Half Shell’s Culinary Team
Chef: Russell Brown
Russell first got interested in the restaurant business at an early age. While growing up in Queens NYC his parents owned a local neighborhood Bar and Grill. It was there that he first made hollandaise with his mother. He was hooked. Russell worked there on weekends and summers until he graduated high school. From there he was off to Johnson and Wales University to study Culinary Arts. After graduating with a degree in Hotel Restaurant Food and Beverage Management he secured a job on the opening staff at the original Capitol Grill Steakhouse in Providence RI. After a few years there he decided to move back to NYC. He worked at well known steakhouses Sparks and The Palm until ending up as the Executive Sous Chef at a small but growing company Strip House. After a few years the restaurant started expanding to other cities like Houston, Las Vegas, and San Juan PR. Russell traveled around opening and training those staffs until they opened in Key West at the Reach Resort. He loved Key West and decided he wanted to stay and became the Executive Chef for the Strip House at the Reach Resort. It was here that Russell fell in love with the food of Key West especially the seafood. After a few years he decided to move on and accepted a position as Sous Chef at the well known Blue Heaven. Russell was eventually promoted to Executive Chef and was enjoying working with the tropical cuisine and seafood of the Florida Keys when the opportunity to take over the Executive Chef position at the Half Shell Raw Bar came up. He jumped at the chance to fully immerse himself into the seafood of the Florida Keys and loved the laid back style of the Half Shell. Russell now enjoys using the freshest fish and juiciest oysters around but be assured they have a really good steak as well.
Sous Chef: Tommy Radziejewski
Chef Tommy, a Conch born and raised on the island of Key West, started his career at the age of 14 assisting the head chef and washing dishes at the Sugarloaf Leisure Club. After high school, Tommy spent 6 years at the infamous Meteor Smokehouse. He worked his way up through the ranks until he was the kitchen manager, in charge of all back-of-house operations. He followed the leadership to their two newest locations, Six Toed Cat and a Key West favorite, Seven Fish.
Striving to tackle a larger operation, Chef Tommy moved over to the Historic Seaport and made his mark at Alonzo’s and Turtle Kraals. After Pat Croce & Company purchased Turtle Kraals and Half Shell Raw Bar in 2012, the Head Chef knew he had the perfect position for Chef Tommy as Sous Chef of Half Shell Raw Bar. As a Conch, Chef Tommy is passionate about cooking with fresh seafood from the Half Shell Fish Market while adding diverse specials to the menu through his island living influence.
Fish Monger: Captain Rick Joyce
Originally from Bethlehem Pennsylvania Rick started at the Half Shell in 1986 since then he has managed the Half Shell Raw Bar Seafood Market. The market supplies all the fresh local seafood directly to the restaurant. Over the years Rick has gained the respect of the local fishermen in return they supply the Half Shell with local fish, lobsters and stone crabs directly from our docks to our tables and fish market. When so many places are not serving fresh seafood you can find Rick early to work everyday making sure that the Half Shell has the freshest seafood. This also goes for our Gulf Oysters, Rick continues to search out the best Gulf oyster and Florida Indian River Clams for the restaurant. Not much has changed in the 31 years that Rick has been at the Half Shell we still serve fresh seafood in the original Key West atmosphere since 1972.