COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL)— During 2022, the Columbus Convention & Trade Center hosted more than 600 events. Currently, they’re booking conventions and events as far out as 2027.

One critical component of the Trade Center that keeps these events going is their culinary staff and catering crew.

“I always say if your food is not good and your bathrooms aren’t clean, you’re not going to have a good event… And if we’re going to keep attracting events to Columbus, I’m going to make sure our food is good,” Executive Director of the Trade Center Hayley Tillery said.

Tuesday, the Trade Center hosted an event called ‘Taste the Difference,’ introducing their newest Executive Chef, Bryan Gilmore, his culinary team, and the new catering company Oakview Hospitality.

Gilmore tells WRBL his passion for culinary arts started when he was 15-years-old when he would walk to and from work just to get the opportunity to cook. With more than 28 years of experience across the nation, Gilmore is looking forward to bringing his own Southern twist to Columbus for hundreds of events to come.

“The history behind these halls are amazing. For me to be just a little part of someone’s future plans, you know, a year or two years in the future, that’s exciting. I’m very humbled by it,” Gilmore said.

Most recently, Gilmore was chef at the Great Wolf Lodge in LaGrange.

Executive Chef Gilmore’s Bio

At a young age Chef Bryan worked in professional kitchens, walking to and from work to afford his first car. Cooking gave him the freedom and creativity to let his passion guide his career. He worked at his first fine dining restaurant at age 17, the iconic Bristol Seafood Grill. From there he was hooked on the Chef’s Life. He attended school at the J.C. Culinary Institute in Kansas and after that he was off to see what this life had in store for him.  His first stop was Alaska cooking at a local resort in the McKinley valley. [He] proceeded to work in some of the finest resorts and inns in the United States. Bar Harbor to Mackinac Island, Yellowstone to Winter Park, Virgin Islands to historic Useppa Island then finally to the Ocean Reef Club one of the most exclusive resorts in the world. He wasn’t done yet; he finally made his home in the South to try his hand at southern cooking at a private Golf Club. From there he led the culinary team at The Marriott Grand National, which was the Highest Rated Marriott in North and South America when he was there. He focuses now on his cuisine, charmingly southern and sophisticated. He takes what he has learned from around the country to make the food here at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center uniquely united and tastefully exquisite.     

Columbus Convention & Trade Center