Photo by Sara Wood, SFA

Carlisle Bannister

“Food is my life,” says Chef Carlisle, a fourth-generation Richmond restaurateur. Carlisle learned scratch cooking in his grandparents’ kitchen and at the Campus Room, the beloved Virginia Commonwealth University institution owned and operated by his parents for more than three decades. A graduate of the University of South Carolina, Carlisle has worked in all aspects of restaurants, fine dining, corporate food service and catering, operating his own boutique catering company, Culinary Connection, since 1999. He’s passionate about fresh, local ingredients and expressing his deep Southern heritage on the plate. His ultimate goal: making diners happy. “I love to cook, and I love to engage with people,” Carlisle says. When he’s not wearing the white jacket, Carlisle enjoys fathering four active kids, coaching football, hunting and fishing.