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Taria Camerino, creative director for the pastry programs of Ford Fry’s restaurants and founder of the now-shuttered Sugar-Coated Radical, doesn’t believe in desserts simply tasting good: Instead, she says dining is about the experience. She feels she has “an obligation” to move people, and has been studying diners at No. 246, JCT Kitchen and the Optimist to figure out how to best “engage” them, then rework the dessert menus to better reflect her discoveries. Below, she divulges the sweet details and shares her plans to re-open Sugar-Coated Radical in 2014.
I thought I'd stumbled onto a private party for the local food glitterati the first time I visited Decatur's No. 246 in July. It was the restaurant's inaugural Monday, six days after opening for business. The full house generated such a clamor that the noise bouncing off the white brick walls vibrated in my hands and feet as well as my ears. High-profile chefs like Kevin Rathbun and Empire State South’s Ryan Smith shouted happily, twirling pastas and sharing pizzas among wine distributors and off-duty managers and servers from other restaurants. What drew them—and the unremitting crowds that have shown up night after night since then—so immediately?
ATL Food Chatter: July 5, 2011 (To receive the Chatter and other culinary tidbits directly in your inbox, sign up for our weekly dining newsletter)What do you get when you combine some of the South’s top chefs, mixologists, and farmers; the peak of growing season; and good music, all in one location for a good cause? The third annual Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival, which will be held July 17 from 1–5 p.m. at Westside Urban Market. The annual fundraiser for Georgia Organics has morphed into an experience unlike any of the ATL’s growing number of food events. The combination of the creative uses of tomatoes, boisterous crowds spurred on by some rocking bands like the Plasmatics and high-profile judges—including Andrew Knowlton of Bon Appetit, Food & Wine restaurant editor Kate Krader, and ATL’s dynamic dietician, Carolyn O’Neil—produce a unique alchemy that made the Killer Tomato Festival a must-attend.
ATL Food Chatter: March 15, 2011 (To receive the Chatter and other culinary tidbits directly in your inbox, sign up for our weekly dining newsletter) In yet another year when restaurant openings that hold promise for engaging, individualistic cooking are too few and far between, no. 246—opening in Decatur in May—is among a handful of projects generating lots of anticipation. The Cal-Ital-themed restaurant (think Meyer lemon and sheep’s milk ricotta agnolotti, pizzas, and wood-roasted whole fish) is a partnership between JCT Kitchen chef-owner Ford Fry and Drew Belline, the former longtime chef de cuisine of Floataway Cafe who will serve as 246’s executive chef. But the restaurant’s designer, Smith Hanes, brings some star power to the project as well. Hanes has built his reputation locally by bringing an earthy, textural aesthetic, with prominent use of reclaimed materials, in his commercial designs, which include projects for Serenbe, JCT Kitchen and Bar, and Bella Cucina (his wife is owner Alisa Barry). Hanes shares some details about 246’s forthcoming interior and his inspiration for the design.