Joe Messina grew up in Mobile and Gulf Shores, Alabama, and it was there as a teenager, that he started his tenure in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Fresh out of high school and while studying business at University of Alabama at Birmingham, he landed a position in the kitchen at Highlands Bar and Grill in Birmingham. Working beside acclaimed chefs Frank Stitt and Chris Hastings, Joe honed his culinary skills. At 21, he packed his bags and his appetite for adventure and headed to New York City. He there had the honor of working for world-class chefs and restaurateurs including Jean George (Vong/JoJo), Tom Colicchio (Gramercy Tavern), and the legendary Sirio Maccioni of (Circo/Le Cirque).
His passion for wine and travel led him to leave the city and head to Tuscany, where he had the unique opportunity to work at a vineyard for two seasons of winemaking and olive harvesting. Not only did he add to his vast knowledge of wine and cuisine, but he explored his Italian roots through immersion in the culture as well as the language.
Upon his return to New York, he worked with Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich (Lupa/Otto) and Giovanni Tognozzi (Bar Pitti), and made his move from the kitchen to “Front of House”. It was during this time that he met and married his wife, native Brazilian, Cristiane, and their first child, Memphis Grace, was born.
After nearly 16 years in NYC, and with son Macon on the way, Joe and his family moved to the Gulf Coast, choosing to relocate in the 30A area. Being close to family, sharing similarities of the beautiful beaches of Cris’ home in Brazil, and offering a wonderful environment to raise their children made their choice an easy one.
Joe has worked in area restaurants as a part of service staff as well as management, and also served as a wine representative for restaurants from Destin to Panama City Beach. Joe worked as a server at George’s for years and is excited to come back after two years as General Manager to share his passions with a tremendously talented and dedicated staff. The dining scene on 30A will soon reap the benefits of Joe’s training and experience.
Camille Withall was destined to work in the culinary industry. As a child in Manila, Philippines, Camille shadowed her mother in the kitchen preparing meals for her parents and three sisters. Those early lessons proved useful during her eight-year tenure as a chef for private clubs, resorts, and independent fine dining establishments in the U.S. and Philippines.
After graduating with a degree in Commerce Advertising Management from De La Salle University in Manila, Camille worked for her father’s agrichemical company handling human resources, administration, and marketing. Camille quickly discovered that the corporate world wasn’t for her. She decided to enroll in the culinary arts program at the American Hospitality Academy in Manila, pursuing her passion for food.
In 2008, Camille traversed the Pacific for an internship in the kitchen at the Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort in Destin, Florida. There, she gained invaluable kitchen experience including pastry, banquets, casual club fare, and fine dining. After her internship, she took a job as a line cook at Restaurant Fire in Grayton Beach, Florida, and worked her way up to Executive Chef. The years spent at Fire taught her about Napa-style, farm-to-table cuisine with a strong Southern influence. Camille joined the George’s family as Sous Chef in January of 2014 and is now Executive Chef. When she’s not in the kitchen, Camille enjoys reading, going to the beach, and traveling the world to learn about food.
Faheem Maolud has had a love affair with food all his life, dating back to memories of playing in the offices at the restaurants his father owned in Boston. It was only natural that when he got the chance at age 15 to work at The Court Yard By Marriott Hotel as a steward, he seized the opportunity. After school, at the hotel, when his work was complete, he would watch the lead line cook in hopes that he might be ready to move into that position. As luck would have it, one day the lead line didn’t show up for work and Faheem was asked if he could do the job. He replied with a resounding, “Yes!”. Since that time, he has enjoyed many great experiences in many outstanding restaurants.
His studies at the Art Institute of Atlanta brought him in touch with Master Chef Martin Gagne’. He interned with Martin for 7 years and had the opportunity to work at some of the best restaurants in Atlanta- Bones’, Blue Ridge Grill, South City Kitchen, among the notables. Also, as Martin’s student, Faheem was in a position to achieve his goal of becoming a chef on the private Island of Cayo Espanto, San Pedro, Belize. It was there that his skills were pushed to the limit as he had to create a daily menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was important to him to use local produce and meats and to that end, he met the boats coming in each day. He used their catch to fashion the daily offerings. What an adventure as well as excellent training that experience was.
Chef Faheem received his Chef Certification from Martin Gagne’ and concedes it was the greatest hard work he has ever done. It was during that time that he realized he loved to cook in order to create new dishes with flavors people wouldn’t even think of putting together. Following the chef certification, he was ready to take on jobs as sous chef and chef in Atlanta’s fine dining scene. Meeting a second master chef, Chef Kevin Walker, was a turning point and allowed Faheem to work for four years at Cherokee Town and Country Club as Banquet Chef. From there, he took a chef position at Hilton Suites in Atlanta, followed by work as an Executive Chef at Old Vinings Inn.
Although Atlanta had been good to Faheem, he knew he needed to change things up. He met a wonderful woman who is now his wonderful wife, Marai Maolud. They both recognized the pull of the water with his childhood in Boston and hers in California. They made a move to Albany, Georgia, to the Double Gate Country Club, which allowed them to frequently visit the Panama City Beach area and they fell in love with the location. On Labor Day, the couple met Chef Camille Withall, executive Chef at George’s, and made the beach life a reality. As Faheem says, “We are once again happy, by the beach, doing what we love”.