Mashama Bailey is the executive chef and partner at The Grey in Savannah, GA. Together with founding partner John O. Morisano, she opened the restaurant inside a renovated Greyhound Bus station in 2014. In a 2018 interview with Diced, Bailey explained, “I think Savannah was the right place to do it because it was really welcoming and the food waves are being reborn. It’s cool to be around like-minded people in a city that’s growing.”

Mashama Bailey was born to David and Catherine Bailey in the Bronx. She was the eldest of three with one sister and one brother. Bailey moved to Waynesboro, Georgia at the age of 2, Savannah, Georgia at 5, and then to Queens, New York when she was 11. Bailey learned to cook from her mother and grandmother. Bailey credits making snacks for her siblings while her parents worked as a basis of her appreciation of cooking.

The sixth season of Chef’s Table premiered on Netflix. This season brings four new episodes that follow four very different chefs, and while we’re excited to get to know all of these impressive culinary minds, we’re especially intrigued by Chef Mashama Bailey. Chef Bailey has received impressive accolades like being named a finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef Southeast award in 2018, but for us, what’s so interesting about her goes beyond any tangible accomplishment.

On October 15, 2018, Morisano and Bailey opened The Grey Market in Savannah inspired by Southern lunch counters and New York City bodegas. Since 2017, Bailey has served as chairwoman of the Edna Lewis Foundation, which works to “revive, preserve, and celebrate the rich history of African-American cookery by cultivating a deeper understanding of Southern food and culture in America.

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