Culinary Entrepreneurs – Matthew Raiford and Jovan Sage

Dec 16 2015

by Whitney Long

Count me lucky because the talented Jovan Sage and Matthew Raiford recently opened their exquisite restaurant, The Farmer and The Larder, in nearby historic downtown Brunswick, Georgia. After hearing so many great reviews and recommendations from friends, I went and now it’s official… I am hooked!   They give a whole new meaning to healthy eating and farm-to-table as many of the ingredients come from Matthew’s nearby family farm, Gilliard Farms, which has been in his family since 1874. Many of the ingredients stocking the shelves and pantries at the F&L are sourced directly from the family farm, with Matthew and Jovan not only collecting the goods, but also prepping and cooking the ingredients for many of the dishes appearing on their menus.

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Drawing from their impressive and extensive backgrounds in the culinary world, Matthew (a CheFarmer – chef + farmer) and Jovan (a Food Alchemist) opened the doors to The Farmer & The Larder just this summer. Since that time, they have made quite an impression with their commitment to promote healthy and sustainable living. Offerings include a delicious seed-to-table lunch and dinner menu, grab-and-go lunches, and an ever-changing, creative weekend brunch. In addition, they also offer a uniquely curated selection of the finest products and cookware from farmers, artisans and purveyors.  A special treat are the hands-on educational classes for wholesome home cooking. With a variety of interesting topics such as In a Quick Pickle or Tea, Tinctures and Tonics: Using Culinary Herbs Beyond the Pot, these fun events offer the novice chef a unique, small group, hands-on learning experience.

These creative, culinary entrepreneurs were kind enough to offer a glimpse into their lives…



 Jovan Sage

Jovan Sage

First food memory:

As a little kid working in my grandfather’s shop at the City Market, in my hometown of Kansas City, Missouri, I got to explore the different food stalls, food trucks and farmers stands. I got to touch, see and taste food from all over the world and from our local farms. It was there that I discovered the intoxicating allure of international spices – curries, fenugreek, cumin, paprika, peppers, ginger & turmeric. This foundation has shaped my palate and spice cabinet.

Five ingredients always in your pantry:

salt-packed capers, dried herbs from the garden, collection of preserves/jams, kosher salt & local honey

Five ingredients always in your fridge:

homemade harissa paste, farm fresh chicken & duck eggs, fermented veggies (including sauerkraut), garlic, white & sparkling wine


What are some of your go-to items you like to serve at a cocktail party?

Sparkling anything: prosecco, cava, champagne paired with a bitter infused sugar cube. Cocktails that incorporate bitters, jams and syrups that I’ve made – everything from a gin & plum jam cocktail to a coffee bourbon cocktail with berber spiced bitters.

What would you want for your last meal?

For my last meal I would love to have all of my comfort foods: garlic naan and paneer tikka masala, lamb ragout with fresh casarecce, aged goat cheese with warm crusty bread, peach cobbler & fresh coffee with cream


Three invites for your dream guest dinner party and why?

I would love to have a dinner party with Alice Waters, Julia Childs & Gabrielle Hamilton — it would be great to have a working dinner party with a few bottles of wine and farm fresh produce and meat. To hear the stories of women building their craft in the kitchen as we craft our courses sounds delicious.


Career if you not a chef?

I love to play with my food and fight for a fairer world – the other hat that I wear is as a food and farming advocate in the nonprofit world.

Do you have a favorite Southern dish that is always better “old school” rather than updated or “improved?”

I can never forget my grandma’s peach cobbler or my granny’s deviled eggs — those are two dishes that have left a delicious taste memory that will never let go.


Five Favorites: 

Cocktail – Negroni

Cookbook – The Art of Simple Food – Alice Waters

Kitchen Gadget –  Chemex Coffeemaker – it’s good for making fabulous coffee, filtering tinctures and straining homemade cheese

Musician to listen to in the kitchen – Alice Smith

 Culinary destination and why – I loved my time living and eating in NYC. From the halal food carts, once in a lifetime pop up restaurants, International cuisine and my favorite cozy Brooklyn haunts, I can’t wait to get back there to eat (once spring has returned).


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Matthew Raiford

First food memory:

My first food memory is eating apple turnovers that my dad made for breakfast.   When I was kid, he was a baker.


Five ingredients always in the pantry:

sea salt, peppercorn, pasta, sugar, self-rising flour

Five ingredients always in the fridge:

eggs, bacon, leafy greens, tomatoes, bottle of wine


Go-to for cocktail parties:

I love making charcuterie boards and quick pickling any vegetables with a little curry

What would want to eat for your last meal?

I would like my last meal served in courses that would resemble my day so for a starter I would like a light frittata with seasonal vegetables and goat cheese, second pimento pepper, tomato and bacon Sandwich with marinara dip, third course I would like a Bison Elk Burger with carmalized Vidalia onion and lion mane mushrooms served with a Malbec to rinse it all down, my fourth course would be a Key Lime Ice Cream sandwich made with chocolate wafers.

Three invites for your dream guest dinner party and why?

Edna Lewis, the original Chef and Farmer, Julia Childs because I always wanted to make Coq au Vin with her, and Patrick Clark to talk about his days at the Russian Tea Room.


Do you have a favorite Southern dish that is always better “old school” rather than updated or “improved?”

My Nana’s Sweet Potato Pie is the best old school with that thin layer of caramelized sugar on top.

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Five Favorites:

Cocktail – Negroni

 Cookbook – currently reading through Conscious Cuisine

 Kitchen Gadget – Vita Mix

Musician to listen to in the kitchen – currently The Weekend is on my favorites in MixCloud & Spotify

Favorite Culinary Destination – Turin, Italy  and Salone Del Gusto and Terra Madre most amazing gathering of good food people and food artisans.

(photos provided by F&L and The Brunswick News)



Whitney Long View More Blog Posts from this Author

Whitney Long is co-founder of The Southern C and The Southern C Summit. Mama x 4, wife x 1. Entrepreneur, thinker, doer, writer, researcher, believer. Enjoys working alongside creative entrepreneurs to build community while supporting established and upcoming brands. Hobbies include travel, reading, bike rides and clever craft cocktails.

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