2002 Best New Chef Hugh Acheson
2002 Best New Chef Hugh Acheson

Hugh Acheson

F&W Star Chef » See All F&W Chef Superstars Hugh Acheson cooks inspired neo-retro Southern food at his restaurants Empire State South, 5 & 10 and The National. Here, Acheson shares his top Atlanta and Athens attractions, his must-have cookbook and his grandmother-besting collard greens. What’s the dish most requested by your fans? Our collard greens. Collards are such a Southern staple, we tread on some recipes with a little trepidation, and that’s definitely one of them, because the age-old thing happens. People’s expectations are based on their grandmothers’ recipes, and you want to be better than their grandmother, but not that much better, because you don’t want to insult their grandmother. So it’s tricky. But I think that there are so many bad collards out there that when you treat them with care, and make them beautiful and not too cooked, so that there’s still a little resiliency in the green, and a little bite to them, they’re just so good for you, and they’re just fun. The recipe’s in my new book. What’s your favorite cookbook of all time?Fannie Farmer. To me, cookbooks are divided into ones that live in my office, and ones that live in my kitchen. I only have room in my kitchen for about 14 to 20 cookbooks, versus my office, which has about 2,000. The ones in the kitchen are the well-worn ones: Joy of Cooking, Fannie Farmer, books like that. If you need one cookbook in life, Fannie Farmer is the one that’ll get you through everything. Marion Cunningham, may she rest in peace, did a wonderful job with it. What’s one cooking technique everyone should know? Making chicken stock in a pressure cooker, since it saves so much time. It takes about an hour, versus traditional chicken stock, which takes about four hours. It also makes this crystal-clear stock that’s really good. You can roast the bones ahead of time or do it with straight-up-fresh chicken—just use large-cut onions and carrots, so that the vegetables don’t overcook and give too vegetal a base to things. You want it to be that foundational flavor, not that muddy flavor. Top places not to miss on a trip to Atlanta and/or Athens? The High Museum of Art. Atlanta has never been known as a museum city, but in the heart of it is an amazing art museum, with great shows and an amazing collection. They do a great job detailing Southern art and artists like Radcliffe Bailey, whom I really like, and it’s only four blocks away from my Atlanta restaurant. A basketball game at the University of Georgia. UGA is getting better and better. The team is in Division 1, in the SEC (Southeastern Conference). This is such a football town, it’s important to realize that we have so many other sports here that excel. SEC basketball is always overshadowed [by] ACC basketball, teams like Georgia Tech, Duke and North Carolina. UGA doesn’t have as much of a basketball tradition, but they have a great coach and they’re fun to watch. We don’t get to many games because my daughter is scared of mascots, and their hairy dog is quite scary to Clementine. But she’s adjusting. Dinner at Bone’s in Atlanta. Bone’s is an old-school steakhouse in Buckhead, with a great wine list. Bone’s is never going to be the best restaurant in the world, but it’s a darn good steakhouse, and it’s always on the top 10 lists of steakhouses nationwide. To me it’s a place that we dress up for, and go and have an amazing dry-aged porterhouse with creamed spinach and roasted potatoes. And the service is great, so old school. A shopping splurge at Star Provisions. It’s got the best cheese selection in the South. Tim Gaddis does a really good job with cheese. The owner, Anne Quatrano, is the visionary behind it, and Anne can retail better than anyone I’ve seen. It’s premium-priced, but it’s worth every penny. A trip to Indie South Fair in Athens. Athens is such an interesting eclectic and artistic town. We don’t have Brooklyn Flea, but we have this. The selection changes every year, so you happen upon stuff like local pottery, an amazing array. 2002 Best New Chef Bio Why Because his idiosyncratic vision succeeds in merging soul food with Old World cuisine. Born Ottawa, Canada, 1971. Education He is a self-taught chef. Experience Henri Burger, Montreal; Gary Danko, San Francisco. How he describes his food Contemporary American with influences from France and Italy. "It's definitely not fusion." First dish cooked Paprika toast. "I think I was 4. Don't even ask." Why he became a chef He studied political philosophy in college. "If that won't make someone want to pursue something else, nothing will." Where he would eat on a $1,000 budget Gordon Ramsay in London. "He's a nutcase but an absolutely amazing cook." Where he would eat on a $10 budget La Taqueria, in San Francisco's Mission District. What keeps him up at night "Things like, Are the fridges still working? Are the veal bones burning? God, everything keeps me up at night." Favorite kitchen tool "Other than the stove? The Vita-Mix blender. And a good Japanese knife—a Masahiro." About his recipe His Frogmore stew, named after an old South Carolina town, is a Southern version of bouillabaisse. "It's simple yet refined. We're not into foam yet." Won Best New Chef at: Five & Ten, Athens, GA
Star chef Hugh Acheson finds big flavors in a little country.
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Weekend Nachos
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Georgia restaurateur and Top Chef judge Hugh Acheson believes that the weekend is for letting creativity dictate nachos. “Start by making some beer-braised beef short ribs,” Acheson says. “And fancy that, you made too many! With the leftovers, you will make nachos. In this idealized experience, you will frolic in the woods, foraging for ramps. You are dressed like a gnome, but nobody cares. You get back to the kitchen and have some pressure-cooked pintos all ready to go. Let’s build some nachos: Take the beef plus pintos plus jack cheese, pickled peppers, those ramps all charred and tasty and assemble it all over tasty white corn tortilla chips, which maybe you made yourself. That gets baked until crisp and gooey and melty, and then you get all Jackson Pollock when the crema comes out. You eat and drink a beer, all the while wearing that gnome uniform with pride.”Slideshow: Outrageous NachosReprinted from ¡Buenos Nachos! by Gina Hamadey. Copyright © 2016 by W&P Design. Published by Dovetail (www.dovetail.press)
Homemade Crema
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Reprinted from ¡Buenos Nachos! by Gina Hamadey. Copyright © 2016 by W&P Design. Published by Dovetail (www.dovetail.press)
This simple open-face roast chicken sandwich from chef Hugh Acheson gets excellent flavor from buttery toasted rye bread, as well as tangy yogurt, pickled celery and fresh dill and cucumber. Slideshow: More Tartine Recipes 
Roast chicken is a crowd-pleaser, so it’s nice to mix it up once in a while. Here, chef Hugh Acheson brushes the chicken with a simple and tasty combination of soy and mustard while it’s roasting so the skin gets a beautiful burnished color. He serves it alongside a smart version of chimichurri made with carrot greens. Slideshow: More Roast Chicken Recipes 
Pickled Shallots
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Making your own delicious condiments is so easy. Chef Hugh Acheson's pickled shallots, which are very tasty in salads and sandwiches, take only minutes to prepare and can stay in the fridge for days.
Tangy lebneh is an excellent match with the sweet roasted carrots in this great recipe from chef Hugh Acheson. It’s worth making the quick pickled shallots, too. Slideshow: More Carrot Recipes 
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Basic Sautéed Greens
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Chef Hugh Acheson says that with so many great choices of greens available today, it's essential to know the best way to cook each one.
Bucatini Amatriciana
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Chef Hugh Acheson’s amatriciana sauce strikes the perfect balance of porky (from the pancetta) and spicy. Slideshow: More Pancetta Recipes 
Tangy lebneh is an excellent match with the sweet roasted carrots in this great recipe from chef Hugh Acheson. It’s worth making the quick pickled shallots, too. Slideshow: More Carrot Recipes 
Basic Sautéed Greens
Rating: Unrated
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Chef Hugh Acheson says that with so many great choices of greens available today, it's essential to know the best way to cook each one.
Bucatini Amatriciana
Rating: Unrated
3
Chef Hugh Acheson’s amatriciana sauce strikes the perfect balance of porky (from the pancetta) and spicy. Slideshow: More Pancetta Recipes 
Stracciatella
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Stracciatella is the Italian version of egg drop soup. This tasty one from chef Hugh Acheson includes shredded chicken, spinach, basil, peas, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and eggs. Slideshow: More Soup Recipes 
New Mexican Rice
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For his tangy and fragrant rice, chef Hugh Acheson makes sofrito, a classic blend of onion, peppers and garlic. He adds even more flavor to the dish with tomatillo, diced tomatoes and cumin. Slideshow: More Rice Recipes
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Chef Hugh Acheson combines just three ingredients (lettuce, radishes and Parmigiano-Reggiano) in this delightful salad. The key is in the dressing, which is just a basic red wine vinaigrette blended with a tasty dill pickle. Slideshow: More Salad Recipes 
Chef Hugh Acheson’s shrimp fried rice also includes bits of crispy bacon and irresistible bites of fresh tatsoi. It’s a perfect meal in a bowl. Slideshow: More Fried Rice Recipes 
Basic Tomato Sauce
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Chef Hugh Acheson uses a little grated carrot to offset the acidity in his fragrant tomato sauce, which also has plenty of fresh oregano. Slideshow: More Tomato Sauce Recipes
Jasmine Rice
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Chef Hugh Acheson knows how to make the perfect jasmine rice. It's one of many fundamental recipes he includes in Seed Life Skills, a new home economics program he launched in Athens, Georgia, middle schools. Acheson is a chef/partner of the Athens restaurants 5 & 10 and The National; the Atlanta restaurant Empire State South and coffee shop Spiller Park Coffee; and the Savannah restaurant The Florence. Slideshow: More Rice Recipes
Mixing crispy baked rice with soft, fluffy steamed rice creates the most irresistible texture. Chef Hugh Acheson tops that magical rice with shredded chicken, sautéed bok choy and a spicy, tangy vinaigrette made with kimchi. Slideshow: More Chicken Recipes 
Basic Roasted Carrots
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To achieve good color and caramelization on carrots, chef Hugh Acheson sautés them in oilve oil and butter before finishing them in the oven. The carrots should be tender on the outside and have some crispiness in the middle, he says. Slideshow: More Carrots Recipes 
Best-Ever Roast Chicken
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This perfectly crisp and juicy roast chicken is one of many fundamental recipes that chef Hugh Acheson includes in Seed Life Skills, a new home economics program he launched in Athens, Georgia, middle schools. From the chicken, he makes myriad dishes that will help expand anyone’s cooking repertoire. Acheson is chef/partner of the Athens restaurants 5 & 10 and The National; the Atlanta restaurant Empire State South and coffee shop Spiller Park Coffee; and the Savannah restaurant The Florence. Slideshow: More Roast Chicken Recipes 
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Don’t throw those carrot greens away: They make the perfect bright and fresh garnish to these delicious sweet and tangy roasted carrots from chef Hugh Acheson. Slideshow: More Carrot Recipes 
Basic Vinaigrette
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A good, puckery vinaigrette has a ratio behind it: three parts oil to one part acid. Acid can take the form of vinegar or citrus juice. “Once you understand that, you got this,” says chef Hugh Acheson. “Add whatever you want. Go flavor-crazy. Shake that jar. Work those forearms.” If you make too much, it will keep in the fridge for seven to 10 days in a sealed container. Slideshow: More Salad Dressing Recipes 
Greek Salad of Sorts
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Of his delicious and crowd-pleasing Greek salad, Athens, Georgia, chef Hugh Acheson says, "It feeds four people like champions, or six like semifinalists."
Any combination of vegetables will work in this nutritious soup from chef Hugh Acheson. If including 10 vegetables isn’t a priority, you can also cut some and double up on others. Slideshow: More Soup Recipes 
Beef-and-Farro Soup
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Chef and TV personality Hugh Acheson uses miso to add umami to this hearty and exceptionally savory soup. Slideshow:  More Warming Soup Recipes 
Chef Hugh Acheson combines sweet, salty, spicy and tangy flavors in this exceptional summer tomato salad, tossing peaches, pickled serranos and crisp tofu together with a zippy ginger-lime dressing. Slideshow:  Summer Salad Recipes 
Hugh Acheson serves his crispy pan-fried chicken with a quick and totally delicious hot-sauce butter on a bright, fun salad of peas and carrots. Slideshow:  More Chicken Thigh Recipes