Vivace welcomes Travis Hearne as Executive Chef

Charlotte, N.C. – The former executive chef at Red White and Basil and L’Enfant Café in Washington, D.C. has been named the new executive chef at Vivace. Travis Hearne returns to Charlotte to helm the Midtown Italian restaurant. He brings a deep knowledge of restaurant operations, culinary creativity, a flair for artistic plating and presentation and a love of seasonal ingredients to Vivace.

He plans to retain much of the menu, including customer favorites like the Bolognese and Veal Saltimbocca. But he’ll put his own stamp on the menu with signature dishes such as Duck Ragu as well as the Lobster Pasta with creamy spinach and Maine lobster, stuffed pasta, roasted tomato cream sauce, asparagus and parmesan.

“It’s great to join an established and innovative restaurant like Vivace,” Hearne said. “The restaurant already has a following, but I’m hoping to attract a lot of new folks, too. I love being creative and experimental in the kitchen. I’m excited that owners Kevin and Stacey Jennings allow and appreciate that.”

“We are thrilled Chef Hearne is joining us,” said Kevin Jennings, co-owner of Urban Food Group. “We liked his thoughtful approach to developing recipes, his attention to detail, his Chef Travis Hearneteam-building approach to managing a kitchen staff and his love for taking good care of guests. Of course, when you see a national culinary treasure like The Inn at Little Washington on a chef’s resume, that’s also very appealing.”

Hearne calls his year as chef de partie at The Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Va., “life-altering.” The storied Relais and Chateaux inn and restaurant – where a tasting menu runs $218 per person not including wine pairings – are run by Patrick O’Connell and consistently rank as best-in-class. When the esteemed Michelin Guide launched its first guide to Washington, D.C. last October, the Inn at Little Washington was awarded two stars – one of only three restaurants in the D.C. area to earn the distinction – the highest rating in the Washington guide.

“I learned how to ‘speak’ with food,” Hearne says of his time working under and learning from O’Connell. By speaking with food the North Carolina native, has taught himself to push his creative culinary boundaries. “From O’Connell I learned two important lessons,” Hearne continues “First, when it comes to dining, it’s the entire experience that’s important. Second, you should take time in any food you make, and develop it into the best dish that it can be.”

Hearne served as sous chef at Washington’s Passion Food Hospitality from 2012 through 2015. Since 2015, he’s been executive chef at Red White and Basil (a casual pasta spot with a wine bar vibe that Zagat’s 2015 report card listed among D.C.’s most innovative restaurants) and L’Enfant Café, an authentic French café/Adams Morgan hangout. Prior to his years in Washington, Hearne served as sous chef at The Cajun Queen in Elizabeth from 2006 through 2011.

RESERVE: 704-370-7755

WHERE: 1100 Metropolitan Ave.
Charlotte, NC 28204
Complimentary Valet Parking for Dinner

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Kevin and Stacey Jennings founded Urban Food Group in 1998 with the opening of their first concept in Raleigh, N.C. Since then, the seasoned restaurateurs have become recognized nationally for their savvy, urban restaurant concepts, and the excellent quality and superior value delivered at each. Urban Food Group now boasts Vivace (Charlotte, Raleigh); Motto in Durham; Coquette, Chow (both in Raleigh) and Avelina (Denver, Colo.). See for more details.