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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Greatest Kids 2019

Nominate your kid this year and tell us why he or she has to be the winner of our South's Greatest Kids contest. Don't be shy — this could be your year!

Greatest Chefs 2019

Behind every good meal is a great chef; they are the invisible artists, working behind the scenes. Nominate your favorite chef for South magazine’s Greatest Chefs contest!
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Events Calendar

  • Savannah Philharmonic Chorus Auditions

    Sep 07, 2019
    10:00 AM - 2:00 PM @ Collegiate Church of St. Paul the Apostle

    The Savannah Philharmonic is holding auditions throughout the year for singers to have the opportunity to join the Chorus for the exciting...

  • SS Savannah (1819-2019)

    May 23, 2019
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Ships of the Sea Museum

    2019 marks the 200th anniversary of the SS Savannah's groundbreaking trans-Atlantic crossing.  In recognition of this monumental achievement,...

  • "Portrait of the Artist" Exhibition at Telfair Museums

    Aug 03, 2019
    12:00 PM - 12:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    This exhibition brings together several photographic portraits of recognizable creative individuals from Telfair’s permanent collection....

  • The World of the Davenports – Concert Series

    Sep 23, 2019
    6:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ Davenport House Museum

    Step into the shoes of the Davenport family and their parlor music. Immerse yourself in a world where the American Songbook was growing and the...

  • Savannah Jazz Festival

    Sep 22, 2019
    All Day

    Announcing the 38th annual Savannah Jazz Festival lineup, featuring 27 free performances highlighting regional, national and international jazz...

  • Bahamas Disaster Relief Day

    Sep 23, 2019
    All Day @ Green Truck Pub

    Join us on Monday September 23rd as 10% of all sales for the day will be donated to disaster relief for the Bahamas as they recover from Hurricane...

  • A New Leaf + Fundraiser for the Salvation Army

    Sep 24, 2019
    5:30 PM - 7:00 PM @ Savannah Station

    Savannah Master Calendar and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Bay Street Realty Group have partnered together to host an event to benefit The...

  • Arthouse Cinema: BUÑUEL IN THE LABYRINTH OF THE TURTLES (2019)

    Sep 24, 2019
    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Lucas Theatre

    In a stranger-than-fiction tale befitting the master surrealist filmmaker, BUÑUEL IN THE LABYRINTH OF THE TURTLES tells the true story of how...

  • September cSpot

    Sep 25, 2019
    5:30 PM - 7:30 PM @ The Fat Radish

    The goal of cSpot is to provide a fun environment for creatives and like-minded people to get together to connect and inspire. c is for creative....

  • Annual THRIVE Lowcountry Women’s Conference

    Sep 26, 2019
    12:30 PM - 5:00 PM @ Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa

    Marjorie Young, an award-winning public relations consultant and founder of Carriage Trade Public Relations® Inc., will share five proven...

  • Girlboss: Hair, Makeup, & Headshots

    Sep 26, 2019
    4:00 PM - 6:00 PM @ Hustle and Blow Dry Bar

    Getting ready to elevate your career, social profile, or even your dating app first impression? Take advantage of our annual #Girlboss: Personal...

  • Mini Golf Tournament

    Sep 26, 2019
    5:30 PM - 8:00 PM @ Bogey's Sports Bar and Mini Golf

    Let’s Par-Tee and help a Hole lot of people in our community! Join us for a night out with mini-golf, music, food and drinks to benefit...

  • Brews for a Cause

    Sep 26, 2019
    5:30 PM - 7:30 PM @ Casmir Lounge at 700 Drayton

    South Magazine and Southern Eagle presents BREWS FOR A CAUSE, Thursday September 26th, 2019.  Once a month, join a collection of...

  • Bingo Night for LLS

    Sep 26, 2019
    6:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ World of Beer

    It’s BINGO Night at World of Beer! Join us on Thursday, September 26th for some BINGO and fundraising for The Leukemia & Lymphoma...

  • Share the Bounty for Second Helpings

    Sep 26, 2019
    6:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Harbour Town Clubhouse, Sea Pines

    Second Helpings to Host Annual Event   Fight hunger locally by joining Second Helpings for our annual SHARE THE BOUNTY event, a night of...

  • SAVANNAH/CHATHAM CASA DANCING WITH SAVANNAH STARS

    Sep 26, 2019
    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Lucas Theatre for the Arts

    Join us on Thursday, September 26th for our 12th Annual Dancing with Savannah Stars. Join us for our signature fundraising event. All dollars...

  • 4th Annual Beaufort's Brewin' Craft Beer Festival

    Sep 27, 2019
    3:00 PM - 7:00 PM

    Prepare to raise a glass September 27th and 28th to mark Beaufort Wine and Food’s fourth annual craft beer festival, Beaufort’s...

  • "The Peanut Butter Falcon"

    Sep 27, 2019
    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    An award-winning modern Mark Twain style adventure story filmed in Savannah and Tybee Island, "The Peanut Butter Falcon," tells the story of Zak...

  • Friday Concert Series

    May 03, 2019
    7:00 PM - 12:00 AM @ Historic Courthouse, Downtown Blairsville on the S

    Come enjoy live music every Friday Night from the first Friday of May through the end of October. The Historic Union County Court House will host...

  • Cowboy Cookout and Boston Butt Fundraiser

    Sep 28, 2019
    11:00 AM - 1:00 PM @ Grainger Honda

    Y'all come on down for some BBQ fun at Grainger Honda & Grainger Nissan! Saturday, Sept. 28th from 11 am – 1 pm for some BBQ &...


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Scenes of the South

Grand Opening Studio 60 | Body Brite

Studio60BodyBrite owner and girl boss Bobbie Ciaccio unveiled Savannah’s newest salon to the public by hosting a grand opening, “Pink Party,” on Friday, Sept. 13.

The Laughter After: George Montero's Visual Art Show

Savannah's art world gathered at the Cork House, Thursday to experience the award winning SCAD graphic design professor, Jorge Montero's opening exhibition of paintings, drawings, prints and more!

Buy Local's Big Barn Business Bash

Brews for a Cause at Husk, August 22, was truly an unforgettable night, featuring live music by Thomas Claxton and some fantastic craft beer by Southern Eagle — along with the top-notch cuisine of Chris Hathcock. A variety of incredible auction items benefited the Royce Learning Center and the Chatham Academy, including a pearl necklace from International Diamond and several rounds on the Bacon Park Golf Course!

Ruth's Chris National Taste Maker's Veuve Clicquot Wine Dinner

Ruth's Chris held their Veuve Clicquot Tastemaker Dinner on Friday, August 23, pairing their signature steaks with renowned Veuve champagne — which was founded in 1772 and is one of the largest champagne houses in the world. The Tastemaker Dinners are held at Ruth's Chris locations across the country, featuring a five-course meal inspired by the French heritage of Veuve Clicquot, including dishes such as filet mignon and lobster agnolotti.

August Brews for a Cause at Husk

Brews for a Cause at Husk, August 22, was truly an unforgettable night, featuring live music by Thomas Claxton and some fantastic craft beer by Southern Eagle — along with the top-notch cuisine of Chris Hathcock. A variety of incredible auction items benefited the Royce Learning Center and the Chatham Academy, including a pearl necklace from International Diamond and several rounds on the Bacon Park Golf Course!

Leopold's Ice Cream's 100 Year Birthday Block Party

Leopold’s celebrated its 100th anniversary on Saturday, August 17, throwing a birthday block party to commemorate the event.

Savannah Downtown Business Association Luncheon

The Savannah Downtown Business Association held its monthly luncheon on Aug. 14

Bohemian Hotel 10th Anniversary

The Bohemian Hotel celebrated their 10th year in business with an incredible night of cocktails and appetizers. Guests ventured up to the stunning rooftop deck overlooking the Savannah River to celebrate the hotel's decennial anniversary — reveling in the scenery with a glass of champagne.

Stonewall50 - A Legendary Block Party

The Stonewall 50 block party, held on June 28th outside the LGBTQ Center on Bull Street, commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Protest — one of the most important moments in LGBTQ history and the catalyst for the gay rights movement.

Pelindaba Lavender Savannah Grand Opening

Pelindaba Lavender Grand Opening was this past Thursday, June 28th! This fun night included ribbon cutting, product sampling, lavender refreshments and special prizes! During this festive evening 10% of sales benefitted the good work of Coastal Pet Rescue. Stop by the store at 112 E Broughton St, Savannah, Ga to see the many products they offer!