After four years in which the Best Chef: Southeast honor from the James Beard Foundation (the Oscars of the food world) went to chefs in Charleston or North Carolina, two Georgia chefs tied for the prize this May. Hugh Acheson and Linton Hopkins both cook from a Southern perspective, but they are two very different people.
||Restaurant Eugene in Atlanta, opened in 2004
||Five and Ten in Athens, opened in 2000
||Chef-partner of Holeman and Finch Public House, H&F Bread Co., and H&F Bottle Shop. Cofounder of Peachtree Road Farmers Market.
||Chef-partner of Empire State South (Atlanta) and the National (Athens). Judge on Top Chef.
||Cue-ball bald head
||Worked closely with Ryan Smith, his chef de cuisine at Eugene and Holeman, until Smith . . .
|| . . . left the Restaurant Eugene kitchen to be executive chef at Empire State South.
||The late-night double-patty cheeseburger at
Holeman and Finch
|A ribeye (served perhaps in a red wine jus with sunchokes and confit chestnuts) at Empire State South
||“[The] convenient food system where we’re robbed of a culture of food”
||Paula Deen and “the monochrome image of Southern food”
||Hasn’t written a book yet, but recently suggested that he might write one entirely about mayonnaise
||His first cookbook, A New Turn in the South, also won a James Beard award this year.
||Would rather be known as a “biodynamic terroirist” than a “Southern chef”
||Canadian roots show in the Francophile flair at Five and Ten, but he preaches the Southern gospel with soul.
Photograph of Hopkins by Caroline C. Kilgore; photograph of Acheson by Sarah Dorio. This article originally appeared in our December 2012 issue.