Chef Ty Thames
2015 Restaurant Tyler

Chef Jonathan “Ty” Thames is a Mississippi native who started his culinary career at 15. Thames began his educational path at the University of Southern Mississippi, where he received a bachelor's degree in hospitality management before attending the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont. After graduating with distinction, he moved to Parma, Italy, to pursue his culinary passion of Italian cuisine.
There he apprenticed under chef Leonardo of Maria Luigia Restaurant. Upon returning to the U.S., Thames moved to Washington, D.C. and began work at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. After gaining knowledge under the renowned chefs of the Ritz-Carlton, Thames moved to the regional Italian fine dining restaurant Centro, located in the Bethesda, Maryland, where he was recognized in many publications such as The Washington Times, The Washington Post and the Washingtonian Magazine. He then moved from D.C. to pursue his dream of owning a restaurant in his native state of Mississippi. Traveling back to his roots, he found home in Starkville, Mississippi, where he managed to bring the best that he has learned back to the Magnolia State.
Thames is a chef who takes civic responsibility for what he cooks and serves. He is a believer in using natural ingredients in even the most complex recipes, and he preaches and practices professional responsibility when it comes to chemicals and hormones in foods. He believes all chefs should be aware of what is going on in our environment regarding fishing, waste management and the products we buy and sell. Thames believes that chefs should burden the responsibility of educating others of their impacts to the industry.