Cooking in a way you will never forget!
The History of The Stocked Pot & Company Cooking School and Culinary Team Building Activities & Events
It all started in 1985 when Chef Donald McMillan with more than 30 years’ experience in the food industry purchased The Stocked Pot and Company, which was originally located at Reynolda Village. Next in 1989 Chef Don’s love of food led him to open Gisele Fine Foods, a restaurant named after his wife, and take over the catering facilities at the Sawtooth Building art complex in downtown Winston-Salem. In 1991 The N.C. School of the Arts then approached him to take over operations at the Stevens Center Arts Theatre, in the heart of downtown. Chef Don named the restaurant after another woman he admired, Edith Piaf. Chef Donald McMillan operated the Triad’s famous cooking school and Catering by Simple Elegance since November 1985 until ownership changed hands to his son Andrew McMillan in 2008. Andrew has enjoyed a lifetime of great culinary experiences as his travels have taken him around the world visiting over 31 countries on six continents. During the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Andrew managed the South African Pavilion in charge of feeding over 400 athletes and support personnel four meals a day, as well as catering many VIP functions for the government of South Africa. These experiences play an important part in his role as CEO and President of The Stocked Pot Cooking School and Retail Store and Fun Culinary Team Building Events, Catering by Simple Elegance, as is evident in his extensive knowledge of wine and food at all the events he plans and caters.
In November 2008 The Stocked Pot Cooking School and Retail Store moved to its current location at 381 Jonestown Road in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Here, cooking skills and techniques are learned and improved, and as The Winston-Salem Journal noted, “The Stocked Pot taught Winston-Salem how to cook.” In addition, Andrew created an online business which grew expediently from dog and cat apparel and bowls and home décor to name brand quality cookware, knives and kitchen gadgets.
The Stocked Pot and Company, Catering by Simple Elegance and Chef Donald McMillan C.E.C. A.A.C. have been noted and written about numerous times in popular media, including: Southern Living Magazine, Home Plate Cooking Show and the Rick & Bubba Show on Turner South, Southern Outdoors on Fox Sports South, The Hallmark Channel and The Sundance Channel both with Dr. Maya Angelou, North Carolina Magazine, The National Culinary Review, WXII News Channel 12 Monday’s Menu–a weekly cooking show for over 16 years, and many others. Chef Donald McMillan C.E.C. A.A.C. has been active on the boards of Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce Executive Board, Forsyth County Tourism Development Authority, Forsyth County Restaurant Association, Piedmont Opera Board, Forsyth County Family Services, to name a few.
We are continually setting the culinary trends in the Piedmont Triad and have been since 1985. We stay current by using local ingredients and finding new and creative ways to cook, such as using liquid nitrogen to make ice cream and freeze Popcorn to created Dragon’s Breath and much more. Our catering company, Catering by Simple Elegance, continues to gain new fans as well as keeping existing customers by fostering long term relationships. Our food styling, presentation, service and quality are well recognized in the area. Supporting family businesses and hiring local from our community keeps us mindful of our start in 1985. Our company, Fun Culinary Team Building at The Stocked Pot and Company is a big and growing part of our business with customers such as Novant Health, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Wake Forest University, Atlantic Coast Conference, PepsiCo, Reynolds American, Hanes Brands, Volvo Cars and Trucks, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney taking part in our exciting Team Building Events Experiences. We serve the entire Piedmont Triad area; Winston Salem, Greensboro and High Point, including Charlotte and Raleigh and all of North Carolina, Southern Virginia and Northern South Carolina.
We extend our thanks and gratitude to our customers for their continued loyalty and supporting our second-generation family business. We look forward to providing you the very best in culinary experiences and customer service.
Andrew McMillan CEO and President
Laurie McMillan CFO
Chef Donald McMillan C.E.C. A.A.C.
Meet Our Culinary Dream Team
|Andrew McMillan||Chef Donald McMillan||Laurie Southerland|
|Chef Tyler Macon||Chef Lisa Russell|
Our Community Involvement
Our commitment to service, teamwork, and integrity extends well beyond the wall of The Stocked Pot and Company Cooking School and Team Building Events and Catering by Simple Elegance. Consistent with our mission, vision and core values, our staff are involved in community efforts and charitable initiatives throughout the Piedmont Triad and beyond. The Stocked Pot and Company along with Catering by Simple Elegance, owned and operated by Andrew and Donald McMillan since 1985, has a continued history of supporting our Community. Food and Nutrition play a very important part in our livelihood and Simple Elegance has been at the forefront since its inception. North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt recognized this contribution when he awarded our company the 1994 Governor’s Business Award in the Arts and Humanities. The many community organizations aided by the efforts of the McMillan family are too numerous to list; but the need is long and our efforts will continue to assist as many as feasible.
Chef Don McMillan C.E.C. A.A.C. instituted through The American Culinary Federation, a Chef and Child hands-on nutrition culinary training for area children. It started in 1991 in Forsyth County and to date has expanded to 17 North Carolina counties, training over 220 children each summer. In addition, Chefs Donald and Andrew McMillan in 2010 were invited to the White House by First Lady Michelle Obama to join chefs from across our country to participate in the Chefs Move to Schools program. This program assists local schools in providing nutritious meals to our school children. Three local schools are now part of this program, as well as a hands-on culinary program for Head Start children and their families, conducted each school year. An annual Childhood Nutrition Day Breakfast with the ACF Chefs held each October, showcases the need for good nutrition for all our children. This grand event, which is held in four locations and hosted by The Triad Chapter of The American Culinary Federation, will feed over 1200 healthy breakfasts to Head Start Children, their families, teachers, community leaders, first responders, local college students and athletes.
We at The Stocked Pot and Company Cooking School and Team Building Events and Catering by Simple Elegance, strongly feel that the future of our community is within the hands and stomachs of our children.
1984 North Carolina Governor’s Award
1985 Winston-Salem, Forsyth Country Hiring Handicapped Award
1988 Chef of The Year, Medal and Plaque, American Culinary Federation
1998 Community Service, Franklin Beal Award, Silver Plaque, American Culinary Federation
1988 The N.C. Food and Wine Festival, Medal
1989 Style Magazine Chef of The Year
1992 Presidents Medal, American Culinary Federation
1994 Presidents Medal, American Culinary Federation
1994 Entrepreneurial Success of The Year, Great Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce
1995 Presidents Medal, American Culinary Federation
1995 Chef of The Year, Medal and Plaque, American Culinary Federation
1997 Presidents Medal, American Culinary Federation
1998 Childhood Hunger Day, Two Medals
2000 Presidents Medal, American Culinary Federation
2000 ACF Chef’s Forum Award
2002 Presidents Medal, American Culinary Federation
2007 True Spirit Award, American Culinary Federation
2010 Hermann G. Rusch Chef’s Achievement Award, American Culinary Federation
2012 Chef of The Year, Plaque, American Culinary Federation, Triad Chapter
2013 Chef Professionalism Plaque, American Culinary Federation, North Carolina Chapter
2018 American Academy of Chefs Community Service Award
2018 Awarded, 7 over 70 from Senior Services of Forsyth County
1994 North Carolina Governor’s Business Award in the Arts and Humanities
The award was presented to Simple Elegance Restaurants, Inc. for its long-standing support of the arts to improve the quality of life in the communities in which it does business.
The American Academy of Chefs
1997 Inducted into The American Academy of Chefs, The Honor Society of the ACF: An Honor Society – The American Academy of Chefs (AAC) promotes high standards and professionalism for the culinary arts. AAC ensure the future of the culinary industry through mentoring and scholarship programs.
Associations, Certificates and Appreciation
1987 A Night of Wine and Roses, National Multiple Sclerosis Society
1987 Distinguished Volunteer Leadership, March of Dimes
1997 Inducted into The American Academy of Chefs, The Honor Society of the ACF
1997 1st Time Campaign Award, United Way of Forsyth County
1999 9th Annual CONTACT: Helpline of the Triad
2007 – 2008 Excellence in Teaching, Honor Roll, Culinary Instructor at GTCC
2012 Best Community Partner and Best Chef Award, Family Services
2013 North Carolina Chef Of The Year, Achievement Award, Family Services
Kauffman Entrepreneur Internship Program Award
The Blue Chip Enterprise Award, From Connecticut Mutual, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Nation’s Business.
La Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, Vice Conseiller Culinaire Du Bailliage De Winston Salem
Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine
La Confrerie Des Amis Des Formages De France
Le Comite National Des Vins De France
- Chamber of Commerce
- A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau – Donald C. McMillan C.E.C. A.A.C. – Past Board Member (not a member)
- Visit Winston Salem
- IACP – International Association of Culinary Professionals
- IFSEA – International Food Services Executives Association
- ACF – American Federation of Chefs
- AAC – American Academy of Chefs
- The Chef and Child Foundation – As a leading voice in the fight against childhood hunger and obesity, the foundation provides education and assistance to promote the understanding of proper nutrition.
- Chefs Move to Schools – Chef Donald McMillan has taken the lead role in the Piedmont Triad to help with this worthy cause. This exciting initiative was created by First Lady Michelle Obama and Sam Kass, White House senior policy adviser for healthy food initiatives, as part of the White House’s Let’s Move campaign.
Our company offers the best in culinary experiences and customer service. We specialize in culinary team building events for celebrating company achievements, entertaining clients or rewarding employees. Contact us today at 336-692-8624.