The Chef Files: Evan Hayes at Blue Water Grill & Raw Bar

By on February 16, 2018

By Daniel Lewis

Outer Banks Restaurant Association

Evan Hayes

Present gig: Executive Chef, Blue Water Grill & Raw Bar
Age: 37
Hometown: Ayden, N.C.
Years in OBX: 20
Training: Johnson & Wales, Norfolk, 2000, A.O.S. Culinary Arts
Style or specialty: International style with local ingredients

What was your path like becoming a chef?
My parents had Upper Crust Bakery, first in Winterville and then in Greenville, from when I was four until I was 24, so I grew up in the bakery making cookies. “We can’t give an allowance, but we can give you a job,” my dad said. Banana bread, pumpkin walnut bread and cookies was my entire childhood. Then I went to culinary school.

So how did you end up in the OBX?
I went to Johnson And Wales in Norfolk, had a friend from my hometown there. I decided to do my internship at The Blue Point and Ocean Blvd, back when John Power & Sam McGann owned all three [The Blue Point, Ocean Blvd., and then recently opened Goodlife Gourmet].And after that?
I followed Chef Chuck to open Meridian 42, did even years there, then Fin And Claw in Corolla, then Blue Moon to Blue Water.

Any defining moment when you knew you were going to be a chef?
When I was a kid and I watched my dad passionately make bread to take care of our family, I knew I wanted to be in food. My brother was good at fixing the go-cart and the lawn mower and he’s a mechanical engineer now. I sat a made cookies since I was four. It stuck with me.

What’s your biggest kitchen pet peeve?
The walk-in cooler…keeping it clean; consolidation.

What’s in your fridge at home that you might not want anyone to know about?
Probably the 50 kinds of either pickled peppers or hot sauces going back a LONG time. There’s probably some pickled jalapenos in the way, way back that I grew when I was in high school, but I can’t get rid of them -they’re pickled.

What other seasoning/spice/technique is top in your culinary arsenal?
Hot salts! I take my peppers that I grow, I grind them up and make a seasoning salt out of them. Different kinds: I have my green peppers mix, my red pepper mix, and then individual peppers too РEcuadorian Lemon Pepper, Cayenne….

When you’re not working, where can we likely find you?
In my garden in Jarvisburg. I grow lots of hot peppers for the hot sauces and pickling,… tomatoes, basil.

So do you garden year-round? Winter time?
Definitely heavier in the Summer, but I do have some Toscano Kale, some garlic and onion now. And I do have lots of fruit trees -blueberries, figs, apples and pears…peaches. Then I have the farm in Belize.

(Interviewer triple take: What? What? What?) Belize???
Yeah, we bought land in Belize (20 acres), put in 2000 Cacao plants last November, some coffee, mangos, turmeric. Our next trip we’ll build a thatched roof house so can stay on the property and not have stay at a hotel down the road. We’re going to plant as much cacao in as I can. Where we bought is the beating heart of the Belize Chocolate industry. We trying to do everything as organic as possible.

Any favorite OBX restaurant or hangout?
I don’t go out much, but my new favorite? Masala Bay. It gives you flavor you normally don’t get here in the Outer Banks. Ethnic food is really lost here…and it’s on my side of the bridge!

You do a lot of specials here‚Ķanything stand out as one of your favorite things you’ve made?
Tough question. I’ve got volumes of specials over the years. But Bacon Jam comes to mind. We had it on our Oyster Roll, a topping for fish, I love it on a grilled cheese sandwich. Any way you can introduce bacon into your mouth without even having to chew is good. It takes half the work out of it -can sip it through a straw!

Top three people living or dead that you would like to dine with.
I would have liked to have dinner with Julia Child. I would like to have dinner with Thomas Keller (of Napa’s French Laundry) as well.

And I would like to have dinner my with my grandma, because I just lost her. She was a very classy lady; taught me the etiquette around food. It was hard to see her go.


Barnhill Building Group has been selected as the Construction Manager @ Risk by the College of the Albemarle and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade contractors to submit bids for the furnishing labor, materials, equipment, and tools for the new College of The Albemarle – Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab (COA Health Sciences) located in Elizabeth City, NC. Please note: Only subcontractors who have been prequalified by Barnhill will be able to submit a Bid.

The project consists of the new construction of a 38,000-sf, 2-story expansion to the existing Owens Health Sciences Center and will house classrooms, labs, and a simulation lab. The site is just over just over 4.5 acres and is located on an active campus. This new construction will be a steel structure with a brick and metal panel veneer, curtainwall, and storefront glazing with a PVC roof membrane.

Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages:

BP0100: General Trades

BP0105: Final Cleaning

BP0390: Turnkey Concrete

BP0400: Turnkey Masonry

BP0500: Structural Steel & Misc. Steel

BP0740: RooÔ¨Āng

BP0750: Metal Panels

BP0790: Caulking / Caulking

BP0800: Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware

BP0840: Glass & Glazing

BP0925: Drywall

BP0960: Resilient Flooring

BP0980: Acoustical Ceilings

BP0990: Painting & Wallcovering

BP1005: Toilet Specialties / Accessories / Division 10

BP1010: Signage

BP1098: Demountable Partitions

BP1230: Finish Carpentry and Casework

BP1250: Window Treatment

BP1400: Elevators

BP2100: Fire Protection

BP2200: Plumbing

BP2300: HVAC

BP2600: Turnkey Electrical

BP3100: Turnkey Sitework

BP3290: Landscaping

Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business firms are encouraged to complete participation submittals.

HUB/MWBE OUTREACH MEETING: Barnhill Building Group will be conducting a HUB/MWBE Informational Session. You are encouraged to attend the following session to learn more about project participation opportunities available to you. These seminars will help to: Learn about project and scope; Inform and train Minority/HUB contractors in preparation for bidding this project; Assist in registration on the State of North Carolina Vendor link; Stimulate opportunities for Networking with other firms. Location and time TBD. Please visit our planroom at for more information.

Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals, by July 22, 2024, to Meredith Terrell at or hardcopies can be mailed to Barnhill Contracting Company PO Box 31765 Raleigh, NC 27622 (4325 Pleasant Valley Road, NC 27612).


Sussex Development is soliciting bids to turnkey supply and install FF&E for the new Tulls Creek Elementary School, 125 Campus Drive, Moyock, NC27929. This project is a new ground-up 2-story, Pre-K thru 5th grade school, approximately 118,000 square feet. Bid documents may be obtained through Christopher West Interiors LLC. Request bid documents via email to Pre-Bid RFIs will be accepted via email until Wednesday, July 31, 2024 at 5:00PM EST. Pricing proposals are due Wednesday, August 14, 2024 by 5:00PM EST. All bids and inquires to be sent to Certified NC Hub, MBE, WBE, DBE, SBE are highly encouraged to participate. Sussex Development is an EOE and maintains a drug-free workplace.


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