A native to Apex and with family roots invested in North Carolina, Jake Wood’s passion for food is heavily influenced by his grandparents and the state’s rich agricultural traditions. With inspiration from his family, Jake Wood embarked on a culinary career in Raleigh, which started at 42nd Street Oyster Bar. He began shucking oysters and eventually worked his way up in the restaurant industry. Jake then went on to become the head sushi chef at The Cowfish in Raleigh, and soon after developed the food program for Raleigh Raw as the executive chef. Chef-owner Jason Smith of 18 Restaurant Group mentored Jake and was an advocate of him moving on to the next stages of his career. He most recently served under Smith as the CDC of Raleigh’s 18 Seaboard and now runs Lawrence Barbecue with his wife, Brandi. Names FSR Magazine Rising Star Chef 2019, Lawrence was listed as one of Southern Living Magazine’s Best New Cue Joints in the South 2021.