Justin Hayes

P.Y.S.K.

KaterwerksExecutive Chef for Jones Creek Golf Club, Katerwerks Events and Hospitality, and Cork and Flame 

Number of years in position: 3

Family: Grandmother, Ellie; mother, Susan

Why I’m Passionate About What I Do: Passion is not taught; it comes from within. I’ve done my best to harness this gift and apply it to every aspect of my culinary career. With no allegiance to a particular style of cooking, my attention is captivated as long as the ingredients are sourced properly and cooked with purpose, balance, finesse and respect. I’ve harnessed my passion and honed my culinary skills while building a reputation for preparing seasonal items with innovative techniques. 

After initially studying with American Academy Award Chef Heinz Sowinski, I worked under Master Chef Marcel Biro and then pursued additional education under Chef Biro’s mentor in Germany, Master Chef Robert Rauh. After returning to Augusta, I began working with JCI Management, which operates Jones Creek Golf Club and Katerwerks Events and Hospitality. I remain dedicated to my craft and continue to enchant guests with innovative culinary creations. My team has been voted Best Caterer in Columbia County for 2016 and 2017. 

Community Groups and Charities I Love to Support: (1) SafeHomes of Augusta, which empowers our community to take a stand against domestic violence and supports victims as they transform their lives into survivors. (2) American Junior Golf Association, which is committed to providing a platform for high school students to gain exposure to college coaches on the golf course and enable them to receive college scholarships, thereby furthering their education. I`ve personally had the opportunity to work with both organizations through the support of Jones Creek and Katerwerks.

Biggest Career or Life Obstacle I’ve Overcome and How: So far…my externship to Germany. As an eager novice chef, I decided when I was 24 to jump on a plane and travel 5,000 miles away with $1,000 in my pocket to study under a master chef in Germany. I spoke very little German and quickly discovered my miscalculations regarding the ease of this transition. I had to adapt to the cultural changes around me, but always found reassurance and solace in my one true love — the kitchen. Cooking transcends cultural barriers. 

Accomplishment I’m Most Proud Of: Finding a group of people who believe in me enough to invest in what will be Columbia County’s premier restaurant, Cork and Flame, which will open soon.

What Your Childhood Self Wanted to Be When You Grew Up: Shortstop for the Atlanta Braves

Favorite Way to Spend Saturday Afternoon: Preparing the season’s finest ingredients with my colleagues in anticipation of our first guests to arrive.

Favorite TV Show: “No Reservations”

Favorite Movie: Anything by Wes Anderson

Favorite Sports Team: Go Dawgs!

Favorite Comfort Food: Oma’s Goulash

Favorite Apps: Instagram, Amazon and OpenTable 

Last Book Read: Love Is a Dog from Hell by Charles Bukowski 

Dream Vacation: I want to hike the Camino de Santiago in order to get away, enjoy a slower pace of life and to have time to think and reflect. 

Something That Has Changed My Life: Steve Jobs once said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else`s life.” I`ve spent the last 12 years of my life in and out of kitchens, helping with the success of other chefs. I`m finally on the cusp of building my own success, and I can’t say that it has been one event or action that has changed my life, but the guidance of my mentors along the way.

Best Thing I Ever Learned: You`re only as good as your last dish served. 

One Word You Would Use to Describe Yourself: Motivated

Favorite Hobbies: I`ll let you know when I find the time.

Secret Aspiration: James Beard Foundation Award nomination

Reality Show I Would Totally Win: “Shark Tank”

Something People Would Be Surprised to Know About Me: I have a tattoo of a 1960s children’s book — The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.