As general manager, Vincent is involved in all aspects of Canoe’s smooth-running operation. Orchestrating the day-to-day tasks is not an easy job, but one Vincent rises to with grace and ease.“It’s a tremendous feeling to come in and watch the choreography that takes place here every day,” Vincent says. “It’s almost like a giant dance. The service staff is having fun and focusing on the guests. The culinary team is producing some of the finest food Atlanta has to offer. It all just comes together. It’s instant gratification for me.”
Vincent has developed a well-trained, approachable staff. “The kind of people that work at Canoe can be summed up in one word: Extraordinary. We ask our people to work harder than they’ve ever worked before. We ask them to be more committed, more dedicated and more on top of their game than they’ve ever had to be. They manage to come in here and do it – day after day after day. They’ve bought into what we’re trying to accomplish here at Canoe, to be the best dining destination in Atlanta.”
What does Vincent love most about Canoe? “It feels comfortable, like you’re going to a friend’s house to eat. There’s a familiarity with the guests and the staff, as well as a genuine warmth and hospitality that really makes people feel special when they come here.”
Shortly after taking his first restaurant job in his late teens, Matthew Basford knew that he was headed for a career in the restaurant business. Growing up in Australia, Basford was exposed to cooking techniques that drew influence from Pan-Asian cuisine. He started his culinary journey at Pear Tree Cottage in Greenock, followed by Vintner’s Bar and Grill in Angaston. He was awarded Second Place in Tasting Australia in two consecutive competitions and placed in the Nestle Junior Chefs of Australia Competition, a yearly event that honors the top apprentices in the country. After completing his four year apprenticeship, Basford was officially a “Qualified Chef”, and travelled to the United States.
In December 2002, Basford moved to New Orleans, LA and began working at Dominique’s, at the Maison Dupuy Hotel in the French Quarter. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, Basford was relocated to Atlanta, GA. Within a week, Basford found himself in the Canoe kitchen. He started as line cook, and worked his way up the ranks from sous chef to executive sous chef, and finally, chef de cuisine. In 2013, Basford was named executive chef of Canoe and continues the legacy of the city’s longstanding bastion of fine dining. His commitment to serving fresh, seasonal ingredients marries well with the rich tradition of Canoe.
Executive Pastry Chef
Chef Jessica McKinney’s passion for the culinary arts began at an early age, having been raised by chef parents and spending much of her time with her siblings in and out of restaurant kitchens. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA Jessica graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in 2012. She took her talents to the Four Seasons Atlanta, rising to become the Pastry Chef de Partie, and then went on to serve as the Executive Pastry Chef at Druid Hills Golf Club. Jessica is excited to join the Canoe team alongside Executive Chef Matthew Basford, bringing her passion for chocolate confections and affinity for boozy desserts as Executive Pastry Chef. As an avid beekeeper, Jessica looks forward to incorporating fresh honey into Canoe’s dessert menu by adding a beekeeping space to the restaurant’s iconic gardens. When she is not in the kitchen, Jessica loves to play with her French bulldog, Cecilia, and gather with her family on Sundays for dinner.
Kevin Cornish is the beverage director at Canoe restaurant in Atlanta. Cornish has been working in the hospitality industry since 1989 with his first position being at the New York Athletic Club Traver’s Island property as a busser. Since that time, Cornish has worked in every facet of the foodservice industry. Cornish began his study of Hospitality Management at Virginia Tech and finished at Georgia Southern University.
Prior to Canoe, Cornish worked at The Copper Kitchen in Bluffton, South Carolina and The Oyster Bar in Savannah, Georgia. A member of the Canoe team since 2005, Cornish started out as head bartender and worked under the guidance of an advanced Sommelier to help develop Canoe’s wine program and broaden his own knowledge of wine. Now, as beverage director, Cornish is responsible for a wine list containing over 450 selections. Cornish is in the constant pursuit of finding great wine to pair with great food.
Having passed his first level of the Court of Master Sommelier, Kevin continues to grow and advance his studies to further pursue more levels of certification. He will sit for certification next spring when the court returns to Atlanta.
Kevin has traveled to study wine in Italy in 2011, visiting Tuscany and Piedmont. In 2015, Kevin traveled to Oregon to learn and develop his knowledge of the Willamette Valley. In 2016, Kevin will visit wineries in California and has been invited to attend Malbec camp in Mendoza, Argentina, hosted by Laura Catena of Catena Wines.
Special Events Manager
With a love for hospitality and the restaurant industry, Kelly Warlow joined the Canoe team in 2006 as a server. Quickly becoming fond of creating experiences for guests that are special and memorable, Warlow rose through the ranks and took the position of Special Events Manager in 2021. She takes pride in growing the Canoe brand and elevating the private event and wedding scene at the restaurant while making sure each guest if satisfied with their experience.
Special Events Coordinator
Dolly Phommachack started working in the restaurant industry at the age of 16 gaining experience as she moved through the ranks of service. She discovered her passion for special events when she became the Lead Banquet Server and Assistant Events Coordinator for STK Atlanta. Building on the laddered successes of her impassioned career, Phommachack continues her growth as the Special Events Coordinator of Canoe, bringing with her a great sense of pride in impeccable event execution and exceeding guests’ expectations.