Meet Kyle Wilkerson, a culinary virtuoso whose roots in the vibrant culinary landscape of Durham, NC, have shaped his journey into the heart of southern-inspired cuisine. Born and raised in Durham, Chef Wilkerson’s culinary passion was cultivated in the kitchens of his mom, Mema, Nannie, and Poppa Paul, laying the foundation for his love of farm-to-table cooking.
Fueling his ambition, Kyle pursued formal culinary education at Wake Technical Community College, graduating in 2007. This marked the beginning of a remarkable culinary career that unfolded across various esteemed kitchens, showcasing his dedication to honing his craft and learning from some of the Piedmont region’s finest chefs.
From the distinguished Washington Duke Inn to the role of Chef de Cuisine at Watts Grocery, Chef Kyle navigated high-end kitchens, consistently refining his skills. However, it was at Durham’s acclaimed Four Square Restaurant where he achieved significant recognition as the Sous Chef. This period not only solidified his expertise but also earned him a reputation for excellence in the culinary scene.
Beyond the confines of the kitchen, Chef Kyle dedicated years to developing recipes and contributing to food photography for renowned publications and brands such as Edible Piedmont magazine, Williams-Sonoma, House-Autry, and Tenda-Bake. His multifaceted approach to the culinary arts showcased his versatility and creativity in both the culinary and visual realms.
Harnessing the wealth of knowledge gained from his experiences, Chef Kyle took a bold leap into entrepreneurship, establishing Heirloom: A Poppa Paul Kitchen, located in Uptown Roxboro, NC. As co-owner and executive chef, he pioneered a farm-to-table concept that resonated with local food enthusiasts. For approximately two years, Heirloom stood as a testament to Chef Kyle’s commitment to fresh, locally sourced ingredients and innovative culinary techniques.
While Heirloom has completed its chapter, Chef Kyle’s journey continues to evolve. Currently serving as the Program Head for Vance Granville Community College’s Culinary Arts Department, he brings his extensive expertise into the classroom, shaping the next generation of culinary talents. Simultaneously, Chef Kyle operates his own catering company, ensuring he remains at the forefront of the ever-changing culinary landscape.
Outside the kitchen, Chef Kyle finds joy in family moments, watching his son, Carter, excel in baseball, and exploring the picturesque Southport, NC, alongside his fiancée, Chelsae. As a culinary visionary, educator, and entrepreneur, Chef Kyle Wilkerson’s story embodies the richness of southern flavors, a commitment to culinary excellence, and an enduring passion for sharing his love of food with the world.