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5 Chefs Shaking Up Winston-Salem’s Food Scene

Calling all foodies! Meet five underground chefs who are reinventing Winston-Salem's food scene. 

By Kelly Rogers on January 3, 2023

Kuya Bear in Winston-Salem, NC.
Joseph Timmons/J&M Photography LLC

Across the Winston-Salem area, creative individuals are innovating and cooking up delicious offerings outside of traditional restaurant settings. Primarily available at pop-ups, these burgeoning businesses are worth the extra effort to follow, find and taste their food whenever you can. Meet the underground chefs behind five of Winston-Salem’s most promising up-and-coming food concepts. 

William Fulton

The Jugo Bar
Instagram: @thejugoman
When he was younger, William Fulton traveled all over the world, sampling all sorts of cuisines and developing a taste for flavor profiles along the way. Now in his 50s, he infuses these flavors into his line of handcrafted juices, waters and 23 varieties of lemonade. Fulton recently opened a physical location, The Jugo Bar Tasting Room, in August 2022. 

Joe Olson

Kuya Bear Food
Instagram: @kuyabearfood
They say necessity is the mother of invention, and Josh Olson is living proof of that. “Working as a schoolteacher, grad student, coach — and with my wife being in school with only a part-time job — we needed some supplemental income to afford another car,” Olson says. Drawing on his Filipino heritage, Olson started Kuya Bear Food, doing pop-ups around town that offered traditionally rooted and updated dishes. The most popular dish is lumpia, a savory, meat-based egg roll (a family recipe that Olson grew up eating all his life). 

Shot of ramen from Bootleg Ramen in Winston-Salem, NC.
Bootleg Ramen

Jae Trusler

Bootleg Ramen
Instagram: @bootlegramen
Bootleg Ramen, formerly Shokunin Ramen, has been popping up at various spots around Winston-Salem since 2017. While Chef Jae has been working professionally for the better part of 16 years, their love of making good food extends even further and continues to fuel their culinary creations. Bootleg Ramen is unique in that the noodles are made entirely from scratch. Additionally, the menu is now almost entirely plant-based, appealing to meat lovers and vegetarians alike.

Jordan Rainbolt

Native Root
Instagram: @native.root
While attending culinary school and working through a three-year apprenticeship, Jordan Rainbolt spent some time studying abroad in Seoul, South Korea. Years later, she started Native Root with the desire to pull inspiration from other cultures while focusing on the indigenous ingredients that are grown in this region. One of Native Root’s special offerings is a monthly supper club — an experimental dinner with an evolving menu. “Our moon dinner highlights the different foods and crops that make up our region while paying homage to the pre-colonized culture,” Rainbolt says.

Chef Ade

Instagram: @eatsbyde
Chef Ade is a self-proclaimed culinary enthusiast, scientist and private chef. He loves to play with all sorts of flavors and cuisines, from Mexican tacos to Korean rice bowls to West African staples and everything in between. With pop-up menus that are surprising and delightful, Chef Ade’s passion for food and culinary experiences always shines through. Plus, his Instagram account is absolutely mouthwatering.

If you’d like to learn more about the Winston-Salem, NC, area, check out the latest edition of Livability: Greater Winston-Salem

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