Jill Stevens, General Manager
Jill Stevens didn’t have to journey far from her hometown of Amory, Mississippi to Oxford.
Despite growing up in a Mississippi State family, Jill bucked the family tradition of Starkville, the Bulldogs, and traveling the Golden Triangle; opting instead for Ole Miss, the Rebels, and the roundabouts of Oxford. “I had to tell my father in church,” Jill says of her decision.
While earning her Bachelor’s degree in accounting, Jill worked part-time at Smitty’s Café just off the Oxford Square. Perhaps a bit foreshadowing, Jill served tables during the breakfast shift. “I loved seeing the same people coming in for coffee everyday, and I enjoyed taking care of people…before I knew it everyone was calling me ‘Mama Miley.’”
Jill completed her Masters in taxation in 2004 and then began a series of turning down job offers with anything pertaining to accounting. “It wasn’t my true passion,” Jill acknowledges, adding, “I thought my father was going to disown me…or at the very least ask for his money back.”
To make ends meet, Jill began serving tables at Bouré while outlining her next move. Little did she know that after meeting a bartender named Drew after her second day on the job, she would carve out a place for herself in John Currence’s restaurant family. Jill quickly excelled at Bouré, moving from serving to bartending, and eventually managing. “I loved the challenging pace and treasured the customers. “
After marrying that friendly bartender in 2007, Jill left Bouré in Spring of 2008 to open Big Bad Breakfast with Currence. Affectionately known as “Bi g Bad Mama,” Jill enjoys early morning sunrises with strong coffee, and welcoming friends with her smiling face to start their day.
Vishwesh Bhatt, Corporate Chef
Vishwesh Bhatt a native of Gujarat, India and Oxford, MS has been a part of the City Grocery Restaunt Group for sixteen years. His inspiration and early knowledge of cooking began in his mother’s kitchen. He continued his culinary journey as a part time cook in various restaurants while in college. After deciding to pursue cooking as a career Vishwesh attended Johnson and Wales in North Miami. After graduating from Johnson & Wales, Vishwesh did brief cooking stints in Miami, Denver, Boulder and Jackson, before deciding to return to Oxford in 2001. He began training under James Beard Award Winning Chef, John Currence, serving as the Group’s Catering chef, then Sous Chef before being promoted to Chef de Cuisine of City Grocery in 2007. In April of 2009, John asked Vishwesh to open and serve as Chef at Snackbar. Here, Vishwesh has been able to showcase his unique cooking style which is influenced by his childhood in India, his training in French cooking, and his love of the South.
Snackbar has been recognized by local and national media as one of the finest restaurants in the South. The highlight of Vishwesh’s four years as Chef at Snackbar, has been the recognition by the James Beard Foundation, as a semi-finalist for Best Chef South two years running.
Vishwesh has most recently been named Corporate Chef of City Grocery Restaurant Group to oversee kitchens at City Grocery, Snackbar, Big Bad Breakfast, Main Event Catering, and Lamar Lounge. He resides in Oxford with is wife, Teresa and his two dogs, Pogo & Tula.