Located in the heart of the emerging East Cobb neighborhood dining scene, Seed Kitchen & Bar combines a modern playful approach to American cuisine in an atmosphere as casual as it is stylish. The seasonal menu reflects the ingredients and hard work of local farmers and artisans whenever possible, in combination with an uncompromising pursuit of quality, all beautifully presented. Chef & Owner Doug Turbush has transplanted his many years of big city cooking, worldwide travels, culinary accolades and guest focused service to his own neighborhood of East Cobb, where he and his family have lived for the past 15 years.
“Seed is a place where families, friends and neighbors can meet to enjoymodern comfort food, unpretentious and attentive service, in a sleek setting at an excellent value. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing the people of East Cobb making life long memories right here in our restaurant.”
A notable enthusiasm for bold experiences in food and life characterizes Seed Kitchen & Bar’s Executive Chef & Owner, Doug Turbush.
Chef Doug’s desire to learn every aspect of the restaurant business led him to a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from the University of Wisconsin in Stout, and later to the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, graduating with honors from both universities. He completed his internship at the American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin, and also spent two months completing an Intensive Spanish Immersion Course in Monterrey, Mexico.
Upon graduating from the CIA, a move to Minneapolis opened the doors to a position at Goodfellows, a restaurant by celebrity chef Stephen Pyles, where he got his first taste of Latin and Asian inspired American cooking. Next was a move to Bangkok, Thailand, where he cooked both professionally and recreationally for more than a year. Chef Doug describes the experience as a great personal learning era, as he was surrounded by new flavors and cooking techniques with thousands of years of history.
Chef Doug joined the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group in 1999 as chef de tournant at Nava under Chef Kevin Rathbun and for the opening of Bluepointe. He was promoted to Executive Chef at Nava in 2001, where he energized the kitchen with his passion for Latin and South American cuisine. In 2005, he accepted the position of Executive Chef at Bluepointe where he further developed his disciplined style, passion for bold flavors, fresh local ingredients and beautiful presentations – all trademarks of his cooking at Seed Kitchen & Bar today.
In his latest venture, he takes on modern American cuisine in a neighborhood setting. Chef Doug explains, “Seed is a place where families and friends will meet to enjoy modern comfort food, unpretentious service, a sleek setting and excellent value. Sourcing locally has been core to my approach to food since I began cooking. I want to create a fun neighborhood restaurant with a reasonably priced menu, interesting cocktails, and great wine and beer programs." Making the most of locally available produce and natural ingredients, he devotes a great deal of attention to sourcing the finest ingredients possible and an ever-changing seasonal menu.
Chef Doug resides in Marietta and enjoys spending time with his wife, Pranee, originally from Bangkok, Thailand, and son, Jack, born in June 2002. In his leisure time, he enjoys music, dining out and traveling.
Chris McNeill, who serves as general manager for both Seed Kitchen & Bar and Stem Wine Bar, boasts more than a decade of experience in the hospitality industry but originally had a very different career path in mind. When he started a nine-year span with the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, he was also studying biomedical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Despite graduating with honors in 2005, it didn’t take McNeill long to realize that his day job in hospitality had become his true passion.
“I took one job interview in my field,” he says. “By that time, I had fallen in love with the food and beverage industry. It’s been a really great fit for me.”
McNeill’s career began at former NHL legend Willi Plett’s restaurant, Willi’s Sports Bar and Grille in Woodstock, Georgia. In 2002, he started as a food runner at Kyma and moved through the ranks of the Buckhead Life company, eventually becoming head bartender at Bluepointe, a position he held from 2006 to 2011.
It was there that McNeill was approached to help open Doug Turbush’s Seed Kitchen & Bar, along with then-general manager Jason Raymond. “I jumped on the opportunity to get in on the ground floor with Doug and Jason,” McNeill says. “It’s awesome to work for a company where everyone is so close. We started out as friends with like-minded passions, and as we grow, that continues to be the case.”
As beverage manager for both Seed and its sibling, Stem, McNeill was given a front-row view of the workings of both establishments, which made him the ideal candidate to take over the day-to-day management when Jason Raymond became director of operations and manager for Turbush’s newest restaurant, Drift Fish House & Oyster Bar.
“I’ve been serving guests at both Seed and Stem since they opened, so I know what our customers expect when they visit us," McNeill says. "I’ve always worked hard to make sure that we live up to those expectations while also executing Doug’s vision.”
At Seed, that means working with Turbush to maintain the restaurant’s reputation for modern American cuisine made with the highest-quality ingredients. At Stem, his emphasis is on providing a welcoming experience free of stuffiness or self-importance. “We are a neighborhood bar first and foremost,” he stresses, “where guests can come multiple times a week and not run into that pretentious attitude found at many mixology bars.”
At both spots, McNeill leans on a top-shelf staff to help execute those visions. After all, as any general manager knows, a restaurant is only as good as its workers. “We have a team of rock stars. Their determination and hard work makes my job very easy.”
It’s easy to spot executive chef John Flagello in the kitchen at Seed Kitchen & Bar or Stem Wine Bar. He's the one most likely to be smiling from ear to ear as he puts the finishing touches on a dish or offers a word of encouragement or advice to one of the line cooks. It’s the smile of a man who loves what he does and has had the good fortune to work at it since he was 15 years old.
For Flagello, food has been a lifelong pursuit. “I remember being 7 or 8, watching my grandmother making an authentic Italian dinner and being really interested in how it all came together,” he says.
As a teenager, it was an apprenticeship program offered through his high school that really set Flagello on his career path. Soon, he was learning the ropes at Coosa Country Club, and the future chef was hooked. “I love the high stress and intensity of being in a kitchen and the camaraderie of working with the cooks on the line. There’s a sense of unity that's very much like a family.”
Flagello went on to graduate from culinary school at Johnson & Wales University in Charleston, South Carolina, then honed his trade at some of the city's best restaurants, including Grill 225, Tristan and Cypress. Upon returning to Georgia, he spent three years at Barnsley Gardens Resort, working at Rice House and Woodlands Grill. Flagello made his way to Marietta in 2005, eventually joining Doug Turbush’s team at Seed.
In his executive chef role overseeing the kitchen for both restaurants, Flagello is excited to be executing Turbush’s vision of modern American cuisine made with high-quality ingredients in a welcoming, unpretentious atmosphere. After nearly 20 years spent in hospitality, he still gets a thrill out of working in the kitchen just as much as he did as a teenager.
“I love the creativity and the finesse of composing a dish, plating it up, explaining to the other cooks on the line why you’re doing it the way you are,” he says. “I love walking out at the end of the night knowing I’ve done my best and that I can feel proud of what I’ve done. And obviously, there’s knives and fire involved,” he says with a laugh, “so it’s a lot of fun. There’s never a dull moment.”
For David Peek, working in the food and hospitality industry isn’t just a job—it’s a passion.
After all, the 30-year-old, who serves as the beverage manager for Seed Kitchen & Bar and Stem Wine Bar, has been serving others since he was a teen.
“From the time I was 15 years old, I’ve definitely been hospitality-oriented,” he says. “My first job was working in the kitchen of a fast-casual restaurant, and I continued to work in the food industry through college.”
The young Peek logged his time in different restaurants, working his way from the kitchen to the dining floor before finding his way behind the bar. He quickly realized he had found his home.
“When I was 21, I worked at Ben’s Chophouse in Columbus, Georgia, where I was attending college,” he says. “The general manager there tutored me in the ways of wine and beverages, and I fell in love with that side of the industry.”
After graduating Columbus State University in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, Peek continued to work at his “day job.” He eventually made his way to Doug Turbush’s Marietta restaurants, where he worked under director of operations and sommelier Jason Raymond. “Jason also mentored me and helped me transition back into my passion for wine and cocktails,” Peek says.
Today, as beverage manager for both establishments, Peek oversees all aspects of life behind the bar—managing inventory, supervising staff and exercising creative control over the spirits, beer, cocktail and wine lists for both restaurants. That entails spending a lot of time talking with customers about what they like, which may be what he loves the most. “There’s a beverage boom going on right now, where beverage is catching up with food in the diner’s mind,” he says. “The wine industry is progressing and evolving, and I’m seeing more and more younger people getting into wine. The consumer is also becoming more savvy. They are catching up to the professionals in terms of their knowledge about wine, beer and cocktails, and that makes it fun for me. I get to interact with a more educated customer, so I have to stay ahead of the curve.” But more than a creatively stimulating challenge, Peek sees his position as a responsibility.
“When a guest comes into Seed or Stem, they’re putting their total drinking experience in my hands,” he says. “And that’s pretty cool.”