Kelly English is executive chef/owner of Restaurant Iris and The Second Line in Memphis and executive chef of Magnolia House in Biloxi.
English studied family and consumer sciences at the University of Mississippi where he was a member of Kappa Alpha Order. He paid his way through college serving as a cook in local kitchens. The experience inspired the Louisiana native to continue to pursue his passion for food at the Culinary Institute of America, where in addition to studying abroad in France and Spain, English graduated at the top of his class in 2004.
He returned to New Orleans in 2004 to cook under the auspices of Chef John Besh in some of the city’s most celebrated restaurants before moving to Memphis and opening Restaurant Iris in 2008. Two years later, he was named a James Beard Award Semifinalist for Best Chef: Southeast, appeared on the Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” and earned Memphis Restaurant Association’s “Restaurateur of the Year” award.
English has been featured in Food & Wine magazine, Everyday with Rachel Ray, Bon Appétit, Garden & Gun and the cookbook Wild Abundance. He also serves on the Founder’s Council for the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival and was named a “Young Memphian” by the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce and “Top 40 Under 40” by the Memphis Business Journal in 2013. He was recognized in 2013 with the Thomas A. Crowe Outstanding Alumnus Award by the School of Applied Sciences at the University of Mississippi.