From chef and restaurateur to pitmaster, caterer, competition barbeque cook, and television personality, Tuffy Stone’s nearly 30 years of experience runs the gamut.
Tuffy’s story begins in 1986 in his home state of Virginia. After four years of serving in the Marines, he got his start in restaurants working as front-of-house staff to support himself while he attended Virginia Commonwealth University. Tuffy came to the realization that his talents were better suited in the kitchen, and after researching the top chefs in the area, he approached critically-acclaimed Chef Alain Vincey of La Maisonette in Richmond to offer his services as an apprentice.
Working his way through the ranks, Tuffy developed his culinary craft while serving as Sous Chef, Manager and eventually Partner at La Maisonette before becoming Sous Chef at Millie’s in Richmond in 1991. After a six-year industry tenure, he followed an entrepreneurial itch and opened A Sharper Palate Catering Company in 1993, an upscale catering company that grew to one of the largest in Richmond.
Not one to sit still, Tuffy began dabbling in the art of barbeque, and in 2004 formed a competitive team under the name Cool Smoke. Earning the nickname “The Professor”, he became obsessed with each factor of this slow-cooking method, especially smoke’s ability to dramatically alter the end result. By 2008, Tuffy had garnered national attention in the competitive barbeque circuit, and laid the foundation to open Q Barbeque. Coined as a restaurant offering “better barbeque for everybody,” Q Barbeque has grown to four locations throughout Virginia in just seven years.
When he is not offering tips to up-and-coming pitmasters at competitions or teaching classes with Cool Smoke, he can be seen on Destination America’s BBQ Pitmasters where he has been a judge since 2009. Receiving numerous accolades from The Washington Post, Saveur Magazine, Taste of the South and an appearance in the 2012 documentary, Kings of BBQ Kuwait, Tuffy Stone is considered one of the top pitmasters in the country.
All aboard The Olive Bus! We’re road trippin’ to Richmond for Tuffy’s November 13-14 session of Cool Smoke BBQ School.
Fall Class Schedule — Cool Smoke Competition BBQ School