A 2003 graduate of Johnson and Wales University, Chef Hamilton earned his stripes as a rising star in the Southeast working for acclaimed Chef Frank Lee at Maverick Southern Kitchens in Charleston. Upon arrival in the District, he took a position at Vidalia under the direction of James Beard Award-winning Chef Jeffrey Buben. Over the course of nearly a decade, Johnson honed his culinary talents and worked his way up to Executive Chef of the Southern-inspired restaurant.
Under Chef Hamilton’s watch, Vidalia received a raving, three-star review from The Washington Post’s Tom Sietsema, cementing its reputation as one of the most beloved and acclaimed restaurants in Washington, D.C. Hamilton attributes his ascendence and skill-building to Chef Buben’s mentoring and thoughtful guidance.
After setting off to begin his own venture, with a successful stint premiering Honeysuckle at the Prequel pop-up location in downtown Washington, D.C., Chef Hamilton returned to his longtime home in Dupont Circle, taking over the location that was previously Vidalia. Designer Ron Saleh transformed the space into a vibrant and eclectic reflection of the Chef himself. A bar-length ceiling mural by artist Rick Bach features depictions of Hamilton’s tattoos, and portraits of some of his favorite musicians line the walls of the dining room.
Chef Hamilton regularly participates in international culinary competitions, last year placing second in the Food & Fun Festival held in Finland. Time spent abroad continues to inform his direction at Honeysuckle, as he melds Nordic flavors and techniques with the rich traditions of Southern cookery.