Birmingham: A Culinary Delight
Top Chefs and Top Restaurants of Birmingham
Tuesday, Feb 21,2012
Birmingham is full of vibrant, original restaurants, the recent announcement of the James Beard Award Semi-Finalists is proof of that. We invite you to explore the incredible culinary world that exists in Birmingham and to find out more about some of the chefs making this city one to eat your way through.
The word "local" isn't some throwaway, marketing term used to drum up feelings of nostalgia. It's a word that's alive very much today. "Local" is the tie that binds our community and it's at the heart of the Birmingham Originals. Passionate individuals developing locally owned and operated restaurants, each with its own unique flavor and flair, propel Birmingham's robust food scene. Whether upscale or down-home, these restaurants are driven by a desire to offer top-notch dining to homegrown patrons and visitors alike.
The Birmingham Originals believes an energized and independent restaurant community makes our city a better place to live—and not just because of the food. The dollars spent in local restaurants stay in Birmingham, providing economic growth, which, in turn, allows local restaurants to support, among other things, vital local charities and cultural programs.
Clifton Holt, Little Savannah
Who inspired you to go into the culinary arts? My Grandmother actually inspired me, though I was guided by many along the path. She loved people and it showed in her food offerings. She baked bread almost every day, dug for fishing worms in the horse barn when we needed bait and revered sugar and whole butter as closely as her friends. She was a woman of great taste and true Southern charm!
If you had to describe your style in one word what would it be? Indigenous
What are your favorite stores? I love thrift stores as much as I do Sur La Table. I always find cool drinking glasses or gadgets at thrift stores that have personality and only cost a quarter.
Most memorable food experience? A few weeks ago, Maureen and I had the opportunity to enjoy dinner alone at home after our daughter was asleep and we ending up talking for hours over a Rib Eye, New Potatoes and Grilled Romaine Salad.
Chris Hastings, Hot and Hot Fish Club
Who inspired you to go into the culinary arts? My mother inspired me to start cooking.
What are your favorite stores? Super Asian Market, Rialto Bridge Market (Venice) and Chino Ranch
Most memorable food experience? In kindergarten, we churned butter, made homemade biscuits and ate them with butter and honey. I was five years old and never forgot this experience.
Daniel Briggs, Daniel George Restaurant & Bar
Who inspired you to go into the culinary arts? My friend, Richard Hill, taught me gardening and cooking and it truly inspired me to continue learning.
If you had to describe your style in one word, what would it be? Colorful
What are your favorite stores? Red Pearl, Sexton’s, Farmer’s Market at Findley
Most memorable food experience? Lobster and French wine al fresco at Cap Jaluca in Aguilla
Who inspired you to go into the culinary arts? My family was a big influence. Both sides were passionate about food. My strongest memory of my Czech grandmother is her standing in the kitchen, flour up to her elbows, smiling from ear to ear over a mound of knedliky (Czech dumplings). My Peepaw made extravagant breakfasts every morning, with red eye gravy and biscuits with cane sorghum. I helped my parents every summer catch, pick and eat buckets of Gulf Coast blue crabs. Most of my best childhood memories revolve around food.
If you had to describe your style in one word what would it be? Sensual
What are your favorite stores? Taco truck:)
Most memorable food experience? Gosh, there are so many..I'm recalling two at the moment.
Who inspired you to go into culinary arts? New Orleans. Less of a person and more of growing up in a city where food is always a topic of conversation.
If you had one word to describe your culinary style what would it be? Fun
What are your favorite stores? I love to fish--Mark's Outdoors
What is your most memorable food experience? 9-10 years old, Commanders Palace Turtle Soup!