the chefs behind the food

Gairdt Edwards, Chef and Owner 

Gairdt Edwards began his culinary career as an apprentice in a French Bistro at 18. He then went on to cook at the WildFlour Bakery in Abingdon, VA where he became the Executive Chef. From there, he earned his culinary arts degree from Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, NC. During his time in culinary school, Gairdt cooked at the not-­for­-profit restaurant, King’s Kitchen under Chef Jim Noble.


After a brief stage at the Greenbrier Hotel, he “cut his teeth” as a chef at the Regency Room in Williamsburg, VA. At this premier restaurant, under the leadership of Executive Chef Travis Brust, Gairdt cooked for celebrities, entrepreneurs, and even presidents of the United States.

From there, Gairdt came home to Nashville to work with restaurateur, Randy Rayburn. Under his leadership, Gairdt learned to manage the restaurant as a whole entity. Three years later, Gairdt went on to become the Sous Chef at the prestigious Capitol Grille in the historic Hermitage Hotel under Executive Chef Tyler Brown.

Gairdt founded Barley to Rise in 2016.


Chris Burgess, Chef and Managing Partner

Chris Burgess moved to Nashville in 1978 to attend Belmont University on a Danner Food Service Scholarship. After college, Chris began building his culinary “chops” in some of Nashville’s most well-known restaurants and hotels including the Hyatt Regency, Chancellor’s at the Vanderbilt Plaza, and Maude’s Courtyard Restaurant to name a few.

In 1992, Chris moved to Maryland for his first executive chef position at the Harbor Town Resort in St. Michael’s. 

Over the next 20 years, Chris went on to develop and operate several successful restaurants including two of his own: The Factory Grill and Bicyclette Cafe and Wine. The Factory Grill was a meat and three restaurant serving breakfast and lunch. Bicyclette Cafe and Wine, a country French cafe built around the cuisine of the French countryside. 

From there, Chris became the executive chef at Holiday Retirement, where he created the community's daily food program for 190+ residents. Chris managed the kitchen staff, met budget standards and was awarded a series of awards for excellence. 

Chris joined Barley to Rise as managing partner in 2016.