Farm 255 prides itself as a collaborative in which teamwork triumphs over individual performance. Our ability to work well together, to inspire, engage and challenge each other is the element we believe best supports us in the face of inevitable setbacks and successes both, however small or big. Our management structure is collective, we are one unit rather than a ladder of bosses. Our crew on the ground carry the spirit of our partnership at its back, and are ambassadors of our message.
Check out our quotidian antics in the restaurant and on our farms below, Farm 255's folks in photos.
Managing Partner Olivia SargeantOlivia Sargeant occupies the role of managing partner. She graduated from Haverford College in 1999 and pursued a career in the non-profit world with arts and culture as her area of focus. Between 2000 and 2002, she worked in New York as an Associate Producer for Cabengo, a boutique strategic communications firm for clients in art and education. Switching her focus to agriculture, she left New York for Italy where she embraced organic agriculture literally from the ground up by learning how to farm. She worked for two years as a farmer in Italy and Northern California while simultaneously working as a program director for NextCourse, an organization that works exclusively in underserved communities to educate individuals about their food choices. She moved to Georgia in 2004 to develop Farm 255’s menu and unique local sourcing system, began as the Head Chef, and occupied the role of General Manager for 3 years until late 2010. She currently splits time between the Bay Area, the southeast, and Italy, working as a local food "market-maker" to build models for regional food economies through operations systems, communications, and education. She continues to oversee the 255 team in her role as Managing Partner, and farms at Full Moon on her days in Georgia.
Farmer & Partner Jason MannJason Mann is Farm Director of Full Moon and Moonshine Meats, and President of the Settebello Restaurant Group, LLC. He oversees the financial, political, and culinary direction of Farm 255. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2000 and is currently a doctoral candidate in Ecology at the University of Georgia in Athens. For the past 13 years he has been directly engaged in all sectors of the food and beverage industry. With his extensive connections and experience within the organic agricultural community of the Southeast he helps facilitate the sourcing relationships that are paramount to Farm 255’s long-term strategic vision. Jason is also a founding partner of Farm Burger, our sister operation with locations in Decatur and Atlanta, Georgia, as well as 1000 Faces Coffee here in Athens. Jason and his wife Laura are responsible for cultivating our vegetables, our animals, and our rising star butcher farmer entrepreneur-in-training Baby Judah the Lion, their first born son.
Executive Chef Whitney Otawka
Whitney’s leap into the culinary world was inspired by her inner Francophile. While taking French classes at the University of California-Berkeley, she responded to an advertisement for a waitress position at a local French creperie. Without any waitressing experience at her back, she didn’t get the job, but instead was hired as one member of a two-person kitchen. The owner filled the menu with his mother’s Brittany-based recipes, and spent evenings introducing Whitney to a world of gastronomy and fine wine. Here she discovered her innate discipline and rigor, and a passion that would allow her to thrive in the grueling environment of a restaurant kitchen.She continued her culinary learning in restaurants in California until she moved to Athens in 2005, were she quickly worked her way up to Sous Chef of 5&10 under Chef Hugh Acheson. For part of her tenure, she simultaneously worked as Chef de Partie of Linton Hopkins' Restaurant Eugene in Atlanta. During her years at 5&10, she took time out to hold numerous stages in New York's finest restaurants such as Per Se and Le Bernardin, and work with chefs and winemakers across Europe. In 2010 Whitney moved on to a unique opportunity in coastal Georgia at the prestigious Greyfield Inn of Cumberland Island, where she served as Executive Chef until most recently leaving to film Top Chef Season 9 in Texas. From her humble beginnings as a cook through her more recent accomplishments, she has always been deeply influenced by the old world, traditional country dishes of France, Italy, Spain and the south. She approaches her menus with the goal of bringing new flavors to rustic cuisine while exhibiting utmost technique and craftsmanship.
Settebello Restaurant Group
Farm 255 is owned and managed by the Settebello Restaurant Group, LLC, a partnership of five young entrepreneurs. In addition to Olivia Sargeant and Jason Mann, Settebello is made up of the following other partners. Prior to Farm 255 we have each participated in some aspect of the operation of Full Moon Farms. Individually, we have further experience in the food and agricultural industries; collectively, our understanding of culinary arts, business management, financial risk, and community development is vast.
Kate Venugopal (Smith)
As a home grown Georgian, Kate entered Settebello Restaurant Group, LLC with a distinctly Southern flair. She is the only member of the team with roots that dig deep into the Georgia clay. Kate comes from Darien, a small town on the coast of Georgia where much of the Farm's seafood is sourced. She was the FOH Manager of Farm 255 for its first year, and single-handedly developed the Farm's unique style of southern hospitality. She is a graduate of UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences where she earned a B.S. in Horticulture and was the first graduate of the University's Certificate Program in Organic Agriculture. After four years in Washington, D.C. working on agricultural and environmental policy, Kate and her husband recently moved to San Francisco where she currently works with the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance.
As the founding General Manager of Farm 255, Jerid Grandinetti managed all facets of the restaurant’s operations for its first 2 years. In 1999, he completed a degree in Political Economy of Industrial Societies (P.E.I.S.) from the University of California, Berkeley. In 2000, along with Jason Mann and Jeff Stoike, he co-founded Troubadours, a catering cooperative which specialized in providing artfully prepared meals consisting of goods grown sustainably and produced locally. Thereafter, he accepted a relationship management position at Wellington Management, a Boston-based global investment manager. From 2003-2005, prior to opening the restaurant, Jerid also served as the Assistant Director of Full Moon Farms. Jerid now lives with wife Missey, daughter Audrey, and dog Giuseppe outside of Boston.