South's Greatest Chefs of 2016 Winners


With the food revolution starting in the South, it’s no wonder our chefs are so dang popular.

People from all over the country voted in our annual poll and we received the widest variety of winners in DineSouth history. Is this an indication of the growing popularity of Southern food culture? We think so. It’s also proof that the Chefs down South are kicking a** and taking names in the Southern food revolution.

 

Jesse Rice of Backwoods Crossing in Tallahassee, Florida placed first in our Greatest Chef’s Contest.

“Being raised in the true South, most of us are used to our parents having a garden of some size in the back yard. I’m bringing that super fresh taste back to the table with a garden growing at Backwoods Crossing fed by any organic material left over from my restaurants to create a super-rich compost. Momma’s proud!”

 

 

Ryan Goreau of Fifth & Thomas in Tallahassee, Florida;

“Southern food over the years has become much more desirable to the general public because the old classic “stick to your ribs” Southern food has become much more refined and delicate with the influence of fine dining that has taken over the world. I do whatever I can to contribute to this food revolution. I visit local farms and volunteer my time, supporting the local farms by using anything and everything available to me that is sourced locally. I feel as though I do a really good job transforming Southern classics into a more desirable cuisine by lightening up the dish, representing the ingredients from my region of the South, putting my more “high end” perspective or interpretation on the dish, and by letting these awesome Southern ingredients speak for themselves. All of these fresh ingredients are so delicious, so why would we compensate their integrity by over cooking them?”

 

Michael Wright of Natalia’s in Macon, GA;

“I think mainly Southern food has become more refined. When I moved to the South from Michigan in ’98 Southern food was always your typical meat and three. Now we are seeing chefs use typical Southern ingredients with new, more refined techniques or using your typical Southern techniques with new ingredients. After a five year stint in South Florida, which I do not consider part of the South, I moved back to Macon. As a chef you are always somewhat restricted in what you can do by the type of restaurant you work in. Since being back in Macon, I have done Southern fine dining, casual European bistro, Mongolian barbecue, gastropub and currently Italian food. I try to take the knowledge I’ve gained working in Atlanta, Boca Raton and other major markets and bring that to Macon. It’s very nice being in a smaller city that is experiencing great culinary growth right now.  I’ve been able to come in at the beginning and hopefully pave the way for the future chefs of Macon. Also making sure to source as much local quality ingredients as possible. By using local farmers we are able to provide fresher food and give back to the community.”

 

Crystal Hoang of Corner Cafe in Atlanta, GA;

“Growing up in Savannah played a large role in my decision to become a chef. Some of my earliest memories in a kitchen were at my great aunt’s house helping her cook. It was always hearty, filling meals; chicken fried steaks, gravies, mashed potatoes, casseroles, and a lot of cookies. She called it ‘stick to your ribs’ food. It was only when I moved to Atlanta that I noticed a shift in the mentality of cooking in the South. Nowadays people are more health conscious and there are wonderful substitutions for fatty or unhealthy fare at our fingertips. My part in this is to pay homage to inspirational Southern chefs in my life by taking what they taught me and applying it to today’s tech-advanced kitchens. Whether it’s sous vide chicken before it is fried or creating a chickpea foam, we have new toys and gadgets that weren’t around before; how exciting is that? Also, it’s important that we support our local farmers, growers, and markets. Keeping these places alive is key to pushing us forward with quality ingredients to be innovative with.”

 

Matthew Coburn of Cypress Restaurant in Tallahassee, FL;

“Southern food has grown in popularity over the years, with an emphasis on farm to table cooking and preservation. It has come full circle from people only cooking what they could grow on their own land to the more eclectic Southern fine dining scene we see today. Southern food isn’t just fried chicken, grits, greens, and gravy. It is a respect for the food that grows around us and the animals raised around us. Southern farmers show the land and animals respect by growing and raising food sustainably and I attempt to show that same respect by working with the farmers directly and serving their products at Cypress. I think more people across the country are becoming aware of this farm to table movement with well-respected chefs bringing it to light and making it more easily accessible to their restaurants. Most of the food I cook is grown or raised within a 50-mile radius. Knowing my farmers personally contributes to my passion for the food I am cooking and my awareness of the plates I am setting before guests in my restaurant. “

 

Greg Silver of a.Lure in Savannah, GA;

“I feel that the Southern food has recently became one of the most loved American cuisines. Chefs are recreating the flavors and dishes across the United States and guests are eating it up. I have been lucky enough to work with some great people in the Southern food scene such as the Brennan family from New Orleans and Louis Osteen from Charleston. I use my education through them to try keep pushing forward with my food. I was 16 when I picked up my first knife in a professional kitchen. I was actually a fast learner and enjoyed trying new things I had never tried before. I found out I was actually pretty good at it and could hang with the veterans. I loved to come in everyday and learn new things. But the best was how I felt when I would leave after a busy night; to know you did what seemed to be impossible at the time gave me sense of pride and made me feel unstoppable.”

 

Clayton Rollison of Lucky Rooster in Hilton Head, SC; 

“We get our Southern soul from serving the freshest ingredients sourced from local and regional farms, purveyors, and our local waters. Revolutionizing Southern food is about using what is in season and changing it up based on what’s available. I take inspiration from my surroundings, but also my staff. We’ve got a great array of people from every background that bring so much to the table.”

 

Kevin Nape of Savannah Riverboat Cruises in Savannah, GA;

“In the last couple of years Southern food has gone back to the true basics - with a twist. I’m contributing to this Southern food revolution by using true and local ingredients in timeless Southern recipes with flare. It’s comfort food; going back to your roots when you were a child and your family cooking your favorites will always make you feel better. Southern food is about remembering the good times.”

 

Bridgette Frazier of Gullah Fried Sweet in Bluffton, SC;

“Southern food has become more respected and revered. It has gone from the simplistic nature of good ole’ backyard barbecue and all things fried, to now a fusion of multiple cultures with the utilization of locally grown produce, seafood, you name it. I’m contributing to the Southern Food Revolution by expanding the palate of all things Gullah. Gullah cuisine is exotic to some but often omitted by others when they think of Southern food. I make traditional Gullah dishes, but I also spin some of them in a way that introduces them to this ever evolving culture.”

 

Zach Starr of Ordinary Pub in Savannah, GA;

“At Ordinary Pub we take  pride in the meticulously details that go into every dish. We’ve combined classic pub fare with Southern cuisine that will seriously blow people’s minds. That’s what the food revolution is about. Putting your spin on the classics so it is more accessible to everyone.”

Check out the slideshow below of this year's Greatest Chefs! For a complete list, subscribe now or pick up the October/November issue of South Magazine.

GREATEST CHEFS SLIDESHOW

 

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South's Greatest Kids Contest 2017

When it comes to cute, the kids of the South are all way above average! Share the cuteness and nominate your kids today.

South's Greatest Chefs 2017

With the food revolution starting in the South, it's no wonder our chefs are so dang popular. Nominate and vote for your favorite Lowcountry chef today!
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Events Calendar

  • Charleston Cars & Coffee

    Jun 17, 2017
    7:30 AM - 10:00 AM @ Mount Pleasant Towne Centre

    7:30am - 10:00am  FREE ADMISSION  Mount Pleasant Towne Centre,1712 Towne Centre Way,Mt Pleasant, SC 29464,USA A bunch of car and...

  • Charleston Farmers Market

    Jun 17, 2017
    8:00 AM - 2:00 PM @ Marion Square

    8:00am - 2:00pm  FREE ADMISSION  Marion Square,329 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29403,USA Join us every Saturday in beautiful Marion...

  • Forsyth Farmer's Market

    Jul 01, 2017
    9:00 AM - 9:00 AM @ South end of Forsyth Park

    Outdoors, kid and pet friendly Come shop local food and plant vendors every Saturday morning with your friends, children, or pets!

  • Amelia Adventures’ Endless Summer Daily Kayak Tours

    Jun 13, 2017
    9:00 AM @ Amelia's Adventures and Kayak

    9 am Amelia Adventures’ Endless Summer Daily Kayak Tours www.AmeliaAdventures.com CAll 904-500-TOUR for more information Repeats...

  • 5 O’clock Somewhere Opens July 6th at Art League Gallery

    Jul 06, 2017
    10:00 AM - 4:00 PM @ Art League of Hilton Head

    Time & Date:  Exhibition Dates: Thursday, July 6 – Saturday, July 29, 2017 from 10 am - 4 pm and 90 minutes before all Arts Center...

  • Jazz Brunch

    Jun 04, 2017
    11:30 AM - 2:00 PM @ The Westin

    The Westin's weekly Jazz Brunch is a treat for all, with spectacular views of Savannah, delicious food and beautiful music performed by the...

  • ALJ Monday Night Ceramics

    Jun 12, 2017
    6:00 PM

    Students will learn how to build ceramic sculptures as well as hand crafting with various techniques in form and technique $60 for 4 sessions, $80...

  • ALJ Cartooning and Illustration Classes @ Balis Community center

    Jun 14, 2017
    6:30 PM - 8:30 PM @ Balls Community Center

    Cartooning Illustration Class with William McMahan Wednesdays 6:30pm-8:30pm and/or Saturdays Noon-2:30pm • Ages 12 - Adult • All...

  • Charleston Night Market

    Jun 16, 2017
    6:30 PM - 10:30 PM @ Charleston Historic City Market

    6:30- 10:30 pm  Historic City Market,Historic Charleston City Market,188 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401,USA FREE ADMISSION  Spend...

  • Gray's Reef Tuesdays

    Jul 11, 2017
    7:00 PM - 8:30 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary and Tybee Post Theater are continuing their smash-hit Summer Film Series July 11- August 1 with lots of new...

  • Blues & BBQ Harbor Cruise on the Carolina Queen

    Jun 15, 2017
    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Carolina Queen River Boat

    7:00pm-9:00pm Admission- $44.95 for adults/ $25 for children 4-11 Carolina Queen Riverboat,17 Lockwood Boulevard,Charleston, SC 29401,USA...

  • Free Movie Night on Folly Beach ( repeats every Wednesday until August 23rd)

    Jun 14, 2017
    7:30 PM - 9:00 PM @ Tides Folly Beach

    7:30-9:00pm Tides Folly Beach,1 Center St,Folly Beach, SC 29439,USA COST: Free From May 31st through August 23rd, Tides will play movies...

  • Freshwater Fishing at Sea Pines Resort

    Jul 01, 2017
    9:00 PM - 10:30 AM @ Sea Pines Resort

    Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays; 9-10:30am Enjoy a relaxing morning fishing from the shore by the beautiful lakes of the Sea Pines Forest...

  • Atlanta Ice Cream Festival

    Jul 22, 2017
    11:00 PM - 6:00 PM

    11am- 6pm 400 Park Dr NE, Atlanta, GA 30309 FREE ADMISSION The Atlanta Ice Cream Festival was founded in 2010 out of a desire to provide...

  • Her + Him Film

    May 26, 2017
    All Day @ Jepson Center

    Akram Zaatari (Lebanese, b. 1966) is a filmmaker, photographer, archival artist, and curator who lives and works in Beirut, Lebanon. Her + Him...

  • Animal Instinct

    Jul 15, 2017
    All Day @ Jepson Center

    The diversity of animal imagery in Animal Instinct reveals the wide-ranging roles animals inhabit in an anthropocentric world. From wild...

  • Hattie Saussy: Rediscovery of an Artist

    Jun 30, 2017
    All Day @ Telfair Academy

    Savannah artist Hattie Saussy (1890-1978) pursued her passion for painting from the time of her youth until near the end of her long productive...

  • Generation Exhibition Opens

    May 26, 2017
    All Day @ Jepson Center

    Generation is an exhibition that brings together two generations of Iraqi-Canadian women artists—mother Sawsan AlSaraf and her daughters...

  • Beaufort Water Festival

    Jul 14, 2017
    All Day

    The Beaufort Water Festival is comprised of more than two dozen individual events including sporting events, aquatic events, arts & crafts,...

  • Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament & Festival

    Jul 17, 2017
    All Day

    Benefiting the community through Jacksonville Marine Charities, Inc. The Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament, held each year in July at Jim...


Show More...

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Scenes of the South

South Night at Savannah Bananas

South Magazine welcomed clients and friends to join them on the VIP deck where visitors could pick up a copy of the magazine and meet the staff at Thursday's Savannah Bananas game against the Redwolves. It was another sold out game at Grayson Stadium on their Budweiser Thirsty Thursday. Visit the Savannah Bananas online to see their remaining schedule for this year's season!

Love the Wine You're With July

South Magazine and 39 Rue de Jean Savannah host an evening of Power Networking and Fundraising on the third Wednesday of each month to raise awareness and funds for non-profit organizations. Free to attend, guests enjoyed $7 glasses of select regional wine and delicious passed appetizer's while networking and raising funds to benefit the featured charity of the month. Each month, a different local charity will offer a silent auction, raffle or fun game to help raise awareness and money. In addition, 39 Rue De Jean will donate $1 from each glass of select wine purchased during the event to benefit the non-profit.

Prohibition Museum Grand Opening

In December of 2015, a summit of Historic Tours of America management met together to discuss the potentiality of something new, something original for not only the city of Savannah, but for the nation as a whole- a museum dedicated to the prohibition of alcohol in the United States. The American Prohibition Museum is the first of its kind in the country and takes guests back into the 1900s as anti-alcohol rallies swept the U.S. and the booze problem was pushed into the forefront of American politics. Through immersive displays and state-of-the-art exhibits, guests learn how Prohibition and Temperance shaped thinking and culture for more than two hundred years of American history.

4th of July River St. Celebration 2017

Hundreds of residents and tourists came to celebrate American patriotism at the 2017 River Street Fourth of July Celebration. enjoying live music from 8-10pm with local favorites the Hynotocs on the WSAV Military Stage. Families were able to bring their children to the kids zone while waiting on the fireworks display! The Savannah Waterfront Association was excited to help WSAV celebrate their 60th Anniversary during the event and teamed up to host a military VIP seating area for viewing fireworks! VIP seating will be limited to first come first serve and a VIP pass must be presented to enter. VIP passes will be given away on air with Alpha Media and a limited number will be available the day of at the WSAV tent. Chairs, blankets, are welcome and make sure to get there early to grab a spot along the riverfront.

Grand Opening of Ghost Coast Distillery

Ghost Coast Distillery embraces Savannah's spirited and storied history - one of indulgence, light-hearted mischief, and jubilation. They honored The Spirit of Savannah by opening Ghost Coast Distillery, Savannah’s first distillery since just before the era of prohibition. Beginning in 2017, Ghost Coast Distillery will be open for tours and tastings at its home in vibrant Downtown Savannah. Come see how they make some of the South’s finest craft spirits, while learning about the history of spirits and revelry in our fine city.

Grand Opening of Edgar's Proof and Provision

In a town renowned for its spirited libations and tall tales, Edgar’s Proof & Provision offers lush libations and chef-inspired small plates on East Liberty St. in Savannah. With year-round front porch seating, Edgar’s P&P delivers southern hospitality at its best! Savannah's newest restaurant, Edgar's Proof and Provision, had its grand opening on Thursday June 22nd inside the Hilton DeSoto hotel on Liberty St. Edgar's Proof and Provision will serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks. It's open from 6:30 a.m. until midnight with a perfect view of the historic district, spread out over three levels. "The service is always smiling and fun and friendly and everybody's saying how locally centered that we are here in Savannah, that we are here for the locals and we want everybody to come back and have a good time," says host Kolin Podell. Residents are encouraged to check out Proof and Provision soon because another new restaurant is in the works!

Horizons Savannah’s Summer Sizzler 5K

The Horizons Savannah’s Summer Sizzler 5K took place on June 24, 2017 at the J.C. Cannon Fields on Wilmington Island where dedicated runner came out to support Savannah's kids! Guests enjoyed a summer race and cool down with watermelon and summer fun, and 5K participants received a special gift. This race was organized in order to benefit Horizons Savannah, a transformative experience for youth in Kindergarten through the 8th grade focused on helping low income students close the achievement gap through academic support and confidence building. This 6 week summer program helps struggling students gain the academic skills and confidence needed to stay on track in school. Horizons Savannah serves over 200 students annually on three campuses: Savannah Country Day School, St. Andrew’s School and Bethesda Academy.

June Andaz Salon featuring Tiffani Taylor

Andaz Savannah's monthly salons are events that deliver cultural experiences for guests and neighbors, encouraging creative inspiration through evocative content and spirited discussions with local influencers. Each Salon event is designed to imaginatively impassion guests through a new experience, and to connect them with like-minded individuals, ultimately sparking creativity. The events reflect the passion and vibe of the local community while connecting travelers with kindred spirits and artistic minds. June's salon featured local artist Tiffani Taylor, an American painter who resides in Savannah, Georgia and Paris, France. She is best known for her rich, textured paintings and original pottery.

Love the Wine You're With June

South Magazine and 39 Rue de Jean - Savannah host an evening of Power Networking and Fundraising on the third Wednesday of each month to raise awareness and funds for non-profit organizations. This event is free to attend. Coastal Pet Rescue is the charity for June and guests were invited to bring along their dogs and enjoy a night on the patio featuring, delicious regional wines and exceptional appetizers prepared by the culinary team at 39 Rue De Jean. Each glass of select wine will be priced at $7 and for each glass purchased, $1 will be given to the non profit. A Cash bar is also available for those who prefer beer or Spirits. Due to inclement weather, the event was moved inside to the Oyster Room at 39 Rue De Jean instead of its usual location outside on the patio, but we still had a great time! See you next month!

The JCB Mud Fest Mud Run June 2017

Hundreds of excited competitors came out to the JCB Mud Run and Dig and Ride events on June 20th to test their strength against the elements. Attendees had to endure 100 Degree heat to complete the 5 mile course made up of over 30 obstacles on this hot Savannah afternoon but everyone in attendance had one focus only - Finishing the Race! The event was once again an incredible success and 100% of race proceeds were donated to the children at The Lady Bamford Center for Early Childhood Development. The Lady Bamford Center was created through a joint partnership of JCB, the City of Savannah, and The United Way of the Coastal Empire. The Center opened on October 16th, 2007 and is operated by Wesley Community Centers of Savannah, Inc. The Wesley Community Center has a long and distinguished history of serving the needs of working mothers and minority families in the community.