Nashville native Adam Close began his career in the restaurant industry as a line cook while working towards a degree in criminal justice from the University of Tennessee. It was fast-paced environment of the restaurant industry that attracted Close to the kitchen, and as he sharpened his skills, his passion for cooking emerged. After deciding to pursue the culinary field full-time, Close headed east to attend Johnson & Wales University in Charleston, S.C. During this time, he began a three-year position as a line cook at Magnolias, part of a family of restaurants owned and managed by Hospitality Management Group, Inc. that also includes Cypress and Blossom.
Close left Charleston in 2003 to train in the Atlanta kitchens of two of Buckhead Life Restaurant Group's top venues, the four-star, four-diamond flagship restaurant Pano's & Paul's, and the highly praised Italian venture, Veni, Vidi, Vici. Under Pano's & Paul's renowned chef Gary Donalick, Close's palate evolved and he developed his ability to highlight ingredients’ natural flavors by enhancing them with simple preparations and flavor profiles.
After three years in Atlanta, Close was drawn back to the Lowcountry by the burgeoning culinary community and its growing commitment to sustainable seafood and local harvests. As executive chef at Blossom, Close has the opportunity to focus on ingredients and delight diners at one of Charleston’s favorite restaurants.
Close escapes the heat of the kitchen by spending free time outside, where he enjoys hunting and fishing. He also unwinds with music and is an accomplished banjo player. As an avid NFL fan, Close loves cooking BBQ tailgate fare such as ribs, wings and whole pigs.
Mallory’s love of baking began as a child, when she would prepare homemade cakes for her family’s table. It didn’t take her long to realize this was something she wanted to pursue as a career.
After attending the Culinary Institute of Charleston where she earned a degree in Baking and Pastry and certifications in Food Service Management and Advanced Beverage Service Management, she worked for a family-owned bakery, Butter Blossom, preparing cupcakes and cookies before heading to the pastry department of HMGI’s Magnolias and Blossom.
The same excitement from her early days of baking has carried into her current philosophy on cooking: to always create with passion, care and effort. Like her mentor at HMGI, Andrea Upchurch, she hopes to carry the same playfulness in baking as one of the first chefs that inspired her, pastry chef and television personality, Duff Goldman.
When not whipping up pastries, Ellis is reading books, heading to a movie, or spending time in the sun and grass.