RJ Cooper

Executive Chef & Owner, Saint Stephen

Renowned chef and James Beard Award-winner RJ Cooper brings a taste of New York City to Nashville with his newest concept, Saint Stephen. Merging gastronomic cuisine and casual Brooklyn bar fare in the heart of the city’s Germantown neighborhood, Cooper demonstrate his passion for modernized American cooking and the sophisticated culinary techniques he has spent decades perfecting.

A Detroit native, Cooper’s impressive career includes working under some of the nation’s most prominent chefs such as Gunter Seeger at The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton and Eric Ripert at Le Bernardin in New York City. Cooper made his own stamp in the food scene as chef de cuisine at Vidalia in Washington, D.C., where he was named Best Chef Mid-Atlantic by the James Beard Foundation in 2007. 

He later launched his own restaurant, Rogue 24, offering nightly 24-course tasting menus where a succession of small plates stimulated the diner, excited the palate, and challenged the culinary status quo. Cooper also opened Gypsy Soul in 2013 in Fairfax, VA, which had an interactive farm-to-table approach. 

Choosing to now call Nashville home, Cooper’s Saint Stephen restaurant – which derives its moniker from a Grateful Dead song title – delights guests with rock n’ roll vibes and an elevated, yet approachable, dining experience.