Matthew Lackey

Matthew Lackey
Photo courtesy of Flyte World Dining and Wine

Restaurant: Flyte World Dining and Wine (Read a review)

Location: Nashville

Why He's Amazing: Because at age 28, he already has combined his farm-kid background with degrees from two culinary institutions to become a champion in the South's local-ingredient movement.

Culinary School: The Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park, NY), Le Cordon Bleu Scottsdale (Scottsdale, AZ)

background: True Food Kitchen (/sites/default/files/cottsdale); McCrady's, Husk (Charleston, SC)

Quintessential Dish: Chanterelle soup with chestnut pudding and pear

Early Connection to Food: "My grandfather had a farm (in Castalian Springs, Tennessee) and my grandmother had a diner. She makes really good crowder peas. They're a bit heartier than field peas. She would just cook them really slow with ham hocks, onions, celery and thyme. She used ham stock to cook them, and a little hot sauce to finish."

Defining Physical Characteristic: His spiky, upswept hairdo (sometimes hidden under a trucker cap).

Seed Saving: While working at McCrady's, which grows a lot of its own produce, he helped take care of the heirloom seed bank.