Todd Schafer began cooking at the age of 15. His affinity for cooking and passion for food was inspired by his mother, a great cook in her own right. He apprenticed at the Cloister in Sea Island, Ga, and attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Following graduation, Todd worked at Ciboulette in Atlanta under Chefs Jean Banchet and Thomas Coohill; at Provence in Washington D.C. under Yannick Cam; and at Pinot Blanc under Joachim Splichal in Napa Valley.
Todd opened Bistro 491 in his hometown of Augusta, Ga in 1999. The French restaurant revolutionized formal dining in the area through its stellar wine selection, impeccable staff, and farm-to-table seasonal menus. He closed Bistro 491 in May of 2014 to make way for his latest concept: Abel Brown Southern Kitchen & Oyster Bar.