Josh Habiger entered the food industry at the early age of 15 years old, working as a dishwasher in a small diner in his home state of Minnesota. His creativity, imagination and tenacity to develop a well-rounded culinary skill-set have since landed him in some of the best kitchens in the world.
In early 2002, Habiger traveled to Europe to spend time in kitchens abroad, where staged at Heston Blumenthal’s two Michelin-starred Fat Duck restaurant in London, where he saw firsthand what it takes to operate such a prestigious institution. By the end of 2002, Habiger continued his culinary career at James Beard award-winning CRAFT restaurant in New York as the chef de partie and later joining the opening team for Grant Achatz’s three-Michelin star Alinea Restaurant in Chicago. On three separate occasions, in 2004, 2006 and 2008, he spent summers as a deck hand on a salmon fishing boat in Kodiak, Alaska.
In 2008, Habiger returned to the Midwest and joined the opening team at Hotel Ivy’s Porter & Frye, a Minneapolis-based restaurant that quickly set the standards for restaurants in the Midwest for its trendy, contemporary American fare. Habiger’s interest in front of house operations and beverage programs took him out of the kitchen and to Nashville, Tenn., to plan, train, and open The Patterson House with Alchemy Consulting and Strategic Hospitality. The Catbird Seat, another venture in Nashville by Strategic Hospitality, followed suit in 2011 as an opportunity for Habiger to display his culinary expertise and passion for his creations.
Habiger was asked to join the Strategic Hospitality team as Culinary Director in 2013. His first task was to build and orchestrate the menu at Pinewood Social, an innovative third space venue that offers Americana cuisine. Heavily influenced by menus found during Habiger’s research in the archives of the New York Public Library, the breakfast, lunch, and dinner options at Pinewood Social offers diners a true taste of classic Americana as interpreted by Habiger. As Culinary Director at Strategic Hospitality, he is sure to continue his rise as a member of the who’s who in the culinary world.