Behind the scenes at Seasons

Readers’ Choice champs ‘humbled’

Seasons Innovative Bar & Grille owners Deron and Sheah Little have brought a season-driven, innovative American cuisine to the Farragut community.

That cuisine has earned the restaurant at 11605 Parkside Drive the farragutpress Readers’ Choice Award for Best Caterer.

Deron and Sheah Little said they are humbled and honored to receive the award.

“We feel absolutely blessed to win,” Sheah said. “It means [customers] like coming here and we are honored and humbled by that. We want it to be an experience, not just a dining place but for you to come as an experience.”

Regular customer Bruce Taylor of Farragut said he comes in about10 times a week.

“I like the fact it’s local, and [Deron has] got stuff on his menu, like duck, that you can’t find in any other restaurant. Everything is fresh and local and he has a great wine selection,” Taylor said.

Along with its cuisine, the restaurant offers full-service catering.

“We do everything from designing the rooms, table tops and centerpieces,” “Deron said. “We’re consultants and I sculpt ice. We do everything from weddings to brunches to casual lunches.”

Seasons also has wine dinners almost monthly.

“The wine dinners are really special,” Deron said. “It gives us kind of a time to spread our wings a little bit. It’s a five-course meal. We drink six different wines and we have fun.

“It is an amazing experience.”

The Littles attributed the restaurant’s success to its Seasons team, the Lord and the community.

“We’ve got a really great team that’s like family who work great together, and I give all the glory to Jesus. He’s the main thing,” Sheah said.

“This is a family, and without a doubt, from the employees to the customers, it’s a very, very unique place, so this isn’t just about getting nutrition and having dinner, this is about fellowship around a dinner table,” Deron, certified executive chef, said.

Deron also credited Sheah, his wife, for the restaurant’s success.

“I couldn’t do anything without my beautiful wife, the good Lord above and the wonderful employees, so without that recipe, I couldn’t do anything. It’s humbling,” he said.

Seasons Innovative Bar & Grille has been operating for 11 years. Deron opened Seasons first in Renaissance | Farragut then moved the restaurant to Bearden before returning to Farragut to locate the restaurant at its current site in Turkey Creek in 2013.

The inspiration for the restaurant’s name was Deron’s desire to bring back seasonal influences, which was inspired by his mentor, Master Chef Bill Bixby.

Deron, now 54, has been a chef since he was a teenager and worked in a hotel in his hometown with Bixby. Deron said he worked with Bixby at a time when there were only 18 master chefs in the world.

“[Bixby’s] the one who put the love of food in my heart,” he said.

“[Bixby] had a philosophy to keep food simple,” Deron added. “Don’t mess with the natural flavors of food with overpowering seasonings, actually just complement them, and the best way to do that is to eat food when it’s in its prime and in season because that’s when God intended, and when the fruits and vegetables are at their best is when they are in their season.”

It took Deron 20 years to become a CEC. “It’s almost like being a doctor,” he said.

Seasons is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, and noon to 8:30 p.m., Sunday.

“You have to have so much education, and there’s testing that goes into it — both practical and written tests. For master chefs, it’s like 80 percent don’t make it through the test because it’s so intense.”

“I’m really excited about the direction we’re heading right now,” Deron added.

“We’ve got wild Alaskan sock-eyed salmon,” he said. “We have the best chicken money can buy — no antibiotics, no hormones. They’re called happy chickens.

“We have wild shrimp from the Gulf. We’re getting fresh produce from the farmers around town. Being this size gives us the ability to bring in the highest quality ingredients you can buy,” Deron said.

While Deron said he is not sure if expansion is in the works for Seasons in Turkey Creek, the Littles are getting ready to open another restaurant, Kitchen 919, in the former Orangery building in downtown Knoxville. He expects the new restaurant will open the first of October.