Meet Paul Smith

Award winning chef. Entrepreneur. Community ambassador. Mentor. Friend.

Any of those descriptions would be fitting when describing Charleston, West Virginia native Paul Smith -- known affectionately around his home state simply as Chef Paul.

Paul grew up in central West Virginia as part of a large Italian American family, where his appreciation for good food and hospitality began when he would help his grandfather "stir the gravy" for Sunday dinners. 

After graduating from Charleston Catholic High School and a brief time attending Virginia Tech to play soccer, Paul made a spur of the moment decision to venture north to attend culinary school at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.

He never looked back on this career decision, although as his culinary journey led him to Napa Valley, The Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, and the Ritz Carlton in Florida, Paul did look back on his native West Virginia with fond memories.

Ultimately, as is so often for Mountain State natives, country roads eventually did lead Paul Smith home, where he has made it his mission to show visitors and residents that West Virginia hospitality is truly unique and world-class. 

Paul is now Executive Chef and partner in two award winning restaurants in  his hometown of Charleston -- 1010 Bridge Restaurant and The Pitch. He also serves as a consultant for multiple other restaurants in the region, while serving on the Board of Directors for non-profits like The Capitol Market.

Paul was named West Virginia's Best Chef in 2021 by West Virginia Living Magazine and is now a finalist for the prestigious James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southeast US -- the first West Virginian to receive such an honor.

Paul Smith officially joined the New River Brands team in the spring of 2023 as a consultant, ambassador, and shareholder. His first project was to help create the new Blue Smoke Salsa Gourmet Series of products, which makes its debut in stores on West Virginia Day -- June 20th, 2023.


Introducing our new Gourmet Series