A native to Apex and with family roots invested in North Carolina, Jake Wood’s passion for food is heavily influenced by his grandparents and the state’s rich agricultural traditions. With inspiration from his family, Jake Wood embarked on a culinary career in Raleigh, which started at 42nd Street Oyster Bar. He began shucking oysters and eventually worked his way up in the restaurant industry. Jake then went on to become the head sushi chef at The Cowfish in Raleigh, and soon after developed the food program for Raleigh Raw as the executive chef. Chef-owner Jason Smith of 18 Restaurant Group mentored Jake and was an advocate of him moving on to the next stages of his career. He most recently served under Smith as the chef de cuisine of Raleigh’s 18 Seaboard, and now serves as the head chef of Plates Neighborhood Kitchen.