Dean Neff, Executive Chef and Owner
Dean discovered his love of cooking at a young age while cooking at a small bed and breakfast on Tybee Island near Savannah. After graduating from high school, he went to the School of Culinary Arts in Atlanta to gain a formal culinary education while working in the Atlanta restaurant scene. After completion of the Culinary Arts program and after two years of working with the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, Dean took the Sous Chef position at the newly opened 5&10 restaurant in Athens, GA owned by Chef Hugh Acheson.
During this time Dean played an integral role in all aspects of the restaurant as it gained national acclaim and quickly became one of the best restaurants in the Southeast. While maintaining his position at 5&10, he also earned his B.B.A in Marketing from Terry College of Business at UGA. Dean assisted Hugh with his first cookbook “A New Turn in the South” and in his opening of Empire State South in Atlanta. He was promoted to Executive Chef of 5&10 in 2011.
Dean left in 2013 to help Chef John Fleer open the highly acclaimed Rhubarb of Asheville, NC.
In 2015, he moved to Wilmington, NC to open PinPoint with longtime friend Jeff Duckworth and fiancee Lydia Clopton, pastry chef. The restaurant has quickly become an active and significant part of the local culinary community and hosts weekly Sunday Suppers to benefit charities and donates to a number of events and fundraisers. The restaurant was named Best Fine Dining Restaurant by Wilmington magazine and Best New Southern Restaurants by Southern Living in 2016.
Jeff Duckworth, Front of the House Manager and Owner
After a 10-year stint in the music business that included time spent working with heroes ranging from Willie Nelson to Ben Harper to Widespread Panic, Jeff took a career turn into the restaurant business. He joined forces with a dear friend, and began opening Bojangles’ franchises in the metro Atlanta area. After 11 years, five restaurants, thousands of loyal customers, and over $50,000,000 in chicken and biscuits sold, it was time to do something else. Jeff’s love of great food, drink, and hospitality pulled him to partner up with Dean Neff and create an upscale community restaurant in Downtown Wilmington.
Lydia Clopton, Pastry Chef
Lydia has helmed the baker’s table at some of the greatest establishments in Athens, GA and Asheville, NC. Much of her experience comes from working under three James Beard nominated chefs. She is also highly coveted as a baker of fine wedding cakes.
Lydia discovered her love of baking at a young age. In 2007, after graduating with a degree in Biology from the University of Georgia, she decided to pursue this passion on a professional level. She began working as part of the pastry team for Hugh Acheson’s award winning restaurant 5&10 in Athens, GA where Lydia and Dean met. She spent three years as part of 5&10’s pastry team and developed important foundational skills and learned the importance of quality ingredients.