and in-room dining. During his time in the Delta, Chef Wendell had the distinct honor of catering the opening of the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, AK. Providing mouthwatering recipes for over 5,000 invited guests and attendees, the event kicked off the “50th Anniversary of the Little Rock Nine,” commemorating one of the most pivotal moments of the American Civil Rights Movement.
Sought after for his passion for food and ability to deliver a taste like no other, Chef Wendell followed up his time in Memphis promoting brands such as Kingsford charcoal, Hidden Valley Ranch, Country Time Lemonade, Campbell’s Soup, Clorox, and Nascar working with A.U.R.N. radio, Walmart and Target stores. Well versed in catering high profile events, Chef Wendell was the resident chef of www.thebathclub.com in Miami Beach where he catered events for Miami Fashion Week, Cynthia Bailey of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, and International Recording Artist Carlos Santana. Built in 1926, The Bath Club is one of the most storied leisure clubs in South Florida. In addition, Chef Wendell was the featured chef for Art Basel in Miami Beach for 2012 and 2013, sponsored by Grey Goose Vodka, working with Academy Award Nominated film producer and director Lee Daniels and world renowned Grammy Award winning music artist Lenny
Chef Wendell Price brings his flavorful repertoire of recipes with local ingredients to his newest concept, Rustic Oak Gastro Pub and Wine Bar (www.RusticOakWineBar.com). “Rustic chic” with a French inspired menu of comfort foods offered from a renovated Montrose bungalow, Price says he prayed for a unique spot instead of a strip center. “I’ve taken everything I’ve done for 30 years and pushed it into this building.” And it shows—flavorful fare served from a space decorated with vintage chandeliers, antique furniture, doors and fixtures. Currently serving weekend brunch, with lunch and dinner coming soon, Rustic Oak offers the Chef’s popular interactive cooking classes, private dining, and wine tastings. The menu is prepared with the freshest ingredients—organic and locally grown when possible, because Chef Wendell says, “supporting the local farmer is important to us too.”
Chef Wendell Price draws from more than thirty years of national and international experience as an Executive Chef consistently exceeding expectations with his creative, innovative and flavorful cuisine.