Huckleberry’s, was founded in January 2011 by 16-year-old Michaila Cowles. Since grade school, Michaila had her heart set on becoming a chef and baking “pretty things.” As early as fourth grade, she wanted to attend Johnson & Wales to study culinary arts and pastry. In 2011, at the beginning of her sophomore year at Polk County High School, she began working toward making her dream come true; in the spring of that year, she was accepted by early admission to Johnson & Wales University, Charlotte.
Michaila began her freshman year on campus at age 16 in September of 2011, majoring in Culinary Arts. During all her semesters at Johnson & Wales, she maintained a position on the Dean’s List and National Honor Society. She was a member of many campus organizations and clubs, including Tomorrow’s Emerging Leaders and International Food Service Executives Association. During her winter semester of 2012, she became the first female intern at the award-winning Bon Appetite Restaurant in Dunedin, Florida. She was also accepted into SHARP (Special Honors & Rewards Program) at Johnson & Wales and excelled through the Culinary Arts program in just 18 months. Michaila was graduated in February 2013, days after her 18th birthday, with an A.S. degree in Culinary Arts. Then in May of 2014, she received an A.S. degree in Baking and Pastry Arts. Lastly in the summer of 2015, she received her third and final, degree from, Johnson & Wales University, a B.S. in Hotel and Restaurant Food Service Management.
In the early mornings, you could find Michaila in the kitchen at Huckleberry’s stirring up all kinds of “goodies.” In April 2012, she began serving a full breakfast and lunch menu six days a week. By May 2013, Michaila had hired an Executive Chef, Jim Camillo, to join her in bringing you the restaurant’s fine international cuisine. She also expanded to seven days a week in the Lake Lure location.
In December 2014, she opened another location in Tryon, NC, “Huckleberry’s Tryon.” The Tryon facility took off so fast and furious, that in April 2015, she decided to close her Lake Lure location and move to Tryon, NC full time. Michaila and Chef Jim are wrapping up their fourth year in Tryon, and are pleased to announce that each day their customer count keeps growing and growing.
Another one of Michaila’s passions is helping youth. Were it not for her first love of baking and cooking, she would be in social work for the purpose of helping local children in need. (Who knows? She may still try to do both.) In Massachusetts in 2008, she founded I SPY QUILTS, a small volunteer group of local quilters that made over 128 quilts for foster children in western Massachusetts. Since 2008, her I SPY QUILTS program has grown into Connecticut, Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, and Minnesota.
Michaila would like to dedicate this page to her father, Richard B. Cowles, who passed away in 2001 while she was in kindergarten.