Originally hailing from Cleveland, TN, Trevor Higgins’ love of food began early—much of his childhood was spent in his grandparent’s garden where he gained a respect for local ingredients pulled straight out of the ground. In high school, he began working in restaurants and never looked back, going on to study his craft at Johnson and Wales in Charleston, SC. Upon graduation, Higgins immersed himself in the fast-paced work of restaurant kitchens which served as a crash course for the young chef. After a brief stint in Asheville, NC, Higgins accepted a position at The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island in Charleston and quickly worked his way up to Chef de Cuisine.
Fascinated by other cultures and motivated by a desire to see the world, Higgins packed his bags and moved across the globe to Italy to learn from some of the best in the world. He settled in the town of Reggio nell’Emilia, and worked under Chef Enzo Bertolini at Café Arti. Higgins considers that experience—and seeing people brought together by food halfway around the world—one of the most valuable experiences of his life. He returned to Charleston armed with new skills and a fresh perspective where he teamed up with Chef Matthew Neissner to open Blend downtown.
Higgins later went to work as sous chef under Chef Jeff Robinson at the Charleston Marriott, a JHM Hospitality property. After a successful four-year tenure, JHM tapped him to open an exciting new project in Greenville, SC called Roost. As executive chef, Higgins is thrilled to bring his Southern sensibilities to Roost, where he will serve up such dishes as Crab and Tarragon Funnel Cake with honey and bacon powder; Sous Vide Country Pork with chocolate bbq; and Carbonara with lima beans, pea meal bacon and 64 degree egg.
When he’s not in the kitchen, Higgins spends his free time hiking with his dog, reading, traveling, and working on new recipes at home.
Aaron Franklin was born in Decatur, Georgia and raised in Greenville, South Carolina. At age 18, Aaron joined the Army where he served for 12 years, including four combat tours, three of those in Iraq, and one in Afghanistan. After tasting some of the worst foods in the world during his tour of service, Aaron decided that he wanted to learn to cook, and went on to create favorite dishes for others to enjoy.
Aaron studied his craft at Greenville Technical College for Culinary Arts, and landed his first cooking job in the kitchen at the Bohemian Café, a place he would call home for three years. At the end of his third year, Aaron learned of his deployment to Afghanistan.
Shortly after Aaron returned, he took a job at The Nose Dive where he began as a line cook and was quickly promoted to Sous Chef. After two and a half years of perfecting his craft at Nose Dive, the doors opened for Aaron to become Sous Chef at Roost Restaurant.
Aaron loves to cook with bold flavors, especially Indian and Thai curries. He and his fiancé love to travel and taste all types of food wherever they go. He also enjoys riding his motorcycle when he’s not cooking up his next delicious kitchen creation.
Born and raised in Spartanburg, SC, Roost Sous Chef Joey Pearson discovered his love for cooking at age 14. It started when Joey’s father, a fire department captain, would invite him along to help cook dinner for the employees of the fire station, and he’s been cooking ever since.
Joey graduated Summa Cum Laude from the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson and Whales University Charlotte campus. After graduation, he moved back to the Greenville area and landed his first job as Sous Chef at Soby’s Restaurant. Upon the opening of a new restaurant in town, Nose Dive, Chef Pearson was transferred and earned the title of Opening Chef.
Pearson says one of his favorite dishes to cook is Menudo, a traditional Mexican beef tripe soup. He says that taking an ingredient such as tripe and turning it into a beautiful and delicious dish really shows the romance of cooking.
In February 2013, he was selected as Restaurant Manager of the Year by the South Carolina Hospitality and Lodging Association. He has a passion for American craft beer and enjoys spending time with his wife, Betsy, and three kids. Chef also enjoys reading and cooking–yes, even when he is not at work!
Born in New York City and raised in Miami, Florida, Carey Lapidus has long been exposed to world class cuisine and customer service. From an early age he helped his mom run a small catering business out of their station wagon, and there his interest in hospitality was born. After studying Travel and Tourism at the University of Florida, a temp agency placed him at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, the beginning of what would be a long and fruitful relationship between Lapidus and Disney. Beginning as an hourly employee, his hard work and genuine passion for excellent guest service was apparent, and he quickly climbed the ranks.
Over the next 10 years, Lapidus managed various food and beverage operations for Disney including quick service, character-themed high volume buffet dining, fine dining, and catering at MGM Studios, Animal Kingdom, and The Grand Floridian. While on vacation in Greenville SC, Lapidus met the general manager of the Westin Poinsett who offered him the position of Food and Beverage Manager. After a decade long tenure at Disney, Lapidus decided it was time for a change and headed to Greenville. Two years later, he accepted a position as Food and Beverage Director of The Cliffs at Glassy, a world-class country club in Landrum, SC. While there Lapidus threw countless events, re-vamped the wine list, and developed long-lasting relationships with his guests.
In 2010, Lapidus joined JHM Hospitality as banquet manager for the Hyatt in downtown Greenville and two years later was promoted to general manager at the new Roost restaurant. Lapidus believes that dining out should be memorable experience and strives to create a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere for his guests.
When he is not working, Lapidus finds time to enjoy the diverse community of Greenville. He can often be spotted at the local farmer’s market and at foodie events with his wife, Elizabeth, a Furman graduate, and son, Zachary.
Michael Rosen, the creative force behind Roost, began his career in the culinary field as a busboy at age 15. Captivated by the camaraderie in the kitchen, he worked for free in exchange for dinner each night just to get the experience. Rosen soon left his hometown of Miami Beach to attend the Culinary Institute of America to pursue his dream of becoming a chef. After graduation, he returned to his Florida roots with stints at Mark’s Las Olas in Ft. Lauderdale, and Coconut Grove’s Janjo where he was sous chef. Later Rosen accepted a position at The Flying Fish, a seafood restaurant on Disney’s Boardwalk Resort in Orlando.
Rosen went on to hone his skills as executive chef at The Breakers Hotel’s fine dining restaurant, Fathom, in Palm Beach Gardens. Under Rosen’s leadership, Esquire honored the restaurant as a selection on John Mariani’s famed “Best New Restaurants in the Country” list. In 2002, he moved west Santa Clara, CA to work as chef de cuisine under Bradley Ogden at Parcel 104. Rosen was deeply inspired by his two-year tenure at Parcel 104, an innovative restaurant providing a true farm-to-table experience before the phrase became a cultural zeitgeist. Later when Rosen was offered the position of executive chef and food & beverage director at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, he returned to Florida to step into that leadership role.
Ultimately an opportunity arose for Rosen to join JHM Hotels in Greenville, SC to serve as Vice President of Food & Beverage. In this role, Rosen is responsible for the concept, creation, and design of each of the eight restaurants in the JHM Restaurant Group.
The idea for Roost came from Rosen’s time at Parcel 104 nearly a decade ago. Inspired by the seasonality of the dishes and the focus on organic, locally-sourced ingredients, Rosen saw great potential for a restaurant in Greenville mirroring this philosophy—handcrafted cuisine cooked with care and conscience, and at an honest price. His “rules of the Roost” include a ban on high-fructose corn syrup and trans fats.
Rosen spends his free time with his daughter, and of course, eating.