Growing up in Apex, NC food was always a part of the conversation in Wood’s house. At a young age Wood’s was a very picky eater but enjoyed spending time with his Papa, Allen Lawrence cooking fish in the backyard and going to the farmers market to buy bushels of crawfish that they would feast on all day. Jake was also influenced by his grandmother Helen and has perfected her sweet potato pie recipe and still has family recipes that date back hundreds of years ago. After graduating from High School in 2005 and taking a few college courses, Wood knew that his passion was for cooking and would be the career he sought. His first job was at Raleigh’s famous 42nd Street Oyster Bar shucking oysters and he worked his way up landing a sous position at Goodnights Comedy Club. After that he moved on to The Cowfish and became Head Sushi Chef and worked under Master Sushi Chef Rifali Almunir.
He then went on to develop the food program for Raleigh Raw, a new concept that brought Poke bowls to the area. After a much-needed break Jake joined the team at 18 Seaboard as Chef de Cuisine and while there was the culinary co-chair of The Sunday Supper that raised close to half a million dollars for Hurricane Florence relief. He was also named FSR Magazine National Rising Star and went on to be the Executive Chef of Plates Neighborhood Kitchen. Now entering the next chapter of his career, he is the owner and pitmaster of Lawrence BBQ + Oysters. A new BBQ concept that pays homage to his family’s recipes and his love of BBQ and fire. When Jake is not busy working, he enjoys all things water related and spending time with his lovely wife Brandi and their two children, Brenna Leigh and Lawrence Ayden.