Born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, Chef Jimmy Norris learned responsibility at a young age. As the oldest of four siblings, in a single parent house hold, Jimmy learned cooking out of necessity. It was helping cook dinner for the family that inspired Jimmy to choose cooking as a career.
Jimmy began his career working under Chef Frank Swygert, who later became his father-in-law, at a restaurant called Steak-Out. Chef Frank taught Jimmy the ins and outs of grilling foods, learning how to cook with temperatures and how to prepare recipes. This foundation provided Jimmy the confidence to branch out and take on new challenges.
Jimmy found those challenges at the Bilo Convention Center in downtown Greenville where he was the assistant chef for all of the road chefs that came into town. He learned different cooking styles, techniques, and recipes during the time he spent working with all different types of chefs, from all around the world. This experience opened Jimmy’s eyes to the diverse world of food.
Jimmy later joined a restaurant called The Playwright where he quickly worked his way up to Head Chef and led a fully staffed kitchen for many years. Throughout Jimmy’s career, he has had two great opportunities that he is most proud of; he gained his own catering contract with the Greenville Pickens Speedway and started up a restaurant in lake Jocassee called the Rock Cafe .
As of today, he is the Chef De Cuisine of The Habitap Restaurant on Miller Road in Greenville where he creates and innovates American Taphouse inspired food. His undeniable passion for cooking shows through in every dish that he creates. His drive and determination to perfect his craft is inspired by his grandfather, the late James Norris, who taught Jimmy the value of a dollar and the importance of hard work and dedication. The love and effort that goes into Jimmy’s cooking has touched many in the Upstate and Jimmy will continue to do so for many years to come.