John Cartwright has been serving fresh, local food in the Shoals for over 12 years. Rivertown Coffee is a part of the fabric of downtown Florence. His take on simple, southern food has been a staple in the community and will be for years to come.



My first restaurant job was while I was a student at the University of North Alabama. At Of Oceans & Prairies in Sheffield, I saw for the first time, the inner workings of a professional kitchen, where sauces were made to order and fish and beef were cut in-house. I was bitten by the lure of being in the kitchen. Instead of going to culinary school, however, I graduated from UNA with a degree in Economics and Finance. Over time, I built up a collection of culinary textbooks and taught myself, through trial and error, many of the techniques of professional chefs. I was able to use my new skills to develop menus for Zona Viva, in Florence, and then The Pilot House in Tuscumbia. My first chef position came next at Florence Golf & Country Club where I worked for more than five years. In late 2010, I opened my own restaurant and catering company, Table 18, in Muscle Shoals. In 2011, I accepted the challenge Rick Elliott offered to open City Hardware, which was a representation of me, through food, and became a restaurant of which I was very proud. I came to the Marriott Conference Center in August 2016 where I work alongside some very talented chefs. While at the Marriott, I have reignited my passion for cooking.  

When I’m not working, I like to spend time with my wife, Michelle, and our two daughters, Maeve and Ally, usually travelling to art shows looking for new Southern folk art to add to our collection or playing with our dogs Olive and Tini.



I started cooking while attending Auburn University in 2003. I cooked for several years, and in several bars before realizing I didn't want a normal 9-5 job. I left Auburn in 2008 to start at the University of North Alabama culinary program. In 2009, I started working for the Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa. I worked under Chef Josh Quick for the bulk of my tenure, and it was there I learned more about the seasons of food, making as much of the items as possible in house, and getting the freshest regional products available. I left the Marriott in 2013 to help open Odette as the Sous Chef. I remained there for two years, only leaving to return to the Marriott in December 2015 as Chef de Cuisine of the 360 Grille. Now, I'm the chef at Turtle Point Yacht and Country Club in Florence. I have decided I want to keep pushing the food in the same direction: fresh, seasonal, and as close to home as possible.



I graduated first in my class from California School of California Le Cordon Bleu program in 2003. I worked in Los Angeles kitchens, eventually becoming the chef at several restaurants. I also worked as a private chef in Hollywood from 2003-2011. In 2012, I moved back to Alabama after my father developed cancer. I am now Executive Chef and Owner of the Red Clay Epicurean catering. I also work as a farm-to-table cafeteria consultant for local schools.



I started my career as an apprentice at Walt Disney World almost 20 years ago. After working my way through several hotel kitchens, I was excited for the opportunity to help open Odette in downtown Florence, Alabama. The food at Odette is a reflection of my passion for global flavors and regional ingredients. When not working, I enjoy vegetable gardening with my wife and playing with my two kids.



I was born in Manhattan, Kansas, and moved to Huntsville, Alabama where my father was in the military.  I went to culinary school in Birmingham at Culinard.  As a young “culinarian,” I worked in Birmingham restaurants and local hotels learning the business.  I opened a catering business specializing in weddings and corporate events.  After that, I opened a gastropub specializing I craft beers and food pairings.  I was a Chef Manager over Huntsville Hospital main and the Women and Children’s Hospital.  I then move on to become Executive Chef and Food & Beverage Director at Canebrake Country Club.  I came to Marriott Shoals as Chef over Swampers Bar & Grille and am currently Executive Chef working directly with 360 Grille, Swampers Bar & Grille and Marriott Shoals Conference Center Chefs to create a fun, fresh and phenomenal experience for all of our guests.



I was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas. My first experience in the food industry was at the age of 15 at a small place called Town and Country Cafe.  A few years later I met Chef Garien Shelby and he gave me an opportunity as a prep cook. I soon found myself consumed with passion for cooking. I would take the skills I learned at work and practice them at home. I became Sous Chef at Canebrake Country Club in Athens, Alabama and two years later I became the Chef. My original mentor, Chef Garien called me to Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa to become a Supervisor at Swampers Bar & Grille.  My path quickly progressed to Chef in Swampers. I have truly been blessed with another opportunity as Chef de Cuisine of 360 Grille. I am very grateful for my fiancé Courtney and two children Rhyen and Samuel Jr.







Mark Jacquette of Yumm Thai Sushi and Beyond


Born and raised in North Eastern Iowa, Mark developed a passion for food and cooking at a young age. After graduating from Indian Hills Community College with a degree in Culinary Arts, Mark continued on to study at the Culinary Institute of America Hyde Park, New York.

Much of Mark’s professional career has been as an Executive Chef in Country Clubs across the States, but after retiring from Turtle Point Yacht and Country Club in 2016, Mark began a new venture in curating dishes at Yumm Thai Sushi and Beyond in Downtown Florence, embarking on his 50th year in food services.