Executive Chef Benjamin Harris has honed his skills after nearly a decade of cooking for restaurants in Raleigh, NC; Charlotte, NC; Charleston, SC and beyond.  Harris started his culinary journey in Greenville, NC where he attended East Carolina University. Working at a steam-shack oyster bar, Harris began as a dishwasher and worked his way up to prep cook. It was there that Harris first gained an appreciation for the simple things — like a freshly shucked oyster — and the value of letting ingredients speak for themselves.  After college, Harris moved back to his hometown of Raleigh, NC and took a job at Winston’s Grille. Owner Will O’Neil took him under his wing, teaching him the business side of the restaurant industry and giving him a spot on the line. At Winston’s Grille, Harris realized working in the hospitality industry was the place for him.  Harris then moved to Charlotte, gaining experience in a few kitchens there before relocating to Charleston to accept a position as the sous chef at Poogan’s Porch.  At Poogan’s Porch, Harris excelled under the tutelage of Executive Chef Daniel Doyle. He was quickly promoted to Chef de Cuisine, working alongside Doyle to elevate the restaurant’s menus with sophisticated techniques and unique flavor combinations. Harris and the Poogan’s Porch team cooked their inaugural James Beard House dinner in 2012.  After two years at Poogan’s Porch, Harris was offered the exciting opportunity to help create a new restaurant concept in Charleston, and left to serve as the opening Executive Chef of Republic Garden & Lounge.  His talents and technique continued to be noticed, and Harris was soon recruited by the SERG Restaurant Group to create menus for its seafood restaurant, Poseidon, in Hilton Head, SC. But being recently married and with a new niece and nephew, Harris soon decided to move back to Raleigh to be closer to his family.  In Raleigh, Harris joined Midtown Grille as Executive Chef. There he breathed life into the 15-year-old restaurant by partnering with local farmers and using new techniques to create robust, Southern influenced dishes. This experience expanded his talents and in 2016, Harris once again returned to Charleston to serve as Executive Chef at Poogan’s Porch.  Harris’ vision for Poogan’s Porch is to maintain the excellence displayed by the kitchen throughout its 40-year history, while continuing to evolve the menus in a fresh, local and seasonal way.  On his rare days off, Harris enjoys playing golf on local courses, spending time at the beach, or kicking back with a beer at Bowen’s Island.