Won Best New Chef At Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Memphis, TN
Why They’re Amazing Because they’re successfully putting their hometown of Memphis on the culinary map with daring nose-to-tail dinners and classic Italian recipes.
Born Ticer: 1979; Hudman: 1980; Memphis (both)
Culinary School Both: Johnson & Wales University (Charleston, SC), the Italian Institute for Advanced Culinary and Pastry Arts (Calabria, Italy)
Background Both: Chez Philippe, Frank Grisanti’s (Memphis)
Quintessential Dish Corn tortellini with duck confit and chanterelle mushrooms
How They Met Ticer and Hudman went to rival Catholic high schools and bad-mouthed each other during sporting events.
How They Got Into The Food Business They both came from large Italian-American families with strong food traditions, and decided to open a restaurant way back in 1994.
No-Menu Mondays The chefs serve dinner without menus on the last Monday of each month; customers are welcome to guess the components of dishes, which aren’t shared until the meal is over.
Story of Discovery
“Italians love to feed people well; so do Southerners. Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen combines the two. The place is run by chefs Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman, childhood friends who both grew up in big Italian families. I prepared myself for hedonistic dishes that could only be dreamed up by swine-loving Southerners raised on Maw Maw’s ravioli (an actual choice on the menu, made with chicken-gizzard gravy). But I discovered that the chefs also make incredibly nuanced food with pitch-perfect flavor balance. The quail, brined in a spicy, fragrant satsuma-citrus mixture, made me want to pull every bit of meat off the bone. I also loved the golden sweetbreads, served with creamed collard greens, apple wedges and crispy cubes of pancetta—decadent, yes, but brightened by generous spoonfuls of the pickled-mustard-seed garnish that popped in my mouth like tangy caviar.”—Kristin Donnelly