Despite great professional success and well-deserved public accolades, Chef Trey Wilson still prefers the heat of his own kitchen to that of the spotlight.
However, for what he lacks in self-promoting bravado, Trey makes up for in his intense focus and passion for his craft. Simply ask anyone who has been a patron of his first restaurant project, Customshop, and he or she will confirm that Trey’s extraordinary talent speaks directly through his food.
A Charlotte native, Trey’s culinary journey began at age 16 with his first job tossing pizzas and making pasta in a small Italian restaurant. Here, he developed an infatuation with food that would eventually lead him to pursue a culinary degree from Johnson & Wales University. Trey completed several internships in Asheville and Charleston, and graduated with honors from JWU in 1996.
Deciding to return to Charlotte, Trey continued to work with some of the area’s finest chefs in various restaurants, constantly seeking and learning new skills. In 2000, he began a 6 year stretch with Dean & Deluca in Charlotte, where he quickly rose to become executive chef. Finally, after two years of meticulous planning, Trey and his team conceived and built the Customshop, which opened its doors in 2007.
It is Trey’s insatiable curiosity along with his commitment to using local, farm-fresh foods that drive Customshop’s vision. Never satisfied with the ordinary, he searches worldwide for new and exciting dishes, wines, and methods to entice the palate of his patrons. At Customshop, Trey has pioneered the sous vide method, an advanced cooking technique that was developed in Eastern Europe, bringing something new to the Charlotte food scene and making a notable contribution to “New Southern Cuisine.”
With the help of favorable articles in national and local publications, Customshop’s loyal patronage has been steadily building in number and geography. The professional humility and talent of Chef Trey and his team have quickly helped to make Customshop a tremendous success and local favorite.
J.J. Levine has never met a stranger. His bright smile and warm manner give instant comfort. With his inherent charisma and instilled hospitality, restaurants are a natural place for him. As a Charlotte native, the number of those he knows by name or face has grown along with the city itself.
J.J. began in the service industry at a lively neighborhood hot spot, which brought to life his intuition and recall, marking him as a waiter of choice. Regulars would wait for a table in his section regardless of available seating elsewhere in the restaurant. What began as a natural propensity for helping customers to enjoy their dining experience, quickly burgeoned into a successful career.
Fundamentally, it is J.J.’s love of food and wine that draws him to the business. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the College of Charleston in South Carolina, he spent 18 months in Europe which exposed him to dining that would influence his desire for authentic, old-world cuisine. As well, he spent time bartending at a neighborhood wine bar, broadening his knowledge of the wine world. Winning a local entertainment weekly’s “Reader’s Choice Award” for best bartender was the last hurrah as he moved onto a career in the wine wholesale industry. Confidence and ease in finding the right drink for the right moment led to his success in selling wine to various and diverse restaurants.At Customshop, J.J. has hand selected an eclectic list of red, white, and rose wines from around the world, as well as some unique and interesting new cuveés. His love of the industry and natural skill in choosing palate-pleasing wines have helped J.J. to build a wine program for Customshop that allows patrons to enjoy wines of unparalleled quality at an unmatched value.
When Jeremy Bevins walked into the Customshop in March 2008 as an experienced sous chef, he knew exactly what he was seeking: a place to work with one of the most capable executive chefs in the industry.
What Jeremy did not realize was that his own personal philosophy - “when you stop learning, you have failed yourself” – was also shared by Owner/Chef and fellow Johnson & Wales alumni, Trey Wilson, and that the two would quickly become friends.
Jeremy began his culinary career in Huntington, WV, where he worked his way through college at a local steakhouse. During his time at Marshall University, Jeremy learned every aspect of the restaurant business by working as a front line cook, back line prep cook, server, and front of house manager. He completed his bachelor’s degree in business management in 2004 and worked for two years with an in-house communications agency.
Not too long afterward, Jeremy’s love of food drew him back to restaurant work. He jumped in and learned every aspect of the kitchens in which he worked – from meat and seafood, to catering, to specializing as a pastry chef. His versatility and skill make him an asset to Customshop’s kitchen. Chef Trey Wilson claims that “Jeremy is a steady hand. He always keeps his sense of humor in the kitchen and knows how to dig in and get things done when the pressure is on. His commitment to quality and his intuition are a great match for Customshop.”
Cooking is a family affair at Customshop and Amy Somerville, sister of Chef/Owner Trey Wilson, is an integral team member.
Amy has more than 25 years experience in the Food and Beverage Industry, specializing in various aspects of the field, such as coffees and vegetarian dishes. She has worked in every area of a restaurant – heading up both front and back of the house duties. Hostess, server, cook, and manager are all part of her resume.
Amy has also spent much of her life traveling across the U.S. and the world. She spent two years living in Jamaica before eventually returning home to Charlotte, NC to take her place at Customshop.
One of Amy’s positions at Customshop is charcuterie chef; you will see her behind the bar crafting delicious salads and starters. Having been chef and manager of a vegetarian kitchen, Amy uses her expertise to create special dishes for our vegetarian customers as well. Her extensive travels and restaurant experience have helped Amy to bring a breadth of knowledge to her various roles at Customshop.
Trey says of Amy: “Her work ethic is unmatched. She is uniquely talented - meticulous and precise in her cooking skills, but also has the ability to manage the service staff and front of house operations. When she came back to work at Customshop, her presence made a difference that was immediately noticeable. I feel very lucky to have her on my team.”