F&W Free Preview All You Coastal Living Cooking Light Food and Wine tab Health myRecipes Southern Living Sunset
My F&W
quick save (...)

Adam Evans

Chef Adam Evans
Photo © Richie Aprino

Restaurant: The Optimist (Read a review)

Location: Atlanta

Why He's Amazing: Because his upscale fish-shack dishes addictively combine simple yet bold flavors, often with a Southern accent.

Culinary School: Self-taught

Background: JCT. Kitchen & Bar, Craftbar (Atlanta); Craft (New York City); La Petite Grocery, Ralph's on the Park New Orleans)

Quintessential Dish: Frothy she-crab soup with shrimp toast

On Choosing to Work at a Fish-Focused Restaurant: "I wanted to take a break from that whole pork thing," he says, referring to America's obsession with all things pig. (However, he's not averse to using smoky bits of the meat to flavor gumbo, butter beans and other regionally inspired dishes.)

Southern Roots: In the 1960s, long before Evans was born, his hometown was an epicenter for rock and roll and blues. "I'm from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Everybody recorded there," he says. "Bob Dylan, Etta James, the Rolling Stones."

What Has Surprised Him at the Optimist: "The amount of oysters that Atlanta has eaten here has been mind boggling."

advertisement
The Dish
Receive delicious recipes and smart wine advice 4x per week in this e-newsletter.
The Wine List Weekly pairing plus best bottles to buy.
F&W Daily One sensational dish served fresh every day.
American Express Publishing ("AEP") may use your email address to send you account updates and offers that may interest you. To learn more about the ways we may use your email address and about your privacy choices, read the AEP Privacy Statement.
How we use your email address
advertisement
Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Run with chefs and wine experts in the Celebrity Chef 5K and dance all night at Gail Simmons’ Last Bite Dessert Party during the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 20-22.