To passing motorists, the log cabin nestled in a dense copse of trees outside Oxford Mississippi, may not seem any more significant than other structures along County Road 321.
Upon lowering the car windows, however, the whiff of delectable scents wafting one’s way might give cause to consider it further. A closer approach would reveal that the cabin’s size is imposing, and upon entering, one would find that this simple timber-hewn structure houses one of the finest restaurants in the South: Ravine.
Beneath the surface, though, Ravine is something more than just a great restaurant; it is also a great proving ground, a culinary incubator where Chef Joel Miller – in addition to serving up some incredible eats – nurtures incipient stars of gastronomy: teaching them his secrets and urging them to seek discoveries of their own.
By arrangement with the Culinary Institute of America, chefs-in-training trek from CIA’s main campus at Hyde Park, New York to come to Ravine; and they compete for the privilege.
Recent News About Ravine
Submitted by Kristin Williams
Joel Miller may be best known as the chef at Oxford’s Ravine restaurant. However, recently Miller has stepped out of the kitchen to teach some lucky kids where food comes from at Ravine’s first Farm Camp.
Chef Joel teaches children about the importance of locally grown foods. He explains that the benefits include higher nutritive value and a positive impact on the local economy. Miller also preaches the importance of some other eco-friendly practices such as composting and beekeeping.
Video: Ravine Restaurant – Veggie Crepes
Posted on: 12:10 pm, March 26, 2012, by Nancy B. Allen – Read at WREG Memphis
By Emily Roland
Question: Describe the creation process and birth of the Ravine.
We were living in California in 2005 and 2006, and I was buying wine for a restaurant. That was one of the perks; I would always get sent up to wine country, Napa and Sonoma, to go to the wineries.
We would stay at these neat bed and breakfasts run by little families that had restaurants in them that were set out in the country and had big wrap-around porches.
When we found out that our son, Henry, was going to be born, we moved back here because we have family around the area. We weren’t even looking for a restaurant to open; we were just trying to find a place to live. Cori was going through a real-estate magazine when she saw this bed and breakfast that was for sale. So we decided to go look at it because we were having such bad luck finding a place to buy for a home. Then I started scratching out my first business plan ever, and I showed it to five different banks. Two of them said that they wanted to do it, and one of them was willing to do it on my timetable as opposed to theirs.
Text by Lesley Young / Photography by Dana Finimore
Out of the many places Joel Miller has cooked for a living—including Memphis, Puerto Rico, and New Orleans—San Francisco ranks in the top percentile.
“It was great. They would offer to send me to Napa and Sonoma Valley to stay and visit and taste the wines,” says the 35 year old chef. “We would sit out on these wrap around porches in the countryside at these mom and pop run bed and breakfasts with small restaurants. It was terrific.”
After having his first son and returning to the South to be near family, Miller decided to offer something similar to Oxford’s residents and visitors.
Nearly three years ago, Miller opened up Ravine, a restaurant and bed and breakfast inside a large log cabin situated on two acres just three miles from downtown Oxford.
Miller describes the cuisine as “Southern contemporary.”
BY COURTNEY AUSTIN PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRUCE NEWMAN
GLASS OF WINE IN ONE HAND AND PENCIL IN THE other, Cori and Joel Miller sketched out plans for their dream home. But this wasn’t any home. Upstairs would provide a living area, while downstairs would serve as quarters for an award-winning restaurant—one that was out of the way of the hustle and bustle of the big city with a huge front porch inviting diners to enjoy nature at its best. The food would be fresh and local, coming straight from the garden, and the menu would never grow old, reflecting the seasonal change of produce.