According to Merriam Webster, one of the definitions of a hero is “a person admired for achievements and noble qualities”. As Americans, we are sometimes a rather fickle lot when it comes to how we choose our heroes. In our personal lives, we do alright, looking up to and admiring a parent, older sibling or favorite teacher. Our public heroes can often be a different story. We tend to waffle back and forth between sports figures and movie stars. Currently, some of the most popular celebrities combine performance and competition to reach near hero status. These are today’s celebrity chefs.
We can find these culinary artists in many cities across the country, but some of the finest are the famous celebrity chefs in Atlanta, Georgia. We love watching them compete on TV and spend lots of money buying their latest cookbooks, but what we really get into is competing with each other for reservations where they create their own special menus. Chef-driven restaurants have been in existence for many years, but with the dominance of cooking shows on cable television like “Top Chef”, “Iron Chef” and the fan-favorite, “Chopped”, they are more popular than ever.
Where to Find Atlanta’s Celebrity Chefs
Ready to impress a special someone with dinner at one of Atlanta’s celebrity chef’s restaurants? While a great idea, be prepared for adjusting your plans based on availability; the better and more famous the chef, the tougher it will be to get reservations. Of course, the flip side to that is…why would anyone ever want to eat at a restaurant where the parking lot is empty?
When you are ready to try the best of what Atlanta’s top chefs have to offer, here are some suggestions about where to start:
Anne Quatrano – known as the undisputed “grande dame” of the celebrity chefs in Atlanta and a 2003 James Beard Foundation “Best Chef: Southeast” award winner, Anne Quatrano has ruled the Atlanta restaurant scene for nearly a quarter of a century. Since 1993, Bacchanalia has consistently been one of the city’s top restaurants and, with her husband, Clifford Harrison, whom she met in culinary school, they also run, Little Star, Floataway Café, Star Provisions and W.H. Stiles Fish Camp.
Hugh Acheson – Canadian-born, James Beard award-winning chef and former judge on “Top Chef” for several seasons, Hugh Acheson owns the Empire State South in Atlanta’s Midtown, where you can try some of his signature dishes, like Farm Egg Fried Rice, served with kimchi and sweet potatoes.
Kevin Gillespie – finalist and “Fan Favorite” on “Top Chef”, Kevin Gillespie has two stand out restaurants in Atlanta. Gunshow in Glenwood Park is his new twist on fusion dining where he combines Brazilian steakhouse, churrascaria-style cooking with Chinese dim-sum. Then, swiveling about 180 degrees, he offers the Southern family-style Revival in Decatur, where he shows his passion for farm-fresh, sustainable foods cooked the way he remembers from his younger days eating at his grandmother’s.
Kevin Rathbun – “Iron Chef” and “Chopped” winner, Kevin Rathbun, has been receiving national acclaim since opening his signature Atlanta restaurant, Rathbun’s. He has since added Kevin Rathbun Steak, KR Steak and Krog Bar.
Richard Blais – Bravo’s “Top Chef All-Stars” winner, celebrity chef Richard Blais, is a very easily recognizable TV personality, James Beard Award-nominated cookbook author and restaurant owner. His mega-popular FLiP Burger Boutique is recommended by Bon Appetit and Food & Wine magazines and the milkshakes are said to be the best in the entire state of Georgia.