Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman

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