Tuffy Stone


The Cool Smoke story began with Tuffy Stone in 1987. Tuffy began his cooking career as an apprentice with acclaimed French Chef Alain Vincey at La Maisonette Restaurant in Richmond, Virginia. During the four years in Chef Vincey's kitchen, Tuffy's passion to learn and strong work ethic led him to be promoted to sous chef and partner. After leaving to find new challenges, he spent the subsequent years honing his skills at some of the finest restaurants in Virginia and Florida.

In November of 1993, Tuffy and his wife Leslie opened A Sharper Palate Catering Company, which quickly became a premier caterer in Richmond, a caterer of choice for Richmond's elite, including the Governor of Virginia. A Sharper Palate was voted Best Catering Company by Richmond Magazine year after year.

In 2004, having loved and grown up around great barbeque, and, as a caterer, knowing its ability to satisfy large crowds, Tuffy began researching slow cooking methods involving a wood burning fire. The result, in Tuffy's mind, was better tasting barbeque, so with the help of employees, friends and family, the Cool Smoke Team was born.

In August 2016, Tuffy cooked at the James Beard House in New York to great acclaim.