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 Moms Contest 2018

We're looking for the greatest, most authentic and sincere, southern moms. Taking nominations November 1st!

South's Greatest Photographers 2018

We're looking for the greatest, most creative photographers. If that is you, or you know of any, don't hesitate to nominate!
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Events Calendar

  • Designer's Showcase: Dressed for the Season

    Nov 12, 2018
    11:00 AM - 3:00 PM @ Kaminski House Museum

    The Kaminski House Museum in historic Georgetown, South Carolina will be dressing the rooms of the Kaminski House Museum this holiday season with...

  • Tybee Marsh Treks

    Sep 01, 2018
    4:00 PM - 5:00 PM @ Tybee Island Marine Science Center

    On a marsh trek, you’ll enjoy a hands-on exploration of Georgia’s salt marsh, searching the mud for fiddler crabs, snails, and more. Learn...

  • Charitable Hearts for Children Unveil & Networking Event

    Nov 13, 2018
    5:00 PM - 6:30 PM @ New York Life

    Please join us for heavy hors d'oeuvres, networking, and the exciting unveil of our new nonprofit - Charitable Hearts for Children - at this...

  • An Evening with Charles Frazier

    Nov 14, 2018
    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Trinity United Methodist Church

    “An Evening with Charles Frazier” is part of the Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home’s Ursrey Lecture Series. The series is endowed in memory...

  • Bethesda Academy Open House

    Nov 15, 2018
    10:00 AM - 11:00 AM @ Bethesda Academy

    Bethesda Academy will host an open house on Thursday, Nov. 15, for prospective students and their parents or guardians to get a glimpse of the...

  • Beaujolais Nouveau Day 2018

    Nov 15, 2018
    5:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ 39 Rue de Jean

    Celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau Day at 39 Rue De Jean in Savannah! The arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau symbolizes the official end of this year’s...

  • American Traditions Competition Johnny Mercer Birthday Gala: "An Evening of Wine and Roses"

    Nov 15, 2018
    6:30 PM - 9:45 PM @ Plantation Club at The Landings

    The ATC’s fourth annual Johnny Mercer Birthday Gala, “An Evening of Wine and Roses,” will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15 at The...

  • Savannah Classical Academy Strings Conservatory Concert

    Nov 15, 2018
    7:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ Skidaway Island United Methodist Church

    The Savannah Classical Academy Strings Conservatory Ensemble will showcase the talent of its students at 7 p.m, Thursday, Nov. 15 at Skidaway...

  • ATC on Tybee Presents New York to Nashville: An Evening with Joshua Carswell and Bex Ordorisio

    Nov 15, 2018
    8:00 PM - 9:45 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    New York to Nashville: An Evening with Joshua Carswell and Bex Odorisio is the latest ATC concert from the new “ATC on Tybee” series at 8 p.m....

  • Howard Family Dental 10th Annual Free Dental Day

    Nov 16, 2018
    6:30 AM - 4:00 PM @ Howard Family Dental

    Howard Family Dental is proud to offer their 10th annual Free Dental Day, held on Friday, November 16th, 2018. The staff and dentists at Howard...

  • ATC on Tybee presents From New York to Nashville: An Evening with Joshua Carswell and Bex Odorisio

    Nov 16, 2018
    8:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    Our second concert in partnership with American Traditions Vocal Competition brings two outstanding performers to our stage: Joshua Carswell, the...

  • Donut Run 5k

    Nov 17, 2018
    8:30 AM - 11:00 AM

    Bernard Williams and Company is proud to bring you the 3rd annual Baker's Pride Challenge This is the craziest race in Savannah. The...

  • Asbury Memorial UMC's Pecan and Honey Harvest

    Nov 17, 2018
    10:00 AM - 3:00 PM @ Madison Square

    Asbury Memorial United Methodist Church (UMC) is slated to host its fifth annual Pecan and Honey Harvest from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17,...

  • Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters Reinterpretation Community Celebration

    Nov 17, 2018
    1:00 PM - 4:00 PM @ Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters

    Telfair invites the local community to participate in the unveiling of new interpretive exhibits at the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters. The...

  • The Amazing Acro-Cats!

    Nov 17, 2018
    3:00 PM - 3:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    The Amazing Acro-cats featuring Tuna and the Rock Cats are a troupe of touring performing house cats. In this two-hour show you will see rescued...

  • Savannah UGA Alumni: UGA v. Massachusetts

    Nov 17, 2018
    3:30 PM - 7:30 PM @ The Grove Savannah

    This season, The Grove will be the official UGA Savannah Alumni Chapter game watching location! With four bars + rooftop, delicious food and...

  • Philharmonic in the Streetz

    Nov 18, 2018
    1:00 PM - 4:00 PM @ Greenbriar Children's Center

    The Savannah Philharmonic and Greenbriar Children’s Center are gearing up for “Philharmonic in the Streetz” from 1-4 P.M. on Sunday, Nov. 18,...

  • Johnny Mercer's 109th Birthday Bash

    Nov 18, 2018
    3:00 PM - 5:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    Join us this Sunday afternoon for a concert celebrating the 109th birthday of Savannah’s favorite son, the immortal Johnny Mercer! A half dozen...

  • Fall 2018 Lecture Series - “BURDEN: A True Story for Our Times” by Courtney Hargrave

    Nov 18, 2018
    4:00 PM - 5:00 PM @ Flannery O'Connor Childhood Home

    The Flannery O'Connor Childhood Home is proud to present the third installment of the Fall 2018 Lecture Series in the parlor of the Flannery...

  • Thanksgiving Day Dinner Cruise

    Nov 22, 2018
    11:30 AM - 7:00 PM @ Savannah Riverboat Cruises

    Join Savannah Riverboat Cruises for a delicious Traditional Southern Holiday buffet with live entertainment sure to get you tapping your feet and...


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Scenes of the South

East and West BBQ

A whole hog BBQ showcase, from two of the south’s most legendary Pitmasters, Pat Martin and Sam Jones. Hosted by Alida Hotel this event was a fabulous juxtaposition between Eastern North Carolina style BBQ and Western Tennessee style. Made possible by the Savannah Food and Wine Festival.

Savannah Food & Wine Fest

Hundreds came to experience Southern charm and hospitality, Savannah Style. The South's best culinary happenings - one exceptional week in Savannah. Iconic and historic coastal venues provided the perfect backdrop for gourmet and fun. South magazine captured the experience at the VIP tent.

Big Wig Boat Bash

Savannah's Riverboat, The Georgia Queen set sail to host the final fundraiser for the 2018 class of Big Wigs, together raising over $100,000 for the Susan G. Komen Coastal Georgia Foundation. This evening included heavy hors d’oeuvres, beverages, a silent auction, music and dancing and a contest to crown the Biggest BigWig! Contest categories included: The Biggest Wig, The Pink Ribbon Award and Best Pink Personality.

Boo Bash

This spooktacular evening included hors d’oeuvres, “spirits,” music and dancing, a Halloween costume contest with cash prizes, Halloween-themed entertainment, a 50/50 raffle, live auction and talent contest. Contest categories included: Dancing, Singing, Rapping, Stand-up Comedy and Lip Syncing.

Masquerade at the Mansion

Plenty of patrons donned masks and beads for an unforgettable Mardi Gras at the Mansion. There unique entertainment, food, and decor including magic fire, beignets, king cake and a photo booth, plus music and dancing, libations, late-night treats, and lots of surprises.

DineSouth After Party

This year's DineSouth ended in a blast. Dozens headed over to Barrellhouse, who hosted the after party. They enjoyed great drinks and live music by Individually Twisted.

DineSouth 2018

This year's DineSouth sponsored by Fulfillment.com was the greatest yet! South magazine has once again put on a night filled with fantastic food and entertainment. Guests enjoyed delicious food & drinks in the city while getting the opportunity to meet and mingle with the best chefs in the South. The entertainment was amazing with American Idol winner Candice Glover, unique band Velvet Caravan and the acoustic sounds of Annie Allman. The event supported the local Salvation Army.

Grand Opening of 201 Seafood

Mixing the traditional tastes of the south with the local flair of the city, 201 Seafood and Tapas Lounge showcases Savannah's culinary community and their grand opening now gives us full access to some of the best seafood in the Coastal Empire.

Closet Raiders

Described as the “superbowl of fashion”, Closet Raiders was taped at the Lucas Theatre in front of a live audience. Contestants showed off their personal style fashion knowledge. Hosted by Savannah locals Reneé LaSalle and Kevin Cartee, offered the chance to win a closet full of designer clothes.

Cure and Whiskey Wednesday

Local celebrities competed on stage to help support the mission to provide training and supervision to volunteers who advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children of Savannah and Chatham County.