August 24, 2007

More argument for the rise of the celebrity farmer: It turns out that Tucker Taylor, the Southern farmer who inspires a cult following in Atlanta, was recently appointed head gardener at chef Thomas Keller’s French Laundry. My colleague Ratha Tep and I heard the news at the at the James Beard House last night, where chefs including F&W Best New Chef 2002 Hugh Acheson from Athens, Georgia; pickle king Linton Hopkins from Atlanta; and pulled-pork master Jason Alley from Richmond, Virginia, cooked up the fantastic “Quintessential Southern Dinner.” The chefs say that while they’re proud to share Tucker and his phenomenal produce with someone as inspiring as chef Keller, they admit his move is a major loss for them. But after eating the chefs’ lovely corn soup with sweet lobster and roasted peanuts, as well as their communally designed plate of pork done four ways, we think they will fare just fine.

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