Chef Brett McKee
Born and raised in Brooklyn and Long Island, New York, Chef McKee’s upbringing inspired the eclectic creativity that has formed his legendary culinary career. Growing up, Chef Brett McKee was influenced by his own Irish-Norwegian background, as well as the abundantly diverse cultures found in the melting pot of New York. In 1983, he officially began his career in Manhattan and the Hamptons after graduating first in his class from the New York Restaurant School. In 1989, he ventured south to Charleston, South Carolina where he introduced his culinary creations to the what is now awarded as The #1 Tourist City in the World. In 1991, Chef McKee opened Hugo’s on the Isle of Palms prior to showcasing his flair for upscale Italian cuisine at Union Hall. He then opened two namesake restaurants, Brett’s and Brett’s at the Wickliffe House.
Local to Global
Chef McKee thrived on his culinary success while Charleston raved about his personality as much as his restaurants. He left his first, and most significant, footprint on the Charleston restaurant community with the opening of Oak Steakhouse in 2005. Housed in a historic 1850’s building, the classically elegant steakhouse offered exceptional food, service and an atmosphere that created and sustained memorable dining experiences for Charlestonians and visitors from around the world. Named “Best New Restaurant” by the Charleston City Paper, Brett’s work at Oak Steakhouse was recognized in the New York Times; Bon Appétit; National Geographic Adventure; Esquire Magazine, Southern Living, Women’s Health, Charleston Magazine and Restaurant News. In 2007, Chef McKee was one of five finalists for Chef Magazine’s “Chef of the Year” and in 2008, the Culinary Legend Award at the Charleston Food & Wine Festival.
As a founding member of the Culinary Institute of Charleston, Chef McKee has served his culinary creations to guests at the prestigious James Beard House, the De Gustibus Cooking School at Macy’s and the Charleston Food & Wine Festival. Chef McKee has hosted numerous charitable and fundraising dinner events which include New York’s Statue of Liberty, the home of legendary actor/director Dennis Hopper, the elegant caves of Napa Valley winery Miner Estates and the Australian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Chef McKee’s culinary skills and commitment to philanthropy positively impacted the Charleston community and the world beyond. He was awarded Charleston Magazine’s “Giving Back: Reader’s Choice Award” in the fall of 2007 and the “Paul Hulsey Philanthropy Award” from the YES Carolina Foundation in 2008.
To add to his growing list of restaurants, McKee also launched O-Ku, a high-end Japanese and sushi restaurant on King Street in Charleston which was named one of Esquire's Top New Restaurants in 2010 by John Mariani.
Today, Chef Brett has taken a step away from the traditional restaurant industry and partnered with Kathy Downey, a local designer and developer, who inspired McKee to bring his culinary flare and talents to create memories for individuals, businesses, and a wide array of private events. The two joined together to provide the perfect backdrop by opening The McKee's at 139B. With a culinary passion fueled by the memories a meal can create, Brett McKee is now transforming the typical dining experience by focusing on lending his culinary talents to being a personal chef, hosting fine dining private parties and corporate events, providing nutritional counseling, private cooking classes and meal planning. One of Chef Mckee’s newest ventures is his own personal brand, created by and with Kathy Downey who has been a designer and developer for over 20 years "Insanely Good". Chef Brett brings 40 years of culinary expertise into the intimacy of your home, helping to make all of your dining experiences Insanely Good. Chef Brett believes that more than cooking skills are passed down through the kitchen and over an Insanely Good meal.
What is "Insanely Good"?
A relationship that began as Facebook friends turned into a conversation, friendship and ultimately an insanely good partnership and a new promising business.
The creation of Insanely Good came about from a discussion of dreams and ambitions between founders Chef Brett Mckee and Kathy Downey. Brett wanted to bring his passion for good cuisine into the privacy of people’s homes, not only by providing cooking classes and private events, but also by making products that he uses in most of his recipes available for purchase.
Kathy, whom Brett refers to as the brains behind the idea, brings her 20 plus years of graphic design and web experience to breathe life into the brand and help Brett realize his dreams in the form of an online store. Many of our most precious memories are created over a good meal with family and friends.
Brett Mckee was raised in a home that held family in high regard. He credits his early cooking experience to his mother and grandmother and recalls fond memories of his large family gathering round the table for a good meal. Likewise, Kathy Downey comes from a large Southern family where cooking and family meals have been a cornerstone in her life and the lives of her children. These days, in our fast paced lives, dinner and heirlooms of the past are now replaced with quick fix meals and meaningless disposable items; mutli-colored plastic cutting sheets, microwaveable dinners, and take out food. Families rarely take the time to sit down together for a simple dinner at the end of a busy day.
Brett took a look as his own life and realized that in the hustle and bustle of everyday, he was loosing what he had cherished and enjoyed growing up and was sacrificing years of memories with his children by not sharing this precious gift of tradition with his own family. Now, having founded Insanely Good, Brett aims to take his 40 years of culinary experience combined with Kathy’s graphic and marketing expertise to become purveyors of memories.
The Insanely Good collection is comprised of simple essentials that are timeless and fashioned to last through generations. Our first launch includes a small preview of things to come; like Middleton made knives, cutting boards crafted by Kathy’s father, hand-dipped wooden bowls and some of Brett’s family’s favorite spice rubs, like his Tuscan Rub and his daughter’s favorite French Toast Suga'.
We are dedicated to bringing you high-quality and stylish products that have been crafted with care with the thought of your family in mind. Cook, eat, enjoy, and keep in mind that you are creating memories that are Insanely Good!
To view our line of Insanely Good products please visit: http://shopinsanelygood.com/
For further information please contact us at:
The McKee’s at 139B Market Street