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Archive for the ‘Fall 2011 Dining Guide: Distinctive Culinary Voices’ Category

Fall 2011 Dining Guide: Supreme Saucier — Marc Sublette, Viande Rouge Steakhouse

Marc Sublette (Credit: Viande Rouge)

Marc Sublette (Credit: Viande Rouge)

Here’s what I had to say in the original letter:

Don’t be afraid of sauce: I don’t miss the days of sticky and overly salty reduction sauces with meat and wading pools of butter with fish. But I do long for dishes with a small pool of sauce bridging the flavors of protein and garnish — those bites of food that register on the palate as three-part harmony. These days I see many dishes that are damp and greasy with butter, but none have that one perfect spoonful of beurre blanc that clings to a perfectly warmed plate and resonates with the flavors of shallot and wine.

Here’s why I think Sublette exemplifies this quality:

In the 1980’s, the great French cookbook author and authority Madeleine Kamman used to run a kind of post-graduate training program for American chefs in the Napa Valley. Established chefs (including Scott Peacock) went to learn her rules for pairing food and wine. Among them: The sauce on a plate acts as a …

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Fall 2011 Dining Guide: Casual Style — Paul Luna, Lunacy Black Market

Paul Luna (credit: Becky Stein)

Paul Luna (credit all photos: Becky Stein)

Here’s what I had to say in the original letter:

Be casual in the right way: I’ve eaten a lot of simple down-home food from gorgeous plates in design meccas of urban rusticity in this city. Now I’d like to eat an amazing plate of thoughtful food in a crappy little room with mismatched chairs and plates. Don’t set the stage for casual; just be casual and cook like there’s no tomorrow.

Here’s why I think Luna exemplifies this quality:

You will find Lunacy Black Market tucked into this streetscape among Mariama Hair Braiding, Buddy’s Snack Bar and the Excellent Shoe Care Center, and chances are you will find it packed. The room is filled with mismatched tables and chairs, with comfy sofas and earnest art-student paintings, with one table groaning under the contents of the restaurant’s entire wine cellar and another stacked with international newspapers. Presiding over it all stands Paul Luna, the chef with the long, grey …

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Fall 2011 Dining Guide: New POV — Billy Allin, Cakes & Ale

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Billy Allin (credit all photos: Becky Stein)

(Note: a longer version of this profile ran in Sunday’s Arts & Books section and on this blog.)

Here’s what I had to say in the original letter:

[S]how us your unique POV: I know many of your customers want a burger, or a steak, or the same sorry dish you’ve been making for 10 years and, well, sure: The customer’s always right. But you went into this line of work to show us who you are as a chef. Show me something that you, personally, in your most uncompromising state of mind, want to eat. Try and advance the agenda. This city needs you more than ever.

Here’s why I think Allin exemplifies this quality:

Name the chefs whose distinctive points of view have influenced and changed the focus of dining in Atlanta, and you come up with a short list. I’d nominate Guenter Seeger, Anne Quatrano, Linton Hopkins and Paul Albrecht, among a few others. Lately, I’ve begun to suspect that Cakes & Ale’s Billy Allin belongs on this …

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Fall 2011 Dining Guide: Chef Kevin Clark

Chef Kevin Clark with wife Lisa Spooner

Chef Kevin Clark with wife Lisa Spooner

“I get up at 3:00 a.m. and I’m excited. I absolutely look forward to every day.”

How many people can say that they’re excited to hop out of bed at 3 a.m. to start the work day? There is one chef who can: Kevin Clark, chef and owner of Home Grown. Kevin brings a contagious enthusiasm to both his food and restaurant.

Home Grown serves Southern fare in a casual spot that just might have been your grandmother’s house. Judging by this meat-and-three, you’d never guess that Kevin Clark began his career in fine dining. But Kevin’s roots are in Southern food.

Growing up in Tucker, Kevin says “I always had food smells around me.” His mom made dinner every night and a roast on Sundays. The food was all fresh and simple — nothing boxed. Kevin also spent a great deal of time in the kitchens of the Southern landmark, Matthews Cafeteria, which is owned by his buddy Mike’s family.

Despite this early exposure to food, cooking was not …

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Fall 2011 Dining Guide: Chef Billy Allin

Billy Allin (credit Becky Stein)

Billy Allin (credit Becky Stein)

In January I used this space to publish an open letter to Atlanta’s chefs. At that time I had recently resumed writing the lead restaurant reviews for this newspaper after a six-year hiatus and found myself in a very different dining town than the one I had last known. The city seemed to be in a restaurant rut — it was becoming a place that admired real personality less than another perfectly acceptable bowl of butternut squash soup. Too many folks were playing it safe, cooking with more competence than heart.

So, without naming any names, I outlined in that open letter 10 challenges to Atlanta chefs and gave the pot a good stir. Hundreds of comments piled up on my AJC blog. Local chefs followed with rebuttals, both on ajc.com and other media sites.

Now I want to name names. In our Fall 2011 Dining Guide — published in this Friday’s Go Guide and Thursday morning here on the Food and More blog — I’ll tell you about 10 chefs who are making …

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