Paul’s Place Names Jonathan Hicks Executive Chef of Groundwork Kitchen

Paul’s Place announced Jonathan Hicks as executive chef of Groundwork Kitchen, the nonprofit organization’s restaurant located at 925 Washington Boulevard in Baltimore City’s Pigtown community. The announcement comes on the heels of last month’s announcement of Melanie Molinaro joining as general manager. Together, they will lead the anticipated December reopening efforts for the 120-seat restaurant that has been closed since January 2022 due to the pandemic.

A Maryland native and Laurel High School graduate, Chef Hicks, also known as “The Uneek Chef,” brings two decades of restaurant experience to Groundwork Kitchen. Hicks honed his culinary skills at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI where he earned an A.S. in culinary arts and a B.S. in food entrepreneurship, graduating in 2005. Throughout his career, he has helped with the opening efforts of Earth Wood & Fire (Mt. Washington), George Martins Grillfire (Hanover), Cosima at Mill No.1 (Hampden), and, most recently, Cozy Café (Ellicott City). Since his return to Baltimore almost 11 years ago, Chef Hicks has been a part of several noteworthy kitchens including Waterfront Kitchen (Chef Jerry Pellegrino), Birroteca/Nickel Taphouse (Chef Melanie Molinaro/ Robbin Haas), and The Local (Chef Zack Trabbold).

Passionate about his craft, Chef Hicks has participated in various cooking competitions including the World Food Championships in 2019, 2021 and 2022. He has earned multiple wins at Restaurant Association of Maryland sponsored events and was named the Maryland Agriculture/ Governor Hogan Catfish Battle Champ in both 2021 and 2022. Chef Hicks will be making an appearance as a contestant on a Food Network program before the end of the year.

“Cooking is my superpower,” says Chef Hicks. “It gives me the ability to change the world one dish at a time. This isn’t just a career or job for me; it’s a way of life. I really live to cook as much as I cook to live.”

Known for his big flavors, great plating and a strong work ethic, Chef Hicks looks forward to bringing his food as well as his love of mentorship to the restaurant, where he will have the opportunity to support the Paul’s Place Culinary Training Program at Groundwork Kitchen.

Chef Hicks will make his first appearance as executive chef for Groundwork Kitchen in Feastival benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation on November 5.

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