The Beach Club Chef

Meet Executive Chef John Hamme

If you ask Executive Chef John Hamme, “life doesn’t get any better than fresh-caught Red Snapper, Gulf shrimp and oysters farmed less than a mile from the restaurant.” Growing up in Maryland near the Chesapeake Bay, fresh local seafood has always been a staple for Chef Hamme–first on his family table, and then throughout his culinary career.

Chef Hamme found his passion for perfecting cuisine as a teenager working the line at a local family restaurant. After obtaining his degree in Hotel Restaurant Club Management, he earned a place in The Greenbrier Culinary Apprenticeship Program, where he spent three years training under some of the world’s best chefs and culinary leaders. Upon graduation, Chef Hamme went on to gain invaluable hands-on experience as he traveled the world leading openings and launches for names like the Ritz Carlton and Capella Hotels. He also participated in – and won – international competitions sanctioned by the American Culinary Foundation, earning a prized position on the ACF Culinary Team in 2000. It was during this time that Chef Hamme developed his own preference and style for classic meals prepared true to their heritage.

“Being a great cook can be half attributed to sourcing the best ingredients available and treating them with respect.”

After years of honing his culinary craft across every corner of the globe, Chef Hamme returned home and took a position at The Hotel at Auburn University, where he spent nine years leading openings and earning culinary awards across the state. Eventually, the beach came calling, and Chef made his way to our Alabama Gulf Coast – a landing, he says “was by far my favorite as far as varieties of fresh local seafood.”

Chef Hamme is now the Executive Chef of Coast Restaurant and Spectrum Resorts, where he uses his skills to source the freshest local ingredients and turn them into unforgettable meals full of unique coastal flair. For him and his team, working with butchers, seafood purveyors and farmers that are focused on quality is just as important as craft and preparation. As he likes to say, “without great products, a great result is not possible.”

A Career of Accomplishments and Awards

  • Graduate of Greenbrier Apprenticeship
  • Numerous medals in national American Culinary Federation sanctioned competitions

    • Brone Medal Category KC-2 Competition (Chicken) Hot Food
    • Bronze Medal Category KC-5 Competition (Pork) Hot Food
    • Bronze Medal Category KC-11 Competition (Flat or Round Fish) Hot Food
    • Bronze Medal Category A4 Cold food presentation
    • Silver Medal Category A4 Hot Cold food presentation (NE Regional Tryouts Culinary team 2000)
    • Gold Medal Category F4 Hot food Mystery Basket for 100p (NE Regional Tryouts Culinary Team 2000)
  • Gold Medal Kochkunst de Austellung International Competition, Erfurt Germany 2000
  • Featured in Ritz Carlton Company press
  • Participating in the successful openings of several Ritz Carlton Properties
    (Philadelphia PA, Naples Golf Resort FL, Washington DC, Coral Gables FL and NY Central Park)

  • Creator of the Official Dish the Year of Alabama Food
  • Featured in numerous articles in Birmingham, Montgomery, and Auburn press.
  • 2005 Chef of the Year: National Restaurant Association Alabama Chapter

  • Represented the State of Alabama in the National Seafood Cookoff
  • Coached Auburn, Alabama’s first high school culinary team to compete in the Pro Start Competition
  • Assisted with the launch of the West Paces Hotel Group and the Capella and Solis Brands in Europe, Mexico, and the United States
    (Auburn Conference Center Hotel, Ixtapa Mexico, Cologne Germany Velden Austria, Adelboden Switzerland and Donegal Ireland.)

  • LA Gumbo Festival Grand Champion Recipe
  • National Restaurant Association Alabama Chapter Dept. Manager of the Quarter
  • Winner of the Shrimp Festival Restaurant Challenge in 2014 representing Voyager’s Restaurant
  • 2016 Winner of the Local Chef Challenge at The World Food Championships
  • 2017 Top Ten finalist World Food Championships Chef Category finishing third overall.