Chef Van Cleve grew up in Washington state, amidst views of the beautiful Mt. St. Helens where he cultivated a love for the outdoors and garden-to-table cooking. As a child, he often worked with his grandparents in their gardens and used fresh produce to create delicious home-cooked meals. He put his adoration for cooking with organic ingredients on hold as
an adult when he moved to New Orleans, La.
In New Orleans, he embraced his interest in gardening and started a successful landscaping business. It was a dream come true to be paid to create something beautiful with nature. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and destroyed his home and business. Van Cleve escaped the storm by coming to Atlanta where he was immediately greeted with a warm southern welcome. Inspired by the southern hospitality he experienced, he decided to make Atlanta his new home.
He had fulfilled his love for nature and the outdoors with his landscaping business in New Orleans and wanted a fresh start in Atlanta. Re-familiarizing himself with his love of cooking, Van Cleve enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Atlanta, and enjoyed meshing natural ingredients and working with his hands to create culinary works of art.
Upon graduation, Van Cleve worked at Alon's Bakery in the pastry department and then Luckie Food Lounge as an assistant pastry chef. Now at Shaun's, he has quickly advanced from head pastry chef to sous chef and is enjoying his first love of cooking with organic ingredients to create comfortable food in a relaxing environment.