Hugh Acheson

Hugh Acheson

Hugh Acheson is the Canadian chef and restaurateur of Empire State South in Atlanta and Five & Ten in Athens, Georgia. He is a judge on the reality cooking competition series Top Chef and an Iron Chef on Iron Chef Canada. Acheson is also the author of five books, including A New Turn in the South, The Broad Fork, and The Chef & The Slow Cooker.


Born and raised in Ottawa, Canada, Acheson worked for chef Rob MacDonald at Ottawa's renowned Henri Burger restaurant before becoming the chef de cuisine at Mecca in San Francisco. He was the opening sous chef at Gary Danko's eponymous restaurant in San Francisco and then relocated to the South to open Five & Ten in 2000. The 2002 F&W Best New Chef and 2012 James Beard Award winner for Best Chef: Southeast went on to open The National, Empire State South, and Spiller Park Coffee.


Acheson is a self-taught chef, learning under chefs Rob MacDonald, Mike Fennelly, and Gary Danko.

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