Chef Jake Howell, executive chef and part owner of Nashville’s Peninsula Restaurant, has received the highest honor bestowed by Georgia-based poultry producer Springer Mountain Farms, the Celebrate the Chef Award. The award is presented to a select handful of chefs that demonstrate culinary excellence, consistency in the dining experience and a commitment to the use of fresh and local ingredients.

“Outstanding chefs create distinctive flavors and foods that we don’t see every day, offering us an opportunity to taste things we’ve never tried before,” says Dale Faunce, Springer Mountain Farms marketing director. “Chef Howell’s food is a unique experience in Nashville and a great addition to their food scene.”

Chef Howell’s highly lauded Peninsula is a blend of Spanish and Portuguese cuisine. The menu explores the flavors and techniques of the Iberian Peninsula with an emphasis on the convergence of the Spanish, Portuguese and French influences.

A native of Sandpoint, Idaho, Howell has always had a passion for cooking. Howell’s career flourished during his time in Seattle, where he worked and consulted for several of the city’s best restaurants. He most recently worked under Chef Renee Erickson at The Walrus and the Carpenter and Bar Melusine before moving to Nashville to open Peninsula.

“Working with farms that have integrity is incredibly important to our restaurant, and we are fortunate to get to work with Springer Mountain Farms and their chicken,” says Howell. “It feels great to be recognized for the work we are doing.”

Howell focuses on creating concise, uncomplicated and unique dishes that bring even the pickiest eaters out of their shell – including such combinations as crema catalana ice cream with caviar and potato chips. Whole animal utilization is also a big part of Howell’s philosophy. Having worked at Rain Shadow Meats, a Seattle whole animal butcher shop with an extensive charcuterie program, he hopes to show people that the most sustainable option is to eat more than just the “premium” cuts. His menu features items such beef tendon chips, morcilla crepes with sweetbreads, beef shank and chicken liver mousse.

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