Hugh Acheson is the chef/partner of Five & Ten, The National and Empire State South (Atlanta) restaurants. He is also part owner of Gosford Wine, a local boutique wine shop. A four-time James Beard nominee for Best Chef Southeast (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010), Acheson’s innovative approach to Southern food has brought national attention to his menus as well as a stint on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters.” His cookbook, A New Turn in the South: The Cuisine of Hugh Acheson, hits shelves in October of 2011.
On his role in the community:
Since opening Five & Ten 11 years ago, I feel like my role has pretty much been to be the “food cheerleader” for the area. I love that! It’s an easy job when you just have to be excited about what excites you every day.
On local business:
Athens is my community, and if I can employ 70 people dedicated to producing thoughtful food in Athens, for the community, then I can be happy. It’s an awesome little agrarian town with a great university, a thriving arts scene and fantastic people. What’s not to love?
On the local food scene:
We have a bounty around us that we cherish every day, so cooking in a seasonal tone is a natural thing to do. We are blessed with farmers, artisans, eaters and chefs who care about what they are doing every day. That’s not a completely unique thing, but it’s a good thing.
On Athens’ future food culture:
I think [as a community] we are growing up and realizing that bounty. I think we have positively encouraged small farmers with a great farmers market, thriving Community Supported Agriculture box sales and thinking restaurants. We don’t need pomposity, we just need people to relentlessly support great food and drink in a wonderful small town.
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