Joe Truex’s Maque Choux with Buttery Herbed Shrimp

Joe Truex, the executive chef at Watershed on Peachtree, hails from Mansura, Louisiana—the heart of food-obsessed, French-speaking Cajun country. The youngest of seven kids in a Catholic family, Truex was weaned on crawfish bisque, coush-coush, and gumbo served alongside a baked sweet potato.

Brazil nut shortbread cookies

These easy slice-and-bake cookies melt in your mouth. Brazil nuts, now found bagged and shelled in many grocery stores, give them a distinctive flavor, but pecans, almonds, or other nuts can be substituted.

Duane Nutter’s Red Beans and Rice with Andouille Sausage

Duane Nutter, executive chef, One Flew South, was eight years old when he and his mother left Morgan City, Louisiana—a town of 12,000 built on the petroleum and shrimping industries, about an hour’s drive west of New Orleans—for Seattle, Washington.

Recipe: Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q Frito Pie

Forget peanuts and Cracker Jacks. One bite of Frito pie transports twins Jonathan and Justin Fox, co-owners of Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q and Big Tex, to their childhood baseball park in Houston, Texas.

Justin Burdett’s Salmon Cakes with Spring Vidalia Relish

Justin Burdett, chef de cuisine at Miller Union, was rarely exposed to fresh seafood until he began cooking in high-end restaurants in Athens, Asheville, and Atlanta. But he's eaten plenty of salmon cakes made from canned fish throughout his lifetime, and to this day it's still how he prefers to get his omega-3s.

Kathryn King’s coconut custard with blood orange sauce

s a child, King’s military family was always on the move. But wherever they lived—Virginia, Missouri, Hawaii—her grandmother, Mildred King, came for extended visits, bringing the flavors of Georgia with her. “Ganky” (as King called her) was revered for her layer cakes and pecan tassies. But the dessert that King most remembers is a simple, delicate coconut custard.

Angie Mosier’s Butterscotch Pie

Food stylist, cookbook photographer, and pastry chef Angie Mosier, who grew up in Tucker, is a past president of the Southern Foodways Alliance and a fervent supporter of numerous other initiatives that preserve regional traditions.

David Roberts’ gingered peach cobbler with Mom’s streusel topping

Long before Roberts learned how to toy with foie gras under Guenter Seeger, another mentor showed him moves in the kitchen: his mom, Jean Roberts. Today, some of her best creations—like her creamy macaroni and cheese—are signatures at Community Q.

Sonya Jones’s Mini Fig Pies

Sonya Jones is the owner of Sweet Auburn Bread Company and the author of "Sweet Auburn Desserts: Atlanta’s Little Bakery That Could." Desserts were always in the house, and Jones often had a hand in baking peach and blackberry cobblers or apple pie.

Adam Evans’ North Alabama Chicken Stew

A native of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Evans moved to Atlanta to helm the kitchen at Buckhead’s now-defunct Craftbar. His focus at the Optimist is seafood, but he still craves the earthier Southern comfort foods of home: his mom’s biscuits and gravy, his grandmother’s chicken and dumplings, and most of all, North Alabama chicken stew.

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