Located in the heart of uptown Charlotte at Trade & Tryon, and only steps away from the Spectrum Center. Essex is the perfect place for happy hour, evening cocktails, after dinner drinks, late night rendezvous, and private parties!
He carries extensive knowledge of worldly flavors and creates spectacular world cuisine. He introduces new methods and flavors from comfort food to classical French.
Curtis’ passion to the hospitality industry has been ever growing since the age of 12 when he worked as a dishwasher. Later promoted to the lead grill position at the age of 16, Curtis’ experience allowed him a comprehensive understanding of the restaurant industry that led to his success.
A native of Augusta, Georgia, Curtis moved to Charlotte in 1995 and joined the opening teams of three well-known Charlotte establishments. Experience in opening new restaurants instilled a strong foundation for him to be at the center of Essex Bar & Bistro’s kitchen.
Curtis received his Bachelor’s degree from Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, NC. He believes the most rewarding part of his job is to creating new flavors for each of his guests.
A graduate from Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island, Wakem started his career out with a management role at Walt Disney World in Orlando, this led him to the new business division of Darden Restaurants. In this role, he helped create the Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52 concepts.
In 2012, he was on the opening team for E2 Emeril’s Eatery at Levine Center for the Arts. Following his experiences as a member of the opening team at E2, Wakem opened Smoke Modern Barbecue. While at Smoke, he developed and trained the staff which helped establish a strong commitment to service and excellence.
Wakem believes the most rewarding part of his job is creating new concepts and helping to develop his employees as professional, productive team members.
Known for her outstanding event production, she truly customizes and tailors each event to her client’s wants and needs. Her attention to detail and passion for creating a memorable experience sets her apart from the rest. Her specialty is engaging with every client to deliver exactly what they envision for their special event.
Ashley brings southern hospitality to a new level. This past April she won Elevate Lifestyles, “Hostess with the Mostess” award. “The most rewarding part is when I see huge smiles on my clients faces or receiving a hug after their event.” Her goal is to make every event special for her clients, which she fully exceeds, going above and beyond to make every clients event spectacular.