A native Charlestonian, Brad Ball began working for Poogan’s Porch, his family’s restaurant, at the age of thirteen as the delivery boy. Soon after, he became the dishwasher and busboy and eventually worked his way up to server and restaurant manager. After graduating from the College of Charleston in May 2004, he took over as General Manager of Poogan’s. Ball traveled extensively throughout the world, including spending a semester abroad in Annot, France, where he developed a keen interest in wine. After extensive study, Ball personally took it upon himself to expand and diversify the wine program at Poogan’s, growing the list to 250 bottles, 28 wines by the glass and adding a sophisticated 1500 bottle wine cellar.
In the fall of 2005, Ball was presented with an once-in-a-lifetime chance to travel to New York and attend the French Culinary Program, an intensive, six-month, total immersion culinary arts program. While earning his degree from this renowned, challenging, hands-on program, Ball had the opportunity to work in some of
New York’s finest and most respected restaurants. Internships at Jean-Georges, a four star French-Asian restaurant on Central Park, and the increasingly popular Momofuku Noodle Bar in the East Village, gave Ball an edge on the restaurant industry and gave him a glimpse into the kitchens of the industry’s best. Perhaps the most gratifying experience of Ball’s time in New York came from his time working at Aquavit, an upscale, multi-award winning restaurant. Working under renowned Executive Chef Marcus Samuelsson and General Manager Olivier Zardoni, Ball assisted in the management the restaurant’s impressive wine program. Serving as a sommelier for the restaurant, Ball had the privilege of tasting and serving rare, vintage, top-quality wines from all over the world from Aquavit’s 350-bottle list, further broadening his knowledge and love of wine. In addition, he earned his Advanced Certificate with Distinction from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust through the International Wine Center before returning to Charleston.
Upon his return, Ball became managing partner of Poogan’s Porch and also became a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. Continuing to challenge himself, Ball completed an executive MBA program with a wine industry focus through the Bordeaux Ecole de Management (BEM) in 2010. In fall 2012, Ball earned his Advanced Sommelier certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers. He is currently pursuing his Master Sommelier certification.
Not one to slow down, Ball also launched the La Wine Agency in 2010. The wines produced adhere to a defined set of standards to help show what La Wine Agency believes to be “PROPER WINES,” aka un-manipulated, pure expressions of specific varietals or styles that are sustainably produced. The goal of La Wine Agency is to create a conversation with new wine drinkers that emphasizes balance and finesse, over power and extraction. La Wine Agency works with well-known, artisanal winemakers to develop these benchmark examples.
In 2012, with a group of entrepreneurial partners, Ball launched Wine Awesomeness, a curated online wine shop. Wine Awesomeness hinges on the beliefs that “wine is for everyone; wine is everywhere; wine is discovery.”
Chef Daniel Doyle began visiting Poogan’s Porch during his childhood family vacations and was familiar with the Southern charm and traditions of the restaurant long before becoming its executive chef. At age fifteen, Doyle set out to pursue his passion for cooking in his Elon, North Carolina hometown before traveling south to Charleston in 1997. Doyle attended Johnson & Wales University, where he earned an associates degree in culinary arts and a bachelor’s degree in restaurant and institutional management.
In the decade that followed, Doyle worked as executive chef in many restaurants in North and South Carolina before finding his home at Poogan’s Porch in 2007. Previous culinary experience included cooking at Rosebank Farms Café on Seabrook Island, Fish Restaurant in downtown Charleston, and Alexandria’s Restaurant & Bar in Burlington, North Carolina. While at Fish, Doyle contributed his culinary expertise and creativity to its menu, helping the restaurant earn “Best New Restaurant” from the Post and Courier.
As executive chef at Poogan’s Porch, Doyle prepares the restaurant’s signature Lowcountry dishes daily, introducing innovative approaches to local favorites. Locally sourcing beef and produce from Charleston and its surrounding areas is one big change that Doyle made when joining Poogan’s Porch. With each year, he works to refine the food at Poogan’s, making flavor profiles stronger.
In 2012, Doyle became a partner at Poogan’s Porch. That same year he was invited to cook at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City, and has been asked to return every year since.
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 later accepted a sous chef position at Poogan’s Porch, where he 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.