Congratulations are in order for Donnie Counts, Executive Chef of Harvest at Homestead Manor! Donnie was recently named Chef of the Year by the Greater Nashville Hospitality Association at its annual ‘Stars of the Industry’ awards luncheon, which recognized the best and brightest stars in the Nashville hospitality and tourism industries.
A native of the Mississippi Delta, Donnie brings more than 15 years of experience to his role at Harvest, the farm-to-table restaurant located inside the historic antebellum Homestead Manor. He creates a unique experience for the restaurants’ guests, drawing on culinary influences from the many different places he’s worked, including Tennessee, Kentucky, Colorado and South Carolina.
“I spent my childhood in the kitchen, watching my mother and grandmother create dishes that centered around the region’s native ingredients,” he said. “In everything I do, I want to bring that passion I saw at home to my guests’ table. Basically, I just get to use the building blocks I grew up on.”
Since those memories around the stove as a child, Donnie has overseen kitchens and trained under a number of acclaimed chefs — he even opened his own restaurant, a Spanish tapas concept in Mississippi.
Donnie has a longstanding history with A. Marshall Family Foods. He first started working with the hospitality group in 2014, when he served as executive chef at Gray’s on Main. He then moved to Harvest at Homestead Manor to serve as its kitchen manager and the liaison between the restaurant and Homestead’s on-staff organic farmers, before taking the position of Executive Chef of the brand’s seafood concept, Puckett’s Boat House, for a year.
Claire Crowell, chief operating officer for A. Marshall Foods, is excited to see Donnie back at Harvest.
“It’s been wonderful having Donnie at the helm of several of our concepts,” Claire said. “His passion, knowledge and creativity are huge assets to our brand and to our guests.”
A true team player, Donnie views his position as an opportunity to grow as both a chef and a teammate, and he credits the entire staff for providing a guest with a positive meal and experience.
Harvest at Homestead Manor recently rolled out a new menu, featuring creative, chef-inspired dishes such as root-beer-braised short rib and a grilled elk filet. One bite and you’ll see why Donnie was named Chef of the Year!
Harvest at Homestead is open Tuesday through Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m., Friday from 4 to 10 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Brunch is served on the weekends from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.