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Southern Proper Hospitality Appoints New Leadership

Southern Proper Hospitality (SPH) CEO Tory Bartlett announced four new chef appointments to the Atlanta restaurant group’s culinary team. New corporate chef hire Benjamin Meyer and Beni’s Cubano executive chef Cesar Velazquez are now overseeing culinary operations for the company while Gary Finzer and Q. Matisse’ Myers have been promoted to executive chefs at Gypsy Kitchen and The Southern Gentleman respectively.

Benjamin Meyer. Photo by Brandon Amato.

Benjamin Meyer serves as the overall corporate chef for Southern Proper Hospitality. Meyer comes to SPH from Barcelona Wine Bar, having worked as the restaurant’s executive chef at large in Boston and Washington, D.C., before opening Atlanta’s West Midtown location. Prior to his time with Barcelona, Meyer ran Iridescence Restaurant atop the MotorCity Casino Hotel in Detroit and served as corporate chef at Michigan-based The Dali Group. He has also worked at such high-volume facilities as Michael Mina’s restaurants at MGM Grand Detroit and Paragon at Foxwood Resorts Casino in Connecticut.

As a corporate chef for SPH, Cesar Velazquez oversees Tin Lizzy’s Cantina and Beni’s Cubano as well as the forthcoming Street Taco scheduled to open at the Marietta Square Market this summer. Prior to this role, Velazquez paired robust, home-style Cuban cuisine with fast and friendly service as executive chef at Beni’s Cubano. He also previously managed culinary research and development for all of SPH’s restaurant concepts, developing recipes for both new and existing brands, working with vendors to procure products, overseeing new menu item rollouts and developing training programs.

Gary Finzer. Photo by Brandon Amato.

Velazquez earned his degree in culinary arts from the Art Institute of Atlanta in addition to a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Worcester State University in Massachusetts. Prior to joining the team at SPH, he was chef-partner at Chiringo Restaurant in Grayton Beach, Florida. He previously served as the executive chef at Peachtree Golf Club in Atlanta for nearly 11 years. His culinary career began as a chef-partner at Quattro Pizza Bar, also in Atlanta.

At Gypsy Kitchen, Gary Finzer is working to create just the right balance of European ambiance, uncommon spices and delicious, innovative dishes. Before joining the SPH team in 2014, Finzer worked at Bacchanalia and Star Provisions, eventually overseeing ordering for all five of James Beard Award-winning chefs Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison’s restaurants.

Q. Matisse’ Myers. Photo by Brandon Amato.

A graduate of New York’s prestigious French Culinary Institute, the Michigan native began honing his skills in New York working under such respected chefs as Guastavino’s Daniel Orr, Craft’s Tom Colicchio and Marco Canora, and Picholine’s Terrance Brennan and Craig Hopson. “Each helped me understand the importance of using fresh ingredients and preparing them properly,” says Finzer.

Bringing Southern charm by way of Brooklyn, Q. Matisse’ Myers joined SPH in 2014. His rise through the company’s ranks has been well-regarded: in 2015, Zagat Atlanta selected him as one of eight secret weapons behind Atlanta’s top restaurants.

Myers is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University and served as sous chef for True Food Kitchen in Atlanta and gained fine cuisine and kosher cooking experience in multiple high-end hotels in New York City.

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