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Young Memphis Spotlight: Kelly English

If you haven't yet heard about some of these young leaders, you will soon enough.

These 10 powerhouses – the Young Memphians Class of 2013 -- are making a mark, driven by passion for their work and a desire to raise the stakes for Memphis. As a result, these influential professionals are making the best kind of difference in a town that increasingly looks for innovation and energy.

Memphis requires the mix of entrepreneurship, dedication and spunk found in these 10 dynamos. Some are homegrown, some out-of-towners. They’re involved in the community outside their work, and they have ideas on how to make Memphis a better all-around place.

Photo by Troy Glasgow Kelly English
Chef and Owner of Restaurant Iris

"There's not any place I'd rather be," says Kelly, whose Restaurant Iris has been racking up accolades since opening in 2008. The chef grew up in New Orleans and has taken those flavors and spirit into a new dimension.

"There's not much difference between the spirit of the cooking there and here," he says. Iris may be a French-Creole restaurant, but, Kelly says, it's not so much about the specific ingredients as about what's at hand. "I cook what I think people in Louisiana would cook if they settled in Memphis, given what's available in this area." It's that keen awareness of what's right here that makes the difference.

He credits his Memphis-born wife with bringing him to Memphis. When they visited the old La Tourelle, which would become Restaurant Iris, the couple noticed a stained glass fleur-de-lis inside and, when they left, a rainbow over Playhouse on the Square. "I told my wife it was a sign," Kelly says. "So we got it, hired great people at every position and they're a testament to teamwork."

The chef continues to be completely sold on Memphis. "It's all about the home team. We are a greater place every single day thanks to the genuine people doing genuine work. They're enriching the lives of each other, our patrons and our community. Everyone wants Memphis to be the best in every way."

- Jon Sparks

Photo by Troy Glasgow:

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Posted: 10/28/2013 7:42:08 AM | with 0 comments
Filed under: chamber, cook, creole, dining, food, iris, louisiana, memphis, new, orleans, professional, restaurant, young

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