Named one of the 50 best chefs in New York City in 2014, by FOOD & WINE magazine, Sarah Simmons is the CEO of CITY GRIT Hospitality Group, the founder of CITY GRIT Culinary Salon and Executive Chef/Owner of Birds & Bubbles, a full-service restaurant in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

Raised in the Carolinas, Sarah spent much of her childhood learning fundamental kitchen skills from her mother. She moved to New York City in 2004, where she worked as a retail strategist for Fortune 100 companies, but her love for food never strayed. As she traveled the globe eating at world-renowned restaurants and sampling an endless number of new flavors, she dreamed of new dishes. Between trips she sought to bring these dishes to life by preparing travel-inspired meals for friends and family in her apartment.

In 2010, she was named “America’s Home Cook Superstar” by FOOD & WINE magazine as part of its search for the nation’s best home cook. This recognition inspired her to leave the corporate world to pursue cooking full-time and focus on bringing the CITY GRIT concept to market.

Since opening CITY GRIT in September 2011, Sarah has been recognized as an influencer and tastemaker in the industry and acknowledged for both her culinary and business talent. In 2012, she was once again recognized by Food & Wine magazine as one of “America’s Best New Cooks” alongside nine other chefs including Mike Solomonov and Alex Stupak.

In 2013, she was recognized by the Charleston Wine + Food Festival as a “New & Notable” chef, and was named one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business” by Fast Company magazine, which called her “the chef cooking up the most exciting dining experience in New York.”

CITY GRIT continues to be recognized as “One of the Most Innovative Restaurants in the Country” (Zagat in 2014) and Sarah’s first full-service concept, Birds & Bubbles, opened last year earning her numerous accolades including three stars from Time Out NY and two stars from Adam Platt, New York Magazine’s extremely discerning food critic.

In October of 2015, Simmons will return to her Carolina roots to open her first concept in Columbia, SC. Partnering with a fellow Columbia native, Chef Charley Scruggs, formerly the pastry chef at The Oak Table, the two chefs are opening Rise Gourmet Goods & Bakeshop, a “southern boulangerie” serving artisanal breads, pastries, sweets, and gourmet goods in Columbia’s Five Points Neighborhood.