2017 Winners of South's Greatest Chefs Contest

When we asked our readers to name the Greatest Chefs of 2017, we knew we were asking the impossible. In a region like ours, with so much talent in the kitchen, how could anyone pick just one? Well every chef knows that sometimes you have to improvise, so we decided to bend the rules a little and feature more of these culinary geniuses than ever before. Read on and you’ll see why we made room at the table for a few folks who rarely get the recognition they deserve for giving the South its flavor.

Dustin Hambrick - Lizzy’s Tequila Bar & Grill lizzysgrill.com

I have been a chef for › I became a sous chef at the age of 23, so 10 years now. Started in the industry as a bus boy at age 15 and worked my way up.

I wanted to pursue this career path because › I was raised in restaurants my entire life and always wanted to be the like the “Rock Stars” I would meet in the kitchen.

My favorite thing to make is › I love cooking pork. Whether its ribs, chops, or butts. Nothing beats a good slow smoke.

If I were stranded on a deserted island and could only eat one meal I’d choose › Lasagna. Garfield is my favorite cartoon.

My signature dish is › For me my signature dish changes with the type of cuisine my restaurant is known for. Right now it would have to be Lizzy’s Two-Handed burrito. A pound slow smoked pulled pork, sweet slaw, and fried onion straws wrapped in two twelve inch tortillas. It’s a monster of a burrito with tons of flavor.

Art Smith - Southern Art and Bourbon Bar southernart.com

My favorite thing about being a chef is  › I love the fellowship of the chef community. We are a small group that works closely together to finding the best foods. We spoil each other at our restaurants. For example, recently in Nashville, chef Sean Brock and his team prepared an amazing dinner after my taping of the Pickler and Ben Show, which is Faith Hill’s new show. The dinner guests were the former executives of Oprah Winfrey’s show (I was the personal chef for Oprah for 10 years), and they loved it and were impressed with the chef “hook-up.” We can get reservations faster at any great restaurant in the world because of the close chef family we have.

Some future career goals  › My future goals include: Building Reunion 501 C3, my rural educational sustainable food program; bringing my Common Threads 501 C3 to America’s foremost healthy kids cooking program in all 50 states; creating a restaurant in my rural  birthplace of Jasper, Florida that is themed around a favorite food past time – tailgating; bring Art Bird, my NYC fried chicken concept, across the United States; and teach my four newly adopted kids to run it all!

Jonathan Garrett ShoNuff Smokin’ Good BBQ  @shonuffsmokingoodbbq

If I were stranded on a deserted island and could only eat one meal I’d choose › Banana pudding! My all-time favorite food, I never get tired of some good homemade banana pudding!

My signature dish is › Pork Sammiches! I make a pulled pork sandwich served on a bun- it’s simple and perfect. My customers love it!

A tip I would give other aspiring chefs would be › Love what you do. Let your passion be your guide, if you don’t have passion then your work is just mechanical.

Letricia Blake The Shrimp Factory | theshrimpfactory.com

I have been a chef for › I started cooking a long time ago. I have been at the Shrimp Factory for 14 years.  I have been the chef for 4 years.

My favorite thing to make is › I like trying new things all the time. It’s fun coming up with new ideas and experimenting with our ingredients here at the restaurant to add a spin to an old recipe.  My favorite part of making things is the part of making people happy by them enjoying my cooking.

Gladys Young The River House Seafood | savannahriverhouse.com

My signature dish is › The River House Paella

My favorite thing about being a chef is › Endless passion and using my creativity every day.

Some future career goals › Keep The River House Seafood Restaurant as number 1 destination restaurant in the state of Georgia.

Joe Maley Sunbury Crab Company sunburycrabco.com

I wanted to pursue this career path because › I was a business major and never thought much about it. I had anticipated moving back and joining the restaurant full time. I helped start the company with my family but had only been part time up to that point. I always enjoyed cooking but this was a family and business decision. It was a natural move but it was the quintessential trial by fire scenario.

My favorite thing to make is › I wish I could say there was a favorite thing for me to prepare in the restaurant. I always try to eliminate the things that I hate to make. I love to cook at home. I like doing pasta at the house. I get to experiment more at the house. Sushi is always a fun one to me.

Johnny Baker Bar•Food savannahbarfood.com

I have been a chef for › Seems like forever! Yeah, forever

I wanted to pursue this career path because › I have always played with pots & pans.

My favorite thing to make is › I love to cook with old recipes & classic cuts of meats.

Patrick McNamara Noble Fare Savannah @noblefare

My favorite thing to make is › Love…but making soup is therapeutic.

If I were stranded on a deserted island and could only eat one meal I’d choose › Lobster, baby – all day every day.

My signature dish is… › Our duck – duck – duck – goose.  It’s duck confit, duck breast, foie gras and gooseberry reduction.

Travis “Shug” Phillips The Painted Chef thepaintedchef.com

My favorite thing about being a chef is › meeting different people with my food is very inspiring and makes me happy. I love hearing other people’s stories and experiences.

Some future career goals › I recently purchased a private residence that I plan to transform into a wedding and event venue. I hope to open in Fall 2017!

A tip I would give other aspiring chefs would be › don’t be scared to try new things. Always think outside of the box.

 

To read more Q+A's from these chefs, subscribe now or pick up the October/November issue of South magazine.  

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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!

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.
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Events Calendar

  • #art912, Avanguardia

    Nov 17, 2017
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Avanguardia, an exhibition by Savannah-based artist Lisa D. Watson (American, b. 1967), explores the encroachment of the constructed environment on...

  • Scenic Impressions: Southern Interpretations from the Johnson Collection

    Oct 13, 2017
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Telfair Academy

    When the world gets urban, the South gets Southern. That’s one way to sum up Scenic Impressions: Southern Paintings from the Johnson Collection,...

  • PULSE Art + Technology Festival 2018

    Jan 17, 2018
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Comprised of innovative digital artworks, projection performances, and engaging family programs, the 12th annual PULSE Art + Technology Festival...

  • Kirk Varnedoe: In the Middle at the Modern

    Sep 22, 2017
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Can you have an art exhibition without any artworks? Is a curator an artist? Who or what decides an object’s value? Through the lens of an art...

  • The Candy Apple Happy Hour

    Jun 13, 2017
    3:00 PM @ The Candy Apple Cafe

    Repeats every day until Sun Jun 18 2017  11 am Cocktail Artist Series The restaurant will serve cocktails inspired by select Broadway...

  • Mountainfilm on Tour - Savannah

    Jan 18, 2018
    7:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Trustees Theater

    Prepare to be inspired! Mountainfilm on Tour in Savannah returns for its 9th year [January 18-20, 2018]. We have an incredible line-up of...

  • Jacob Lawrence, Lines of Influence at SCAD Museum of Art

    Sep 07, 2017
    All Day @ SCAD Museum of Art

    Jacob Lawrence Lines of Influence Sept. 7, 2017 - Feb. 4, 2018 The SCAD Museum of Art and the Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence...

  • Coastal WildScapes Beaches and Barrier Islands

    Jan 20, 2018
    9:00 AM - 3:00 PM @ Richmond Hill City Center

    REGISTRATION 9 am Coffee and Snacks WELCOME 10 am COASTAL WILDSCAPES OF GEORGIA A GEOLOGIC PERSPECTIVE 10:10 am Clark Alexander BREAK 10:45 am...

  • "Beyond the Castle" Book Celebration

    Jan 20, 2018
    10:00 AM - 3:00 PM @ The Church Mouse

    Author, Jody Carbiener Dreyer will host a book celebration on Saturday, Jan. 20, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Church Mouse, 78 Arrow Road on...

  • PULSE Free Family Day and STEAM Expo

    Jan 20, 2018
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Telfair’s most popular Family Day includes opportuni­ties to experience all of the 2018 PULSE exhibitions and experiment with technology...

  • “One of These Nights,” The Music of The Eagles

    Jan 20, 2018
    8:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    The Eagles are arguably the quintessential American band combining influences of both rock and country into a unique sound that provided the...

  • PULSE Metropolis-Synthesis Screening/Performance

    Jan 21, 2018
    2:00 PM - 4:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Atlanta-based artists Alessandro Imperato and David Spencer return to PULSE to perform a re-interpretation of Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent film...

  • Lean Ensemble Theater presents 'Good People'

    Nov 28, 2017
    2:00 PM - 4:00 PM @ HHP Main Street Theatre

    Lean Ensemble Theater’s Production of Good People by David Lindsay-Abaire.  Welcome to Southie, a Boston neighborhood where a night on the...

  • National Reading Day

    Jan 23, 2018
    1:00 PM - 2:00 PM @ Hancock Day School

    The Sandfly Women Business Owner’s Coalition will promote literacy efforts on National Reading Day, Tuesday, Jan. 23, by spending time at Hancock...

  • Chocolate Bar Your Way Class

    Jun 14, 2017
    4:00 PM - 5:00 PM @ Sweet Pete's Candy

    4 pm sweetpetescandy.com Learn the art of old fashioned candy making in one of Sweet Pete’s Candy’s most popular classes. Sweet...

  • Daughters of the Dust Film Screening

    Jan 25, 2018
    6:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Julie Dash’s dreamy, visually-striking film, the first wide-release feature by a female African American director, tells the story of the Peazant...

  • American Traditions Vocal Competition Educational Outreach Concert

    Jan 25, 2018
    7:00 PM - 7:00 PM @ Skidaway Island UMC

    Join the American Traditions Vocal Competition (ATC) as they celebrate their first week of educating students in the Savannah-Chatham County Public...

  • Anything Flows Yoga Class

    Jun 15, 2017
    7:00 PM @ Dragon Dance Yoga

    7 pm Anything Flows Yoga Class Walk in rate: $14 Dragon Dance Yoga This class will take you beyond your comfort zone while still...

  • Lean Ensemble Theater presents 'Good People'

    Jan 25, 2018
    7:30 PM - 9:30 PM @ HHP Main Street Theatre

    Lean Ensemble Theater’s Production of Good People by David Lindsay-Abaire.  Welcome to Southie, a Boston neighborhood where a night on the...

  • Carrie Mae Weems: Sea Islands Series, 1991-1992

    Jan 26, 2018
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Considered one of the most influential contemporary artists, Carrie Mae Weems (American, b. 1953) has continued to explore the African American...


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Scenes of the South

Jazz'd Tapas Bar NYE

Make sure to check out these scenes from the Studio 54 NYE party at Jazz'd Tapas Bar!

Ho Ho Holiday Oyster Roast

Ele & The Chef hosted their 1st annual Ho Ho Holiday Oyster Roast at Current Kitchen & Cocktails on December 17th. All ticket sales benefitted Aiden Cares, an awareness intiitive that encourages giving and serving.

A prevention event by RCC - Step Up and Step In to Stop Bullying

This annual 8k run was held on December 16th at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center, and all proceeds for the event benefited the Rape Crisis Center.

Oyster Roast for a Reason

Check out these photos from the UGA Marine Extension and Georiga Sea Grant Oyster Roast for a Reason. Presented by Oyster South, a regional non-profit organization, the Oyster Roast for a Reason is a fundraising event that celebrates Georgia's first oyster hatchery and helps continue the University of Georgia's efforts to bring the oyster farming industry back to the Georgia coast.

Lip Syncing with Ghost Coast

One epic battle took place on Halloween night, and it all went down at Ghost Coast Distillery in Savannah. Visitors wore their funniest (and scariest!) costumes for the 2017 Halloween event. Many donned costumes that portrayed the singer they would be on stage during the lip sync battle.

Savannah Children's Book Festival 2017

This Saturday brought thousands of visitors to Forsyth Park for the annual Savannah Children's Book Festival. Hosted by the Live Oak Public Libraries, the day-long event showcased the talents of eleven featured authors and thirty-nine indie authors, illustrators, and performing artists from around the country. This year’s festival includes book signings and readings, arts and crafts, community partners and nonprofit organizations, as well as food.

Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé!

Thursday night was the night to celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau Day at 39 Rue De Jean in Savannah! The arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau symbolizes the official end of this year’s growing season. Harvest is complete and vintners—especially in France—are ready to celebrate the completion of the harvest. Beaujolais Nouveau is a red wine that is annually released on the third Thursday in November. Nouveau wine undergoes a very short fermentation process, and yields an extremely fresh and fruity wine. Attendees enjoyed heavy hors d’oeuvres, an oyster roast outside on the patio, and Henry Fessy Beaujolais Nouveau.

Taste of Savannah Food and Wine Festival 2017

This signature, festival event was a huge hit at its new location, the Georgia State Railroad Museum! Guests wandered the grounds savoring hundreds of wines, spirits, craft beers and more.

13 Secrets Jewelry One-Year Anniversary

Boutique owners Chad and Manu celebrated the one-year anniversary of 13 Secrets Thursday, Nov. 9. Event highlights included gourmet appetizers by local chefs, a wine tasting, door prizes and great networking opportunities! Here's to another great year!

Celebrity Chef Dinner

A night featuring dishes by some of the South's best, James Beard Awarded, Chef's of 2017. The night included multiple courses, each paired with the perfect wine to complement the flavors. Simply put - a dinner one will not soon forget!