Secret Island is excited to announce the introduction of our first chef ambassadors. We’ll be working with these talented chefs to showcase our world-class salmon through recipes, social media, and more. Providing sustainable and fresh seafood is our goal, so we’re happy to partner with these world-class culinary experts.
Learn more about the amazing chefs working with Secret Island!
Chef Ashleigh Shanti
Ashleigh Shanti is Chef based in Asheville, NC. Ashleigh’s cuisine pays homage to the rich African-American culinary traditions that once thrived in Southern Appalachia—as well as honoring her own history as a Southern, African-American woman. Ashleigh was a 2020 finalist for the James “Rising Star Chef of the Year” award during her tenure as chef de cuisine at John Fleer’s celebrated establishment, Benne on Eagle Restaurant.
Born in St. Mary’s, GA, and raised in Virginia Beach, VA, Ashleigh’s heritage has roots across the Southeast. After earning her 4-year degree in Business Marketing then completing Baltimore International College’s Culinary Arts Program in 2013, Ashleigh embarked upon a variety of culinary experiences, including a stint teaching fermentation classes at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans, a wine director/sous chef position in West Texas and over 10 stages at notable establishments like Jose Andres’ miniBar in Washington, DC, Longoven in Richmond, VA, Ian Boden’s The Shack in Staunton, VA, and McCrady’s in Charleston, SC
While each of her kitchen experiences helped hone her technical expertise, Ashleigh struggled to find a cuisine that resonated with her on a personal level. It was this longing that beckoned Ashleigh to Asheville in 2018. Here, Ashleigh has found her culinary identity in a kitchen where her food is both meaningful to her and honors her heritage. Currently, she can be found slinging fried fish for her fish fry pop-up, Good Hot Fish.
In her spare time outside of the kitchen, Ashleigh’s culinary explorations continue. She is often found foraging for wild foods or exploring the process of fermentation. She also enjoys birding and hiking the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains with her partner and Vizsla.
Chefs Janine Booth and Jeff McInnis
Even though the two were born on completely separate sides of the earth, Chefs Janine Booth and Jeff McInnis were destined to find one another and create magical restaurant experiences. They both have such different approaches to the culinary industry which has made them the power couple and creative restaurateurs that they are today.
Chef Janine Booth was raised in Australia and prior to partnering with Jeff worked with James Beard-nominated chefs and traveled extensively through Europe & Asia, exploring and gaining incredible knowledge on international flavors. Janine enrolled in Culinary school in Miami where she worked at many prestigious restaurants including Khong River House, Gigi’s, and Yardbird.
Chef Jeff McInnis was born in a small southern fishing town in FL. Jeff lived and worked in multiple US cities for decades like Charleston, SC, Charlottesville, VA, The Virgin Islands, and San Francisco, CA before moving to Miami where he assisted in operating upscale restaurants for The Ritz Carlton South Beach. Settling down in Miami, Jeff opened a couple of upscale restaurants as chef-partner and landed himself a number of James Beard Nominations including “Best Chef South nomination” while owning and operating Yardbird Southern Table & Bar. After creating and building numerous successful restaurants for others Jeff decided to move to New York and take a stab at the big apple with his new partner Janine.
Chefs J&J worked together on and off for years but it wasn’t until 2014 that they decided to join forces and made their first investment opening Root & Bone New York where they still operate their award-winning flagship today.
In 2016, Jeff and Janine moved back to Miami and split their time living between NYC and Miami. Expanding their brand and developing new ones, the power couple continues to open fun and unique concepts including Roots Coastal Kitchen in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, Stiltsville Fish Bar in South Beach Miami, Mi’Talia Kitchen & Bar in South Miami, Root & Bone in South Miami, Manhattan & Indianapolis.
Through all the day-to-day grind of building and managing their restaurants, the power couple still finds time to do national television appearances such as countless Today show appearances on NBC, The Chew on CBS & The Dish on CBS. Both J&J competed on the Emmy award-winning show Top Chef where Jeff cooked into the ending finale and Janine made a huge showing in Last Chance Kitchen winning 7 consecutive battles. Janine was also recently acknowledged for a James Beard nomination as Rising Star Chef.
While Jeff and Janine are proud of their restaurants and business accomplishments they’re most proud of their love for one another and the family they’ve built over the years. They have three beautiful daughters Daisy, Bryce & Sunny McInnis who are by far their best recipe yet.
Chef Jose Garces
Iron Chef, father, husband, James Beard Award-winner, entrepreneur, and food innovator, Chef Jose Garces is known as a leading culinary authority of Spanish and Latin-American food.
From the Spanish tapas at Amada, his first restaurant, to the exciting flavors of Mexico City at Distrito, Chef Garces continually pushes the boundaries of culinary excellence.
While he maintains his successful career owning and operating full-service restaurants, Chef Garces is also looking toward the future, with an increased focus on bringing restaurant-quality experiences to the homes and businesses of culinary enthusiasts in new and interesting ways. From enhanced home delivery options and virtual online cooking demos, to live online cooking classes, Chef Garces is excited to connect with both fans of his work on television, as well as the home cook who’d like to experience “chef life” in their own kitchen.
As a child of immigrants and a leader in the diverse and inclusive hospitality industry, the wellbeing of his community in Philadelphia has always been dear to Chef Garces’ heart. To help provide ongoing and actionable assistance to the immigrant community, Chef Garces co-founded The Garces Foundation in 2011. The Garces Foundation provides services, including community health days, English language skills classes that target the restaurant industry, and most recently, an increased focus on procuring and providing food supplies to the food insecure.
Chef Garces is the author of two cookbooks, Latin Evolution and The Latin Road Home, published by Lake Isle Press.
Want to Partner with Us?
We’re always looking for amazing Chef Ambassadors to partner with. If you’re interested, send us a note!