A PUBLICATION OF THE RED & BLACK OCTOBER 2011
[ a m p e r s a n d ]
Athens’ own celebrity on his new cookbook, Top Chef and his family:
Hugh Acheson From doughnuts to bangers and mash: local chefs perfect specialty foods
A weight lifter’s guide to eating green
EDITOR’S NOTE........................................................ 4 STAFF and contributors........................... 4 On the cover Vegetarianism and weight lifting unite in an unstoppable combination of healthy living .......... 7
Celebrity chef, Top Chef judge and restaurateur, talks tacos, caviar, career and family .................... 16
Unique foods and their creators, here’s a guide to the nooks and crannies of Athens eats.............. 26
QUICK BITES Creativity and new forms of expression bring this food photographer closer to the plate ................. 5
From root to table, local produce programs and what to grow when the weather gets frightful....... 6
ON THE COVER
This Thanksgiving turn to local venues to help fill plates around town.............................. 7
eVERY MONTH MUSIC
Soulful songs use relative tastes in protest while Venice is Sinking invites ampersand to dinner ..... 10 COOKING
Savory smells of hearty home cooking, four ways to change up chili ....................................... 12 FASHION
Time to get creative, this fall’s best accessories and outerwear ..................................................... 22
online Visit redandblack.com and click on the ampersand tab to check out then ins and outs of food science and lunch deals around Athens.
Hugh Acheson welcomed ampersand into his home kitchen to mix it up, break it down and explain the ins and outs of food gone local. Cover photos by Kristy Densmore
Q: grew up eating Southern food (my grandma’s fried chicken is bar none) at home with my family. My mom made my brother and me try all types of food. We had to try everything at least once, even my arch nemeses tomatoes and asparagus. Now that I’m older she doesn’t have to force me to eat everything she cooks, but now all I eat is tomato sandwiches. Funny how that works out. Food brings people together, especially in a tight knit eclectic town like Athens where friends and family can take advantage of a culinary mecca of local and specialty foods. There is a reason we had a hard time whittling down what went into this issue — everyone loves to eat. Whether it is at my favorite restaurant in Athens, or my grandma’s house, no matter how far I may stray from home after graduation this December I know Athens will always welcome me back to the table. See you next month. Best,
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Send us feedback! We want your input on our publication. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with thoughts, questions, comments or criticism.
This month’s theme has our staff thinking about all things food. Here’s the question of the month.
What is your least favorite Thanksgiving food?
RACHEL G. BOWERS EDITOR IN CHIEF
AMANDA JONES DESIGN EDITOR
Answer: “My mom made these mashed purple potatoes last year that wound up solidifying in the pot. No one ate them. Sorry, Mom.”
Answer: “What’s that crap called? Cranberry sauce? Ew.”
Rachel is a senior newspapers major
MEGAN SWANSON MANAGING EDITOR
Answer: “I simply disagree with Amanda Jones.” Megan is a senior magazines major
MAURA FRIEDMAN CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Answer: “Usually I would say turkey, but I’m now a reformed vegetarian.”
Remy THurston COOKING EDITOR
Answer: “Oyster stuffing. What are shellfish doing inside my turkey anyway?” Remy is a senior magazines major
allison love AssIStANT PHOTO EDITOR
Answer: “I love my Thanksgivings in Kentucky, just not the corn pudding.” Allison is a senior magazines major
Maura is a junior magazines and political science major
ampersand is the
& is all things red & black
PUBLISHER | HARRY MONTEVIDEO EDITOR IN CHIEF | RACHEL G. BOWERS MANAGING EDITOR | MEGAN SWANSON SENIOR EDITOR | MAURA FRIEDMAN DESIGN Editor | AMANDA JONES PHOTO EDITOR | KRISTy DENSMORE Asst. photo editor | Allison love FASHION EDITOR | TAYLOR HANDBERRY ASST. FASHION EDITOR | MORGAN JOHNSON COOKING EDITORS | JESSICA ROBERTS, REMY THURSTON DESIGNeRs | JAN-MICHAEL CART, LOGAN PORTER CONTRIBUTING WRITERS | ROBYN ABREE, JASON AXELROD, SARAH GIARRATANA, SATYAM KASWALA, PATRICK MCGINN, ADINA SOLOMON, ANSLEY VASCONCELLOS PHOTOGRAPHERS | MICHAEL BARONE, parker feierbach, AJ REYNOLDS, EVAN STICHLER FASHION PHOTOGRAPHER | MICHELLE NORRIS EDITORIAL ADVISER | ED MORALES
ADVERTISING DIRECTOR | NATALIE MCCLURE Student Ad Manager | Sarah Overstreet Account ExecutiveS | Claire Barron, Dana Cox, Claire Driscoll, Corey Jones, Patrick Klibanoff, Kevin Maxwell, Ivy Robinson, Hitch ross, Stephanie Wright PR Liaison & Distribution Coordinator | Emily Gober AD ASSISTANTS | Laurel Holland, Sarah Oldaker, Jenna Vines, Haley Winther PRODUCTION STUDENT Production Manager JoshUA TREY Barnett Production Staff | Jennie ChIU Creative Assistants | Perry Bern, Bora Shehu
BUSINESS Office Manager | Erin Beasley Assistant Office Manager | Ally Geronimo Cleaning Person | Mary Jones
Amanda is a senior art education major
Copyright 2011: No portion of this magazine may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. The Red & Black reserves the right to refuse advertising for any reason. The opinions expressed by writers do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Red & Black or the University of Georgia.
Rinne Allen has bridged the gap between fine art photography and food photography.
by Maura Friedman, photos by Kristy Densmore
Sunshine streams through the windows of Rinne Allen’s Pulaski Street photography studio, bathing the worn robin egg blue and exposed brick walls in light. Although the Athens native’s background is strictly in the fine arts, Allen has recently branched out to commercial projects and food photography. Her work has been featured in Food & Wine magazine and three cookbooks, including “A New Turn in the South” by Hugh Acheson, owner of local restaurants 5 & 10 and The National. Allen’s images are creamy and bright, with a vibrancy of textures that almost makes the food look three-dimensional. She sat down with ampersand, and in a faint Southern accent explained her craft.
&: How did you transition into food photography? RA: I’ve always photographed … plants and things growing and my own plants growing … and I have friends who are farmers and friends who are chefs and just by eating, I would start taking my camera and start taking pictures of food as I was enjoying food or visiting a farm. About three years ago, I was contacted by Food & Wine magazine to do some photographs for a story about some Athens chefs and that was the first official “we’d like you to do food photography” kind of job.
&: Why do you enjoy food photography? RA: I think food is very beautiful and I think food preparation is very beautiful and food after the plates have been eaten is very beautiful. The process of someone preparing a meal is very elemental … cooking for someone is one of the simplest things that you can do, but it can be very artfully done. Cooking is a creative expression. I think when I’m able to photograph that, it’s almost like we work together, in tandem, I kind of feed off what they’re creating and that helps me create better photographs.
&: Can you tell me some about your project with Hugh Acheson? RA: All around Hugh’s office I noticed these different handwritten notes and sketches that he would do when he was working on food and menus for the restaurant. I really wanted to use those in the book because I thought those were very true to Hugh, very authentic. His handwriting and his sketches are all throughout the book. Hopefully you look at the book and you know Hugh.
Allen took photos for friend Hugh Acheson’s recently released cookbook, “A New Turn in the South.”
Food photos by Rinne Allen
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a m p e r s a n d
by Ansley Vasconcellos
Locally-grown produce is enjoying the spotlight right now as consumers and vendors alike acknowledge the benefits of eating food that isn’t shipped from far away. Heirloom Café & Fresh Market, which opened recently on N. Chase Street, features produce and meats from a variety of local sources. One of the restaurant’s signature sides — braised turnips and turnip greens — features veggies from Sundance Family Farm, which is located just outside Danielsville, Ga. Come along for this piece of produce’s journey from the farm where it’s grown to the table where it’s served.
by Jessica Roberts, photos by Allison Love
Like all veggies, these turnips start out in the ground at a farm. The 30-acre property — home to three kids, a dozen turkeys and a large dog named Sassy — is owned by Ed and Kim Janosik and is 18 miles from the café. The farm also supplies Heirloom with radishes, kale, bok choy, peppers and toma-
toes. Ed allows the turnips mature for 50 to 60 days before pulling them for delivery. He harvests the turnips the day before delivering them to maintain the greens’ freshness and nutritional content. Some of the less presentable leaves are fed to a lucky horse, and the bulbs themselves get
a good scrub. The turnips get delivered to Heirloom less than 24 hours after being pulled from the ground. Ed usually heads to Heirloom after he finishes up at the Athens Farmers Market on Saturday
The UGA Meal Plan offers new and unique cuisine for students. Bolton Dining Commons now serves hickory and oak smoked BBQ every night of the week.
mornings. The turnips and their leaves are broken down by Jessica Rothacker, one of Heirloom’s owners. The veggie is then braised in the kitchen for two hours with a mix of bacon, apples, onions, jalapeños, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar and water. The apples and bacon are locally
sourced too. The dish makes its way onto a serving plate in the restaurant, finishing its short journey in the belly of one of Heirloom’s happy customers.
a quick guide to
Sifting through the grocery store isn’t necessary when you have a ready-made bundle of vegetables delivered right to you through Community Supported Agriculture CSA programs deliver farm fresh produce to veggie-lovers at a reasonable price. To receive produce of your own, subscribe to a local company for a single growing season or an entire year. As a starting point, here are a couple of companies that provide this service in Athens: Athens Locally Grown: Athens Locally Grown’s $25/yr membership fee includes payment for farm tours, educational programs and helps the company with overhead costs. Because ALG allows you to order vegetables twice before investing in the yearly fee, this CSA is a great way to test the waters. When you place an order with ALG, you’re able to pick which vegetables and quantities you want from the farms you prefer. A weekly email provides members with a list of produce, milled products, fresh flowers and artisan goods. Once you’ve placed an order, you can pick up your purchases at Ben’s Bikes at the corner of Pope and Broad Street. For more information, go to athens.locallygrown.net.
by Ansley Vasconcellos
Mon. - Smokin’ Chicken Halves Tues. - Smokin’ Boston Pork Butts Wed. - Smokin’ Turkey Breast Thurs. - Smokin’ Beef Brisket Fri. - Smokin’ St. Louis Style Pork Ribs
At Bolton Sign up for the meal plan online at: www.uga.edu/foodservice For more information call 706-542-7130 UGA Food Services
Served at Dinner 4-8PM
Lettuce: Use a small container with a lid and make 8-9 holes in the bottom of the container so water can drain. Add 2 inches of potting soil before planting the seeds — generally it’s good to plant about 25 lettuce seeds for a plentiful supply. Put the lid on the container for the first few days and set it on a windowsill. When the seeds begin to sprout, take the lid off and set it under the container to catch the water draining out. Make sure to keep the soil moist. Garlic: Plant each clove about 5 inches apart in a container filled with potting soil. Place the container on a windowsill for light. Make sure to water the soil often. Garlic adds great flavor to soups and doubles as a fighting agent against wintertime illnesses. Radishes: Fill a container with potting soil and sprinkle the radish seeds on top. Lightly cover them with a thin layer of soil and water it until the soil is moist. Keep the container in a windowsill for plenty of light. For the best results, make sure to pick the radishes before they get too large, otherwise they won’t be as tender and sweet. You will soon enjoy putting them on sandwiches or baking them into chips.
Roots Farm: The “7 Weeks of Veggies” program offers members of Roots Farm’s CSA program a variety of vegetables — greens like kale and arugula can be included along with tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and sweet potatoes. Roots Farm offers two different pick-up days and rates. Members can pick up their vegetables on Tuesday for $16 per week or Fridays at 5 Points for $18 per week. The farm is accepting members for October and November. For more information about the Roots Farm program or for signing up, you can visit www.rootsfarm.org.
for new vegetarians
• A varied vegetarian diet can be extremely heart healthy, and rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants from plant phytochemicals, which can alleviate inflammation in joints, and equate to overall better health and athletic performance.
Story by Robyn Abree, photos by Michael Barone
A plant-eater’s guide for obtaining a strong, muscular physique. Jordan drinks a protein shake and snacks on nuts and seeds everyday to get a healthier protein fix.
hris Jordan is a man’s man. On any given day, you can find the long-time boxer and fitness fanatic throwing punches, lifting weights, or teaching sweatinducing boxing and kick-boxing classes at Ramsey. For Jordan, exercise is more than a hobby, and from the looks of his muscular frame, it’s his life. But the boxing vet credits his brawn to a simple lifestyle choice most of his bodybuilding peers wouldn’t expect. Jordan is a vegetarian. “I’m more energetic, quicker on my feet, I sleep better, and my mind is sharper when I don’t eat meat,” Jordan said. He also noticed recovery times in between intense workouts are dramatically shorter than before when he was a regular meateater. Vibrancy is one potential perk of converting to a vegetarian lifestyle said Katherine Ingerson, a registered dietician at UGA, but making a radical diet change can have its drawbacks if not done properly. For new vegetarians, and especially for vegans, the primary nutrients of concern when eschewing meat are iron, vitamin B-12, calcium and vitamin D. The easiest way for active vegetarians to ensure nutritional balance, Ingerson said, is to take a multivitamin that has a 100 percent of the total daily value of iron, vitamin B-12, vitamin D, zinc and folic acid. Jordan adheres to a hearty plant-based diet, but also takes a multivitamin everyday to make sure he’s getting necessary vitamins not as readily found in plant-based foods, such as vitamin B-12. He also takes additional vitamin C supplements to boost his immune system and energy levels. Nutritional deficiencies can be easily avoided following a plant-based diet, but let’s not forget the elephant in the weight room that concerns most people about eating green: protein. For someone who is following a varied plant-based diet getting enough protein shouldn’t be an issue, said Maria Breen, a sports nutritionist for UGA. Only new vegetarians who neglect to substitute other high-quality protein sources such as soy products, nuts, beans and quinoa are at risk for a protein deficiency. There’s also the widespread myth that trading meat for carbohydrate-based protein sources will pack on the pounds or decrease muscle mass, but Breen flat out denies the correlation. “There is this misconception carbs will make you fat, but if you don’t get enough carbs, you could risk being tired all the time and decrease the intensity of workouts,” said Breen. In fact, she said Americans worrying about eating too many carbohydrates may be overshadowing a more relevant issue: the over consumption of protein. “If you’re over-consuming protein, it could be equally as detrimental as if you weren’t getting enough, and your body will just store it as fat.” Jordan finds this misconception all too familiar since many of his younger male friends and students are afraid to give up meat for fear that they will lose muscle definition. “I have a lot of friends in their early 20s who eat a lot of meat and fast food, but think it’s OK because they are still ripped,” said Jordan. “What they are not thinking about is how all the saturated fat and abuse they are doing to their body now will catch up with them later down the road.” But what about the times a new vegetarian just craves a hamburger? Both Ingerson and Breen said that there is no scientific evidence that suggests craving something means you need it, but that it all comes down to how important adhering to a vegetarian lifestyle is for the individual. To initially quell cravings, Jordan said he tricked his body thinking it’s eating meat by eating veggie burgers and meatless “chicken” wings. And while Jordan swears by his diet and recommends everyone, athlete or otherwise, give it a shot, he recognizes being a strict vegetarian may not be for everyone. “Healthy is different for everyone,” said Jordan. “I just know what works for me.”
• Some nutrients from plant-based sources, such as iron don’t as readily absorb in the body. To avoid anemia problems, incorporate vitamin C into every meal, with foods such as strawberries, bell peppers, spinach and tomatoes, since the nutrient aids the absorption of iron. • Vegans should seek out foods fortified with the energy-stabilizing vitamin B-12, such as soymilk and cereal, since the nutrient is best found in animal by-products. • B-12 and iron deficiencies can cause fatigue, but dehydration and inadequate calorie consumption can cause exhaustion for active individuals. If you eat a varied diet and still suspect you’re nutrient deficient get a blood test right away.
Boxing vet and vegetarian lifestyle advocate, Jordan teaches kick-boxing at Ramsey.
• Eat a protein source with every meal. Having a salad? Add some beans into the mix. Eating a bagel in the morning? Spread some peanut butter on it. Simple, mindful adjustments will ensure adequate protein intake for worriers.
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a m p e r s a n d
Athens service organizations are on a mission to feed those who need it and they’re looking for volunteers. In 2009, 36.3 percent of people in Athens-Clarke County were below the poverty level, which was more than double the rate for the entire state, according to the United States Census Bureau. by Adina Solomon
The Food Bank of Northeast Georgia Cardboard boxes of canned beans, macaroni and cheese and other nonperishable foods fill the shelves of the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia’s warehouse; the never-ending chain of rooms is packed with food. “We never know what we’re going to get or why we get it. We’re just grateful,” said Tina Laseter, development director. Members of service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega volunteer at the food bank one Wednesday night a month. Between 15 and 20 people usually come out, said Robert Snipes, president of APO. Along with APO, Becker said many fraternities and University athletic teams – “Coach Richt and the Bulldogs are wonderful supporters,” he mentions – volunteer at the food bank on Newton Bridge Road. Students sort cans and boxes of food, plant crops in a farm the food bank uses or even hold a fundraising event of their own to support the food bank. Becker also said students are welcome to think of “something creative to do.”
Our Daily Bread
Campus Kitchens at UGA
Our Daily Bread gives Athens a meal every day of the week, making it the go-to place for many homeless and working poor. The organization on Oconee Street serves Athens residents in need, supplying breakfast and lunch on weekdays and sack meals on the weekends. “We’re basically an open table,” said Erin Barger, program director of Action Ministries in Athens. “People can come and eat, and we don’t ask questions. We don’t ask for proof of income.” Around 130 people – from the homeless to the working poor – typically come for each meal. Students can get together with friends or an organization to help plan and make a breakfast, lunch or sack meal. Our Daily Bread provides more than food. Barger said it also is a “safety net that prevents homelessness” for those who make minimum wage and can’t pay every bill to support their families. “The overall sentiment is that people would not have a place to eat if Daily Bread didn’t exist,” she said.
Sarah Jackson, Campus Kitchens coordinator, was eating with organization volunteers in Subway on South Lumpkin Street and making plans for the non-profit. Jubel Smith, the manager of Subway, overheard the conversation and wanted to help. “Whenever I can, I try to get involved with things like that,” Smith said. Subway became one of many other restaurants and fraternity houses to donate leftover food to Campus Kitchens at UGA. The “student-powered” non-profit organization creates meals from the leftover food to distribute to members of the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program, Jackson explains. Grandparents Raising Grandchildren serves grandparents who must act as parents for their grandchildren. “It’s kind of a hub for professors and students alike to engage in food and hunger issues on a service and academic level,” Jackson said, “It’s really where the students want to take it.”
photo by Andrea Briscoe
how to get involved Campus Kitchens at UGA (above) Who they serve: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Who to contact: Sarah Jackson, (706) 542-8924 Food Bank of Northeast Georgia Who they serve: Northeast Georgia non-profit agencies for distribution to those in need Who to contact: Main office, (706) 354-8191 Our Daily Bread Who they serve: homeless and the working poor, but no questions are asked of anyone Who to contact: Erin Barger, (706) 353-7466
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a m p e r s a n d
music photo by AJ Reynolds
Just as Billie Holiday challenged America’s domestic brutality through food-related symbolism, Athens legend R.E.M. later did the same regarding the nation’s bloody foreign affairs. The group’s 1988 song “Orange Crush” is a searing commentary on the experience of being yanked from normal life and thrown into battle to “serve your conscience overseas.” When Michael Stipe sings over ringing guitars, “I’ve got my spine, I’ve got my Orange Crush,” he’s referencing Agent Orange, which ironically destroyed food supplies during the Vietnam War. The music itself feels like a soundtrack to war, featuring calland-response vocals, a drill sergeant and guitars that charge up and stop.
Folk singer Michael Hurley’s stunning 1965 “Tea Song” crystallizes the entire world’s pain into a pot of tea symbolically brewing for him alone. “Tea Song” remains one of the most devastating meditations on loneliness. A mournful acoustic guitar chugs along as Hurley’s primal, defeated voice courageously conjures its remaining strength to leap between two aching notes, lingering at the end of each line as though he’s afraid that it too will soon desert him. He yearningly belts out, “Buddha made of stone and his eyes are ruby. But his thoughts and dreams are distilled in the tea,” recognizing the spirituality that comes only to those forced to take shelter in the lonely arms of solitude.
Eastern philosophies hold that we absorb part of the consciousness of the things we eat. But too often, musicians have treated these things lightheartedly, relegating them to the sugary status of novelty songs. Yet these bold songs have used food in darker ways as potent metaphors to register their discontent with the world.
by Patrick McGinn
Years before Martin Luther King Jr., began organizing, the Civil Rights Movement found an arresting voice in 1939 through Billie Holiday. That year, the immeasurably influential jazz and pop vocalist recorded “Strange Fruit,” one of the movement’s most intense laments. Based on a poem by Abel Meerobol, Holiday finds the music and inveighs with poetry, “Southern trees bear a strange fruit ... Black body swinging in the Southern breeze.” Much of the iconic anti-lynching song’s staggering power lies in Holiday’s breathtaking restraint. With each line, her emotion escalates and threatens to explode, but never does. As her burning voice swings from side to side, pushed by the wind, and we become spectators. She implicates our history, and we are guilty.
Athens dream pop darlings Venice is Sinking gave ampersand a glimpse into its musical appetites. “We go on tour for a couple of things. We like to see places. But really ... we just like to eat at these places,” says Lucas Jensen, drummer.
the entrance ... Jensen answers the door with a La Playa beer in one hand and leads me toward the strangely powerful German folk music percolating through the air. “We dig old vinyl, especially international records,” says Jensen filing through the frayed edges.
the lineup ...
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In the dining room we are greeted by five distinct salsas: 5 & 10 executive chef Hugh Atchinson’s salsa verde recipe, watermelon pico de gallo, serrano salsa verde, chipotle salsa and the main attraction of the evening — pork salsa with marmalade, soy sauce and a little cumin.
photo by Kristy Densmore
Carolina ’cue ...
While they recorded AZAR (2009) in North Carolina, they were fortunate enough to have a Viola player and biochemist Carolyn sausage factory a block down the road. Kilos of Troupe, who couldn’t make it for the wax paper wrapped pork just waiting to be feast, is not too shabby around the converted to greasy goodness. Carolina barbecue kitchen either. When she’s not playing flashbacks are unavoidable. “I remember you a mean fiddle, she’s brewing up some could get [pork] sliced, like brisket style, not just kombucha (Chinese herbal tea) or pulled. This is something you would never see culturing some Turkish kefir yogurt. down here in Georgia,” remembers Daniel Lawson, frontman.
the real masters ...
Popeye’s or Bojangles? ... Southern fast food holds a special place in the band members’ culinary hearts. One Thanksgiving they set out to settle an age-old question – who has the best Cajun fried turkey, Popeye’s or Bojangles? Unfortunately they weren’t able to procure the former fowl, so they settled for Bojangles; which for 30 bucks is not a bad option at all.
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a m p e r s a n d
by Jessica Roberts recipes by Rémy Thurston photos by Allison Love
Practically every culture has its own version of chili, which originally consisted of dried meat and beans cooked in boiling water. These days, there are a wide variety of chilis to choose from when you’re hankering for something substantial. Cool weather makes creature comforts seem that much better — fuzzy socks, hot cocoa and hearty meals are the best parts of the season change. These warm, rib-sticking chili recipes will keep you feeling cozy, no matter how cold it gets outside.
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3 cloves garlic 1 green bell pepper 1 sweet onion 1 cup chicken stock 1 can tomato sauce (not paste or crushed or diced) 1 Tbsp Italian herbs or herbes de Provence 2 Tbsp regular or smoked paprika 2 Tbsp of cumin 3 bay leaves (optional but encour aged) 1 can pinto beans 1 can kidney beans 1 can great northern beans 1 can black beans 1 lb. ground chuck (80 percent fat, 20 percent lean) 1 Tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder 1.5 oz. of bourbon Salt and pepper to taste
Brown the ground beef over medium to high heat in a frying pan until a brown crust appears on the meat as you stir. When the meat is satisfactorily cooked, pour it into the slow cooker and set aside. Roughly dice the onion and pepper and add them to the frying pan with the leftover beef fat. Stir occasionally on medium heat until the peppers are soft and the onions are translucent or starting to caramelize. While the peppers and onions cook mince the garlic and add to the frying 1 - 2 before the vegetables are done. Remove vegetables from the heat soon after to make sure the garlic does not burn. The vegetables get to join the ground chuck in the slow cooker with the cup of chicken stock. Turn on slow cooker to high. Open the cans of beans and drain all of them except the black beans. The liquid in the black beans with add depth of flavor and help thicken the chili as it cooks. The four cans of beans join the party in the crock pot as well as all the other ingredients. Stir until a uniform consistency develops and leave on high for at least 3 hours, do not be afraid to let it sit for 6 - 8 hours. It will only get better with time.
White Chili 1 can corn 1 can Great Northern or Cannelloni beans 1 can Navy beans (these beans break down faster and will help hold your chili together) 4 cloves garlic 1 lb ground turkey or chicken 1 Tbsp bacon fat (optional but it helps with the low fat content of the fowl and makes everything taste better) 1 tsp anchovy paste (optional but once again adds an extra layer of meatiness) ½ Tbsp white pepper (add more if you like things spicy) 2 Tbsp cumin 1 sweet onion 1 yellow bell pepper 1 Tbsp dried oregano 1 cup chicken stock 2 bay leaves Brown the pound of turkey or chicken in a frying pan with the bacon fat should you decide to use it — you really should. Fully cook the meat if you are afraid of big bad salmonella but the meat will cook through in the slow cooker regardless. Remove from heat and place in the slow cooker. Roughly dice the onion and yellow pepper and sauté over medium heat in the same frying pan to pick up the flavors left behind by the bacon and turkey/chicken until the vegetables are softened. Mince garlic and add it to the pan for 1 - 2 minutes. Add the vegetables and the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker, mixing until everything is well incorporated. Then, in the illustrious words of Ron Popeil, “Set it and forget it,” cooking on high in the slow cooker for 5 - 6 hours.
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Vegetarian Chili 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained 1 cup Portobello mushrooms (any meaty fungi will do) 1 sweet onion 1 red bell pepper 2 cans garbanzo beans 1 can kidney beans 1 can black beans 1 cup vegetable stock 2 Tbsp cumin 1 Tbsp chili powder 4 cloves garlic 1 Tbsp olive oil 1 sweet potato Peel and chop a sweet potato into 1-inch cubes, then put into the slow cooker. Chop up the red pepper, onion and mushrooms and sauté in the olive oil over medium heat until onions and peppers are soft. During the last few minutes of sautéing mince and add the garlic. Add the medley along with the sweet potatoes and vegetable stock to the slow cooker. Open and drain all the beans except the black beans and add to the pot. The liquid from the black beans will help flavor and thicken the chili while it simmers. Splash in the can of tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients, and stir together. Set the slow cooker to high heat and let cook for at least 3 hours. Garnish each bowl of chili with your choice of cheese, chopped parsley, scallions or sour cream. Serve with crusty bread for dipping.
Cincinnati Chili 3 cups water 2 lbs. ground beef (80/20) 2 tsp cumin 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce ¾ tsp garlic powder 3 tsp chili powder 1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika 3 tsp allspice 1 6 oz can tomato paste 2 Tbsp cider vinegar 2 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp cayenne pepper
Additional spicy ingredients to taste (habanero sauce, naga jalokia, etc). Crumble raw ground beef into a large pot or slow cooker with the water. Do not brown first. Add all other ingredients. Simmer 3 - 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Skim off any excess fat if desired. Salt and pepper to taste before serving.
a m p e r s a n d
Hugh Acheson is the rising star of the Southeast’s culinary scene. Along with being a decorated chef, restaurateur and now celebrity cooking judge on Bravo’s “Top Chef” season nine, he is also known as an energetic supporter of the Athens community and gives the locals a place to go when their appetites call for something slightly more refined.
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he culinary equivalent of Michael Stipe stepped out of a silver Volkswagen with a tennis racket in one hand and his keys in the other. “Sorry I’m late,” Acheson said, unlocking the door to his house. He entered his spacious Boulevard residence and made a beeline from the front door, through the purposefully decorated living area and was sitting at the island in the middle of his kitchen in just seconds. The energy from his tennis practice was still bubbling inside him. Acheson’s angular face and silver-blue eyes were set under a proudly unmaintained singular brow and occasionally his mouth turned upward into thin smirk during conversation. In general celebrity chefs’ kitchens are pictured as a headquarters for gustatory inspiration – full of expensive copper pans strung along the walls and stainless steal appliances humming with potential. This kitchen was a tasteful mélange of high performance equipment and family photos. The truth is that Acheson is first and foremost dedicated to his family, particularly his two daughters Beatrice, 9, and Clementine, 7. A pink hairbrush
next to the sink, Beatrice’s height penciled on a doorframe and the two fuchsia and purple bicycles left in the front walkway make clear this house is not just where a celebrity chef sleeps, but instead where a close knit family lives. Finding his way to Athens Acheson explained in a Canadian accent with metallic how he started his career as a dishwasher at Bank Street Café in Ottawa, Canada watching cooks slug around food such as fried zucchini and burgers. From washing dishes, Acheson found himself working in higher class Italian establishments in Montreal soaking up all the cooking savoir-faire as possible. After experimenting with college, Acheson moved back to Ottawa in 1994 with Mary Koon, now his wife, to work in other haute cuisine establishments. The two met when Acheson was living with his mother and stepfather for two years in Clemson, S.C., while he was in middle school. In college they reconnected and were married two years later in Charleston, S.C. Six months later and the couple moved to Athens, Koon’s birthplace, where she intended to complete her Master’s degree in art history at the University of Georgia. With high-end French and Italian cuisine experience on his Rolodex of culinary skill sets, Acheson became the head chef and manager of the local Last Resort
Grill. But the experience there was too far from what Acheson wanted. “It was a different style of restaurant than what I was used to. It was fantastically busy … It’s just not really my style of food … They have very good ownership and they make a lot of money but sometimes that’s the complete antithesis of what I want to do in life,” Acheson said. When Koon completed her studies, the couple took up residence in San Francisco for just less than two years. Acheson worked in several top-tier restaurants while there and further established his name as a professional chef after helping to open Gary Danko under the renowned chef of the same name. Then he answered a call from Melissa Clegg, owner of Last Resort. Constantly on the move
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Acheson had been fidgeting with his keys flicking them back and forth on the countertop, occasionally leaving them alone to play with a piece of yarn. Acheson’s newly adopted Italian Greyhound, Claire, had come to investigate. Always on the move, Acheson used this as an opportunity to get up and see if she needed to be fed.
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Acheson’s dedication to fine dining has brought acclaim, but dedication to family and community are what truly set him apart.
Return to the Classic City Clegg wanted Acheson to come back to Athens and help her open what would become 5&10 in Five Points. Acheson, growing tired of the big city, jumped at the opportunity to have a small establishment that he could run exactly the way he wanted. Acheson brought an old friend onto the project, Chuck Ramsey. The pair worked tirelessly for the first year to bring together a consistent staff of highly trained waiters and cooks. Acheson has now left the dayto-day operation of 5&10 to Ramsey, who is now a partner in the restaurant. Their goals for the restaurant are so homogeneous that to have one of the men in the kitchen is enough to direct the operation the way they wanted it to go. Ramsey remembers the arduous start up process well. The chief complaint from customers at the beginning was never the food. Acheson made sure the food that went out was new and exciting every time. It was the heat. The Georgia summer and lack of adequate air
conditioning led one customer to complain that it was “hot as Malaysia” inside. The desire to please the customer pervaded everything from the indoor temperature to the carefully chosen nightly specials. People noticed. “So we started getting notoriety as being this sort of little restaurant with this guy who was trying hard in the South and we were all trying hard in the restaurant and we just started getting accolades,” Acheson said. Indeed, Acheson’s little restaurant in the South became a magnet for favorable reviews. In what Acheson said was a ballsy move at the time, he emailed chief dining critic John Kessler at the Atlanta JournalConstitution to request a review. The result was a raving three out of four stars and eventually winning the Atlanta JournalConstitution’s Restaurant of the Year award in 2007. “We started having this weird phenomenon of people traveling over from Atlanta to have dinner in Athens, which was new for Athens. I mean, Athens had never really had a great restaurant. We did good food – we did some great food – at Last Resort,” Acheson said. Acheson said that he did owe a lot to the Last Resort and it was apparent his comments were meant less as slights and more as differentiating characteristics between establishments. “Over time what I’ve done is be a relatively smart practitioner of community restaurants from the stand point of running restaurants that care about food and wine and with not too much pomp and circumstance. The fanciness is what you make of it.” Acheson explained. He comes from a background of fine dining, and the caliber of restaurant he was trained in just would not fit into the community of Athens. “The popularity of that style of dining, outside Chicago and New York, is a waning concept in North America – so we do things like the National,” Acheson said. The National combines the exotic and the familiar in a way that the experienced palate cannot foresee and the unseasoned tongue can savor. Pairings of mussels and pineapple or dates and cheese are not strangers to the menu. The cultural cornucopia of Athens could be described in a similar fashion, which is perhaps why Acheson’s theory is not so far off the mark. “There’s an Athens reality, and as many things as I want to bring to Athens some are just not going to be economically viable,” Acheson said. The best example of this, perhaps, Acheson said is Gosford Wine, the wine shop he recently closed down due to lack of patronage. “But I think that Athens is maturing in food, and has been for a long time, not just due to us but also due to better and better food products, better grocers and the farmers market and people like Farm 255 and the great ethnic backbone of…” He paused as if to admit something revelatory, “I think Athens has better Mexican food than anywhere I’ve been in the Southeast. I mean
awesome,” Acheson said. Later in the interview Acheson revealed that he had tentative plans to start a Mexican barbecue place. The hard work pays off These formulas Acheson had come up with were and are working. The prestige his establishments carry now is the evidence of that. Acheson himself is not immune to the critics’ goodwill. Food & Wine named him its Best New Chef in 2002 and he has been nominated for a James Beard Award every year since 2007. Also that year, The National, opened in downtown Athens and a third restaurant, Empire State South, graced Atlanta’s cooking landscape in 2010. Now, Acheson is making television appearances regularly on Bravo’s wildly popular show “Top Chef.” He started as a contestant playing for charity on “Top Chef: Masters” and was invited back to be a guest judge on “Top Chef: Just Desserts.” “It’s been exciting a lot of the time, but also stressful. Hugh has worked long hours since we were together in Ottawa, so it’s been nice to see him gain recognition. He’s working harder than ever now, but it’s different. There’s a little more flexibility, somehow,” his wife said. The move to television is a natural one. Anyone could see that after talking to Acheson. He speaks in a direct fashion with concision and the honesty necessary for the “character” he plays on “Top Chef ”. “It was fun to compete [on “Top Chef: Masters”] I think I was treating it with a lot less severity than most people were. I was just meant to be the jackass,” he said with a glint in his eye. “I’m good at that.” Acheson was milling around his kitchen, not having been able to sit back down again. His assistant appeared from the back of the house and handed him a jar of caviar he needed to approve for the restaurant. After a glance at the price tag and a few spoonfuls doled out on Triscuits with a smear of cream cheese he deemed the batch over priced for the quality and turned his attention back to me. In trying to glean some extra information about the new season of “Top Chef ” that premiered earlier this month, his assistant piped up with the reminder that Bravo keeps details about its show under legal lock and contractual key to prevent spoilers. Despite that, Acheson did not mind sharing that he really enjoys working with his fellow judges Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, Padma Lakshmi and the rest of the crew on the show. He prefers being a judge on the original “Top Chef ” because the sweet deserts on “Top Chef: Just Deserts” were harsh on his savory-friendly taste buds. Texas, he said, will prove to be a great spot for the show because the food in the cities that hosted the show (San Antonio, Austin and Dallas) is superb. From the 23846
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affordable to high end, he saw and tasted great food on every point of the spectrum while he was there, which is something he appreciates in a city’s food offerings. It seems that “everything is bigger in Texas” will have an effect on what sort of food themes will air during the course of the season. A tattoo, a way of life The enormous radish tattooed on his left forearm just under the tattoo of his wife’s name on his bicep. It is a reminder of the first vegetable he successfully planted as well as the radish sandwiches of his childhood, which launched him into a discussion on sustainability and community in Athens. Talking about it made his eyes narrow and flicker with the intense beliefs he holds on the subject. Acheson first and foremost recommended signing up to receive CSA boxes. Crates arrive regularly at your door stocked with local, seasonal produce for a monthly fee. The program supports local farmers and promotes a sustainable food source. He also recommended starting a small garden if for nothing else but to save on the price gouging he said goes on in the fresh herb business. Hugh in writing Acheson’s recent book “A New Turn in the South” reflects his dedication to community. As his assistant
enthusiastically thumped the tome, previously unseen by the press, down on the counter. She boasted that every part of production, excluding the publishing done in New York City, was done by local professionals including the photography by Rinne Allen. Bread ‘n’ butter pickles and saffron braised celery flipped by as the pages were turned. Accompanying the “food-tography” in the book are Acheson’s scrawling handwritten notes about the recipes. The fusion between haute cuisine and southern comfort are as illustrated there as they are on his restaurants’ menus. Regional ingredients are king. The book is one step toward not only a cultural food fusion, but also a cultural maturation. It is a statement that Southern fare is not just for picnics and tailgating. The recipes in the book are all Acheson originals. The inspiration for a new dish comes primarily from what is in season he explained. When that fails though, he uses the example of chicken thighs; Acheson will turn to his plethora of old cookbooks he keeps in his office. His assistant shows me an example that
was published in 1943 and has seen noticeable use since then. The books contain ideas and a way of doing things that are often forgotten about in today’s cooking world. The title of Acheson’s book is an ode to previous literature. “A Turn in the South” by Nobel Prize winning author V.S. Naipaul explores the cultivation of the American south in the late twentieth century. He might have been born in Canada, but he is now without question a Georgia boy. His commitment to the community is what keeps him local even when many other chefs who have gotten a taste of celebrity moved to the nation’s culinary capitals as fast as they could pack their knives and aprons.
“It’s not a bad life I have — I just ate caviar and now I’m about to go out and get tacos.”
Acheson at home Acheson stays in a small town such as Athens because of the community. He can buy local produce from area farmers
and enjoys walking his daughters to school every morning. Beatrice and Clementine bring a packed lunch that must sparkle next to the standard school cafeteria food even if on most days Beatrice prefers a simple ham and unsalted butter sandwich. “Compared to the average American diet, my kids are stellar eaters… They revel in vegetables, but they still like their plain pasta with butter – the staple of American kids’ diets,” Acheson said. His values erect a fence that refuses to let the celebrity of being on television affect what he holds dearest – his family and his community. Acheson juggles both public and private aspects of his life with the timing and precision it takes to execute a five-course meal. He may travel far and frequently for his career, but those movements will never be more than vibrations around the nucleus of Athens. Here is where he calls home. To his kids he is just “Daddy” and to Athens he is just that guy who owns restaurants and has a T-shirt that proclaims his membership to the Monobrow Preservation Society. Those titles, more than any restaurant or TV show, are what make him the proudest. “It’s not a bad life I have — I just ate caviar and now I’m about to go out and get tacos.” As suddenly as he arrived, Acheson had to go. He was on the move again.
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a m p e r s a n d
photos by Michelle Norris
This fall we are most thankful for the little things that make each outfit that much better: the accessories. Models from left to right: Burgundy ruffle handbag, $110 , red gem ring, $33, black blazer, $47, stone chain necklace, $13, white flower headband,
$30, Private Gallery. Gold oval bracelet, $25, Private Gallery. Red striped blazer, $28, gold chain necklace, $15, Agora. Grey fedora, $25, cream cardigan, $18, Agora. Brown and black scarf, $30, Private Gallery. Suede fur jacket, $29, chrome watch, $40, Agora. Navy velvet blazer, $196 ,
Show Pony. Fuschia headband, $12, Agora. Jeweled cuff, price on request, black draped necklace, $25, turquoise flower ring, price on request, Private Gallery. Grey fur jacket, $89, Native American Medallion, $39, Agora. Red aztec tie, $8, black watch, $30, Agora. Fur vest $108, chain strap purse,
$20, Private Gallery. On table: Orange fringe scarf, $40 red/ pink fringe scarves, $30, Private Gallery. Flower neckace, $39, Agora. Teal stone ring, $18, rhineston bib necklace, $36, Private Gallery.
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Clockwise from top left: Grey fedora, $25, Agora. Chrome watch, $40, Agora. Gold chain necklace, $15, Agora. Gold oval bracelet, $25, Private Gallery. White flower headband, $30, stone and chain necklace, $13, Private Gallery.
Special Thanks to our vendors: Agora, Private Gallery and Show Pony; and to Salon dm3 and Whitney Shoe for hair and make-up. Agora: 260 W. Clayton St. (706) 316-0130; Private Gallery: 154 E. Clayton St. (706) 543-0153; Show Pony: 170 College Ave. (706) 613-5975; Salon dm3: 1059 Baxter St. (706) 613-3777
a m p e r s a n d
Doughnut Maker William Clark
Examining distinctive tastes in the Classic City by Sarah Giarratana
Hidden in the pubs and restaurants and tiny kitchens, with odd hours and hoards of hungry people trying to get in are a few select people who make specialty food in Athens stand out. Some went to culinary school, others did not. Many buy local and believe in ‘real’ ingredients. And all attribute their success to spending a few solid years doing tremendous amounts of research about the food they cook. And all of them, like an army of people clad in Dickies work pants and flame retardant shoes, spend their days and nights working their hardest to make excellent food. Food that feeds a town and a University. ‘Wing monster’
The doughnut man At 6 a.m. the parking lot of Ike & Jane — the doughnut shop and bakery on Prince Avenue — is quiet. The whirring of cars as they roll by seems silent, shifts change at Athens Regional and drivers pass by with expressions on their faces as dim and bleary as early-morning sky. The sugary smell of rising dough envelops the place. Bringing passerby, if they’re awake enough to notice, all the joy of being a child again diving handsfirst into a cotton candy machine. Music blares unrecognizably through the glass windows and the only lights on are from the kitchen, tucked behind the gleaming glass display cases. They open at 6:30 a.m., but for William Clark, Ike & Jane’s week-time doughnut maker who spends his morning making up to 90 dozen doughnuts a night, the morning starts at 2 a.m. By the time the bakery opens, Clark dances around the register setting out trays of cupcakes and heaping pans full of doughnuts in all shapes, colors and sizes. A chocolate smile is drizzled on a doughnut dusted in yellow sprinkles, apple fritters sit warm and lumpy. He looks busy, but comfortable in his blue work shirt and pants, which are both covered in a healthy dusting of flour. As he finishes his shift, Clark will greet the early morning regulars and around noon he will pick up his daughter from preschool. He said after they play a while and she will have a nap — maybe he will too.
Clark Williams, resident doughnut maker at Ike & Jane, dedicates 10 hours between 2 a.m. and noon every weekday to create the store’s sugary treats. Photos on this page by Parker Feierbach
Before he started working at Copper Creek Brewing Company on East Washington Street, head chef Chris Hawk had never tasted a chicken wing. Hopping from upscale restaurants on Lake Oconee to restaurants in town, he said he never ate or cooked wings. But three years ago, when he took over at Copper Creek, he faced the challenge of turning up the heat on their then-dwindling wing night. “It was really slow and they weren’t selling very many wings, and they were like, ‘Hey we’re just doing it this way, you’re smart, you can figure it out,’” Hawk said. “So I just did my research, did my homework and came up with my own way and it worked and it definitely caught on and has turned in to this huge chicken wing monster that we’ve got now. “ With a restaurant packed with people at the bar, in the booths, on the porch and in line waiting for tables on Thursdays for wings, needless to say, Hawk has been successful. So successful that Hawk said he comes in five hours early on Thursday to prepare enough wings to feed the “monster.” “We open at 4 p.m. and we have to get here at 10 a.m. to start getting ready, it is a monster, just for wing night,” he said. For the wings, Hawk offers six sauces that he crafts himself: mild, hot and extra hot variations of his own buffalo sauce, teriyaki, barbeque and sweet chile. “I like the buffalo sauce flavor, those are
always good,” he said. “It’s sweet chile, it’s an usual spin on a hot wing, it’s a Chinese sweet chile sauce basically, a little sweet and spicy, it’s different than your honey buffalo sauce — it’s a whole different flavor profile.” Hawk said he hopes to expand his flavor profile to include a seasonal wing sauce, hopefully one incorporating beer, an ingredient he already utilizes to flavor other items on the menu. “I use a lot of beer. I only use house brews. Like the demi-glace that we have for our medallions has a good couple of pints of our porter or stout, whatever we have on tap that’s our darkest,” he said. “I had cooked with beer in the past, but it was something I really had to kind of teach myself and figure out the best way to do it when I came here.” For a chef who has relied on himself to learn a lot of things, Hawk developed confidence and keeps changing the menu, most recently this summer. “I’ve changed the menu twice,” he said. “Each time it feels like everything is getting tighter and tighter like it needs to be, like an actual brew pub or gastropub or whatever you want to call it.” As for the wings, Hawk said the secret is not in the sauce, but in the wing itself. Copper Creek fries their wings, under Hawk’s guidance, so that they’re not battered, but still crispy. “If you don’t batter them, it’s really difficult to get them crispy. I know other places in town don’t batter them, but they’re not nearly as crispy,” he said, “So
that’s my secret, that I figured out. There’s a trick that I do.”
All things to all people A lot of people run on South Lumpkin Street, patter past the salons and apartments and eventually past two restaurants nestled between Earth Fare and Yoforia. Like roommates, 5 & 10 and the Royal Peasant put Five Points on the map as a prime dinner location in Athens. Chuck Ramsey, part-owner and chef at 5 & 10, also spends a lot of time in Five Points — countless hours answering phones, making prep lists and cooking. Open for 10 years now, his restaurant offers up contemporary southern food. He calls it, “fine dining in a casual neighborhood,” and as he wanders in to the 5 & 10 dining room to talk about it, the restaurant reflects that. Crowded with tables and chairs topped with white tablecloths, the dining room mixes an upscale feel with the comfort of a living room. Cookbooks line the built in shelves on the walls and a couch invites guests to take a load off while waiting for a table. Ramsey said what makes 5 & 10 truly special is its commitment to buying local. “I think 5 & 10, along with restaurants like the National and Farm 255 sort of set the standard for dining in Athens,” he said. “We made a commitment to supporting as much of our local farmers and producers as we can throughout the years.” Vegetables come from around Athens
Wing Man Chris Hawk
photo by Parker Feierbach Chris Hawk had not tasted a chicken wing before coming to Copper Creek, where his recipes are now so popular that Hawk comes in five hours early on wing nights.
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Chuck Ramsey’s commitment to “fine dining in a casual neighborhood” and emphasis on local ingredients has helped to put Five Points area on the Athens culinary map.
and their low country frogmore stew, which Ramsey said is the restaurant’s most wellknown dish, includes Georgia shrimp. Roughly 50 percent of the food, Ramsey said, is purchased locally. “You know your farmers, you know the product. You can go to their farms, you can see the vegetables growing, you can meet the animals that either help produce those vegetables or that you end up eating,” he said. “I think it’s very important to have a connection with the food that you make.” What Ramsey, his business partner Hugh Acheson and their staff do with local Southern food makes their food distinct and the flavors close to home. “We try to respect the ingredients for what they are without cooking them to death,” he said. “Southern cooking a lot of times gets a bad rap for cooking everything in to submission. We try not to do that.” With positive reviews from Zagat and Atlanta magazine in 2010 and 2011, the thumbs ups continue to roll in for Acheson and Ramsey’s modern take on Southern cooking. But Ramsey hopes to remind people that at its core, 5 & 10 remains a neighborhood restaurant. “I think we sometimes have the unde-
served reputation of being the ‘white tablecloth’ fine-dining restaurant in-town special-occasion place,” Ramsey said. “But it really is, at heart, a casual neighborhood restaurant. You can come in jeans and a T-shirt, you don’t have to be dressed up.” 5 & 10’s menu is continually changing and prices vary. Ramsey said the prices don’t cater to anyone, not the college crowd or family in for dinner, but reflect the quality of the food. “We have plenty of things on the menu that are not expensive at all,” Ramsey said. “And to an extent, we try to be all things to all people.”
‘Wing monster’ Across the pond from the contemporary Southern food, diners need only trek across the parking lot to the Royal Peasant whose head chef Luke Harvey has been serving up British pub fare since the restaurant opened three years ago. Known for it’s well-stocked beer selection and as a prime spot to catch a Barclay’s Premier League soccer match, the small restaurant has also established itself with a small menu of specialty dishes straight from England.
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a m p e r s a n d
“We didn’t see anyone doing anything quite like this is town,” Harvey said. “The owner spent some time in England a few years ago and thought well, if we can bring this idea back to the States. Keep it small, keep it simple, make it really good.” And small it is. The tiny kitchen wedged next to the bathroom, Harvey said, fits at most two people. Normally manned by one person, often by Harvey himself, the kitchen barely has storage. Harvey said that storage problem serves as a double-edged sword. Though it’s challenging to cook in such a small space, lacking the ability to store canned goods keeps him committed to using all fresh ingredients. “We try to keep it simple, everything is made from scratch and literally, I’ve worked in a lot of restaurants and what actually makes it to the table and what’s actually being made in the kitchen, there’s a lot of lost in translation there,” Harvey said. “By that I mean, there’s a lot of canned products, all the pre-made food. I try to avoid all of that because the reality is you don’t have to spend a huge amount of money to make good food, you just have to know what you’re doing.” The prices at The Royal Peasant reflect Harvey’s commit-
ment to not spending a huge amount of money, as most menu items do not top $10. Harvey also said that even though the restaurant has daily specials, with such a set menu of standards, customers are starting to know the menu well enough to customize their orders. “A lot of restaurants are hurting right now, so we’re grateful. We’ve been open for almost three years,” Harvey said. “And after the two-year point that’s when you see business drop off historically, because you’re not the new kid on the block anymore. But it’s still very, very good.” Though he says he does not have much time to interact with the customers because there’s always something going on in the kitchen, every once in a while a customer will ask how someone from America makes good British food. “I get a lot of feedback from the wait staff and I would say 99 times out of 100, we’re right on,” Harvey said. “Like our bangers and mash, I’ve had English people say it’s the best they’ve ever had, better than back home.”
As Harvey, Ramsey and Hawk leave their kitchens, Clark arrives at his to start his night of doughnutforging.
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A well-stocked bar and simple menu are staples of The Royal Peasant, Athens’ own English pub, where Luke Harvey makes his mark in the restaurant’s small kitchen.
With an array of specialty chefs in Athens, Ike & Jane serves as the icing on top. Or rather the sprinkles. For Clark, his work in the kitchen is not to serve the Athens culinary community — just the neighborhood. “I don’t want to say we don’t contribute to the culinary community,” he said, as he waved to the early morning guests coming in the restaurant. “I want to say it’s more the community we contribute to. We’re a meeting place.” He trails off to greet the regulars who know his work from eating it day in and day out. For Clark, watching him interact and exchange smiles with guests after a long night of baking, is what seems to make him a specialty chef is not just that he makes doughnuts and pastries, but that he puts special effort in to serving his customers. “I’d say my favorite thing about the job is the freedom to do whatever I’d like to every morning, doughnut wise,” Clark said. “I get to make things that people will come in and say, ‘Look at that! That’s crazy,’ or, ‘I want one of those, I’ve been thinking about it all night,’ or ‘I want one to start to cure my hangover.’” When asked what inspires him to cook, he said simply, “hunger.” “Generally I either cook or bake what I’m in the mood for. I try to temper my mood with what’s
right and what’s selling and what they’ve been getting,” Clark said. “I always try to come up with something new every day. Today the doughnut I’ve never made before is the one with graham crackers and peanut butter and it’s got a little caramel and chocolate drizzled on it.” The caramel, by the way, is house made with real sugar, cream, butter and a pinch of sea salt.
For different folks Some say that in each person is a tiny universe unto itself. For Athens residents, visitors and University students, specialty food in Athens becomes a world of its own. For some, a slice of pizza from Little Italy defines Athens. For others, the holy trio of 5 & 10, the National and Farm 255 make Athens a food Mecca. Regardless of taste or preference, Clark, Hawk, Ramsey and Harvey share one common recipe: research, hard work and a commitment to providing the community with food they are passionate about. Whether a doughnut, a Southern delicacy, bangers and mash or something braised in house-brewed beer, there’s no shortage of specialty food in Athens. These chefs will continue making Athens delicious day in and day out, in small kitchens and large kitchens, one plate at a time.
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