Chef Wayne Whiteside was born and raised in Philadelphia and he has commanded the stoves of his home city for 20 years. His career sparked at the early age of 17 when he filled in for a friend at an Italian restaurant on South Street called Cheflu.
He started out prepping for the Chef and was introduced to making pastas from scratch and butchery. The owner recognized Wayne’s ability and took him under his wing, teaching Wayne how to butcher various meats and seafood. Wayne moved up quickly in the ranks while working and attending ACA. Within two years he was promoted to Sous Chef, which turned into a twelve year stint as the Executive Chef and he later opened a second restaurant in New Jersey.
Chef Wayne’s foundation was established at Cheflu and Mediterranean cuisine became his focus. While respecting the simplistic cooking of Mediterranean cuisines, Wayne also had a thirst for regional American cooking which led him to Fork. While at Fork, he further cemented his skills in fine dining and service. Wayne also studied desserts and pastries, keeping in mind what he was taught about hand crafted preparations and the importance of cooking from scratch.
Although Wayne moved on to work at other notable restaurants in the city, he attributes the core foundation of his success to his experience at Cheflu and Fork. He has taught and mentored many chefs throughout his career. Chef Wayne’s exceptional skills in butchery, his range as a pastry chef, and his innovative approach to Mediterranean cuisine places him among highly distinguished chefs.
Wayne joined Aksum in November 2011 as the Executive Chef with objectives to make Aksum a great neighborhood success and reshape the vision of the kitchen.
He brings with him the same philosophy instilled in him years ago – fresh ingredients are key elements to success in the food industry. His staff often hears him saying: “leave your ego at the door and be prepared to have fun and learn why cooking is awesome”.