Cool Smoke

Team Captain: Tuffy Stone

Qualifying Event: Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue

Favorite Category: Ribs

Hometown: Lynchburg, VA.

Biography: The Cool Smoke story began with Tuffy Stone in 1987. Tuffy began his cooking career as an apprentice with acclaimed French Chef Alain Vincey at La Maisonette Restaurant in Richmond, Va. During the years in Chef Vincey’s kitchen, Tuffy’s passion to learn and strong work ethic led him to be promoted to Sous Chef and Partner. After leaving to find new challenges, he spent the subsequent years honing his skills at some of the finest restaurants in Virginia and Florida.

In November of 1993, Tuffy and his wife Leslie opened A Sharper Palate catering company, which quickly became a premier caterer in Richmond and a caterer of choice for Richmond’s elite, including the Governor of Virginia. A Sharper Palate was voted the Best Catering Company by Richmond Magazine year after year.

In 2004, having loved and grown up around great barbeque, and, as a caterer, knowing its ability to satisfy large crowds, Tuffy began researching slow cooking methods involving a wood burning fire. The result, in Tuffy’s mind, was better tasting barbecue. With the help of employees, friends and family, the Cool Smoke team was born. The question was whether the public and the judges would share Tuffy’s enthusiasm. They did. In its very first competition, Cool Smoke was awarded second in the Pork category and seventh in the brisket category. The team has been winning much bigger prizes ever since, garnering more than 100 awards, including 20 state championships.

Cool Smoke was named the 2007 Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) Team of the Year, and in 2013, Cool Smoke won the Grand Championship title at both the American Royal World Series of Barbecue Invitational and the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue.