Chef TJ notes, “We source our pork from Heritage Farms, our cheese from Ashe County, our NC seafood directly from the Coast. Our chicken is from Prestige Farms in Charlotte. Veggies and herbs come from right here at the North Carolina State Farmer’s Market in Raleigh. Everything we serve is fresh — never ever frozen.”
Chef TJ Donovan comes by his profession naturally. Born in Wilson, NC, TJ first learned about pleasing people with delicious food from his Dad, who ran several restaurants including a popular steak house. After helping out in the family business TJ learned every aspect of the restaurant calling. There were some side roads taken, too, but as TJ says, “Sitting at a desk was not for me. I need to stand in front of a stove.” A professional chef since 2004, TJ says he loves “the creativity and artwork” of dreaming up and then making new and interesting dishes, and derives real satisfaction when people love what he makes.
Jill Donovan is TJ’s wife and a natural born entrepreneur. She grew up in a family that was passionate about business; it was the focus of dinner table talk from as early as she can remember. Jill dreamed from her childhood days of owning her own company. Thirteen years ago she founded Jill’s Beach, the Triangle’s premiere tanning destination, now with four popular locations. When she met her future husband and discovered his amazing talent in the kitchen, the natural next step for the two of them was to start Donovan’s Dish.
Jill and TJ started Donovan’s Dish in 2011 (they’ve also started a family; they have two daughters, Jillian and Pressley). The Donovans and their professional team have been working magic ever since.