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The imaginarium of chef Parnass Savang

Candler Park pop-up Talat Market ushers in a new era for Thai food in Atlanta

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Photo credit: Eric Cash
Chef Parnass Savang

I remember the first time I tasted durian. I was living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, just a few months into what would eventually become a three-year chunk of my existence. It was late summer, hot and sticky as the bowels of hell, the narrow streets lined with foliage and filled with the exhaust of passing motorbikes.

While the "king of fruits" holds a hallowed place in Southeast Asian cuisine, durian also comes with its fair share of criticism. Thais will tell you not to mix it with booze; no one's exactly sure why, but legend says the combination can be fatal. Walk into any high-end Thai hotel and there's a good chance you'll spot a laminated placard with a picture of a durian, crossed out with a big red X. For this there's an easy explanation: The things smell god-awful. Travel writer Richard Sterling has described the scent as that of "turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock." Anthony Bourdain says they'll leave your breath smelling "as if you'd been French-kissing your dead grandmother." And the stench isn't just some kind of passing nuisance; it seeps into everything and lingers like a flatulent spirit.

But I had committed. So I walked up to the corner durian stall and threw down 60 baht (approximately $2 USD). The vendor smiled knowingly and handed me a heavy yellow blob, disemboweled from its spiky green husk, plopped onto a Styrofoam tray and covered in plastic wrap. "Krup khun kha," I said warily, taking a seat on the nearest curb and peeling back the film. The stench hit me like a punch to the face. The thing was oozing and warm almost hot from sitting in the sun. But there was nothing left to do but close my eyes and open my mouth.

It felt like biting into a sodden diaper, with a sulphurous sweetness verging on rot. The look, the smell, the texture, the temperature, the flavor: all merged together into one indelible episode, still etched deeply in my memory. I looked down and watched a rat scurry out of a split-open bag of garbage baking on the curb beside me. That's part of the memory, too. We made eye contact. His look said, "Did you really just eat that?"

I know now that this was not a good durian, but the damage had been done. In the years that followed, my palate grew bolder, and I developed an intimate, joyous relationship with Thai food, miles past the milky curries and peanut-buttery noodle dishes I used to order from Top Spice in college while stoned. I built up a spice tolerance, learned the difference between nam prik ong and nam prik num and came to believe one should never trust a pad thai without tiny dried prawns. I ate congealed cubes of pig's blood, bamboo worms with salt, live shrimp, several varietals of fried insect and a chicken's foot. But nothing and no one could convince me to try durian again.

That is, until I moved back to Atlanta, and met Parnass Savang.

MASTER OF HIS DOMAIN: Chef Parnass Savang works Sunday night dinner service at his Georgian Thai pop-up, Talat Market. Photo by Eric Cash
MASTER OF HIS DOMAIN: Chef Parnass Savang works Sunday night dinner service at his Georgian Thai pop-up, Talat Market. Photo by Eric Cash
 

Chef Savang's first experience

with durian was different than mine. Though he was born in California and raised in Georgia, his father hails from Laos and his mother is Thai-Chinese by way of Bangkok. He spent his early years, as many children of immigrants do, living much like his parents did back home. And in Savang's case, this meant an early introduction to durian. "To me it smells so good!" says the 27-year-old chef. "No one ever told me it was bad. When I was growing up my mom was like, here, eat this."

We're at Candler Park's Gato Bizco Caf̩ on a rainy Thursday afternoon. The kitchen is stocked with traditional Thai cookware: a granite mortar and pestle, a bamboo basket for steaming sticky rice. Savang unpacks a box of baby potatoes, just dropped off by a local farmer. He has close-cropped hair, thick, tattoo-free arms, a youthful openness that belies his culinary confidence. Mustachioed sous chef Rod Lassiter shucks corn and plunges it into an ice bath. The pair is prepping for weekend number 10 of their self-described "Georgian Thai" pop-up eatery, Talat Market. The menus, printed weekly on yellow cardstock emblazoned with a multilingual pineapple logo, define the concept as "traditional Thai cooking using organic and locally-sourced produce and meats as much as possible.?

Savang turns to a football-size durian on the counter, imported from Thailand's Samut Prakan province and purchased for $26 at Your DeKalb Farmers Market. Cradling it like a beloved child, he demonstrates the proper way to slice off the prickly husk, quick but careful. Gato's owner, Nick Stinson, sits at a booth nearby, tallying checks and occasionally joining the conversation. He, too, has a tale of how he came to hate durian, mostly because of the smell. But Savang knows what he's doing, and we've all learned to trust him.

This particular durian will be used to make a weekend's worth of khao niew durian, which means durian sticky rice in Thai but is not a traditional Thai dish. Savang says the idea came to him in a dream, after he'd gone to bed thinking about mango sticky rice, wondering what would happen when mangos go out of season in Georgia. Beets, though, grow here both in late spring and early winter. And beets, the dream told him, just might work as a substitute for mango. When he awoke, he went to the kitchen. "I'm a vessel," he says with a laugh. It just happens, like magic." What emerged was a mound of sticky rice, melded with pur̩ed beets, coconut cream and palm sugar, topped with a layer of sliced beets. Then, the raison d'etre: a scoop of custard made with eggs, melted palm sugar, coconut starch and... durian.

I had seen this dish listed on Savang's weekly Instagram menu and started psyching myself up days before entering the restaurant, prepared to take one polite bite and foist the rest upon my long-suffering boyfriend. But when the dessert arrived, y'all, it felt like a damn revelation. The beet melded like a song with the creamy, chewy rice. The custard, just enough to add sweetness, was at once silky and fluffy, the durian's sharpness dulcified by sugar and coconut, the salty, toasted shallots setting the whole thing into orbit. Holy shit even the durian is good, I wrote in my notes. How did he come up with this?"

And just like that, I was converted.

Khao niew durian for dessert. Photo by Eric Cash
Khao niew durian for dessert. Photo by Eric Cash

Though he's never worked

as an executive chef before, Savang's no newcomer to the business of food. For 23 years, his family has owned and operated a popular Thai-American restaurant in Lawrenceville called Danthai. "On Fridays I'd be washing dishes while all my friends went to football games," he recalls. "I wanted to be an actor. I wanted to be something that was not my dad or my mom. But eventually, I ran out of ideas."

Growing up in a Thai restaurant, Americanized though it was, Savang picked up the tenets and tastes of Thai cooking through osmosis. He counts off his trips to Thailand on one hand, categorizing them by how old he was. "Five, 14, 16... those were the times I went to Thailand but didn't care. I was like, 'everything's dirty here.'"

Change came, as it does, with a late-night YouTube binge of "Kitchen Nightmares" (the British version). Inspired, Savang transferred from Valdosta State to New York's prestigious Culinary Institute of America (CIA).

Studying food in an academic setting gave him new appreciation for his own culinary heritage. In 2011, the James Beard Foundation gave regional best chef awards to Saipin Chutima of Las Vegas' Lotus of Siam and Andy Ricker of Portland's Pok Pok, both of whom cook exclusively with Northern Thai food. "That was like, wow," Savang says. "It gave me motivation to go on this journey." Then and there, he formulated a plan: He'd return to Georgia after graduation to learn the art of Southern cooking, then eventually make his way back to Thai food.

THAILAND MEETS GEORGIA: Yum phonlamai with peaches, bluberries, shallots and lemongrass. Photo by Eric Cash
THAILAND MEETS GEORGIA: Yum phonlamai with peaches, bluberries, shallots and lemongrass. Photo by Eric Cash

At 22, Savang returned to Thailand, this time hoping to find cultural context for the food he'd taken for granted growing up. "I spent one entire day at the market just to see how it transformed," he says, recalling mornings driven by wholesale produce deliveries and steaming bowls of rice porridge known locally as jok; sun-soaked afternoons of soup noodles and stir-fries; then the large crowds that arrived after nightfall, washing down spicy dinners with cold beer.

He spent his next trip roaming the country on his own, taking the sleeper train down south to the islands, then up to the mountains. He observed the regional and seasonal differences inherent to Thai food: fermentation for times of scarcity in rural mountain villages, an abundance of coconut milk and tropical fruits on the coasts. He staged for a month at David Thompson's Michelin-starred Nahm in Bangkok, and spent a day cooking 30 baht khao kha moo (stewed pork leg with rice) at a street stall with his uncle, the entire day's profits adding up to less than the cost of a single entr̩e at Nahm. He ate the best tom yum he'd ever had, served on a plastic Est Cola-branded tablecloth at a roadside shophouse whose name he can't remember.

When Savang returned to the States, he would often argue with his parents, wondering why they wouldn't serve these kinds of regional, seasonal dishes to their customers at Danthai. "I mean, we ate this stuff when I was growing up," he recalls. "Thai omelets and bitter melon soup and neckbone. I'd be like, 'Mom, why don't you serve this at the restaurant? It's so good.' She'd say, 'Because 'they' won't eat it.'" "They" being Danthai's long-term customers, who Savang says expect familiar flavors, large portions and cheap prices. He sighs. "Thai people are very polite, and they want to make people happy wherever they are. They'll go to the extent of changing their cuisine, changing those dishes to fit the palate of the community."

After culinary school, Savang landed a paid gig at Empire State South, where he worked the line for two and a half years, learning valuable lessons about Georgia's growing seasons and the farmers who work them. Next came overlapping gigs at Staplehouse and Kimball House. It was at the latter that he met Lassiter, a seasoned chef from Tallahassee, Florida, with executive experience at Wrecking Bar and Ration & Dram. "We both had been grinding, working long hours for someone else and doing the same old, same old, and I think we both knew we wanted something different," Lassiter says. "[Savang] started joking with me about doing a pop-up with him, and I was throwing out crazy ideas. And then one day I was like, let's do a fermented rice pop-up. And he stopped and was like, let's do it."

From that point, things moved fast. Savang quit his line cook gig (Lassiter would follow soon after) and the two camped out in Lassiter's home kitchen, experimenting with fried chicken's feet and fermented rice ice cream, blowing through their budget and pickling more than a hundred pounds of cabbage in cases made from repurposed sheetrock. Their efforts paid off: Within a couple months, they'd not only landed an inaugural gig at the Sound Table but also the coveted weekend pop-up spot at Gato, newly vacated by chef Jarrett Stieber, who'd moved Eat Me Speak Me to S.O.S. Tiki Bar in Decatur.

Stinson, Gato's owner, had high expectations for Stieber's replacement. "My big criteria is: Is this happening in Atlanta anywhere else? If the answer is yeah, then I don't want to do it." But Savang's concept impressed him. "He's going for a lot more complexity than you get at a typical Atlanta-style Thai restaurant. He's creating a new, hybridized cuisine."

Lassiter nods, carefully removing the pale yellow lobes of durian and handing them to Savang for mashing. The two work quickly, with an easy intimacy, the air of two friends on the verge of something big. They hope to someday transform Talat Market into a brick-and-mortar restaurant, but they're in no rush. "When we came together, it just worked out perfectly. I can't imagine anything better, honestly," says Lassiter. "This is what a lot of people search for and never get to find."

Massaman curry with pecans. Photo by Eric Cash
Massaman curry with pecans. Photo by Eric Cash

At Talat Market,

Savang's penchant for tiny, evocative details from the pandan-steeped table water to the flimsy forks and spoons he had an aunt pick up for him in Bangkok transform the tiny, temporary dining space. There's a photo of long-revered but recently deceased King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand taped above the stove. (According to royal protocol, no one's head should ever be higher than the king's.) Jangly luk thung music echoes from the speakers. The smell of garlic and lemongrass wafts through the air, and the caf̩'s OPEN sign casts a garish hot pink glow over the whole operation. I'm instantly transported back to Chiang Mai's steamy night markets, where old men sat in shadowy corners sipping Hong Thong whiskey and beer with ice.

Like most restaurants in Thailand, Talat's menu is designed for sharing family-style. Offerings change weekly, with some repeats and some variations, but typically consist of six smallish dishes, which arrive at the table one or two at a time. The flavors bump up against each other, harmonizing like a symphony, each course paving the way for the next. If you have at least two hungry people, just go ahead and order the whole dang menu, which shouldn't set you back more than $80 total and will feed up to four. The pop-up is BYOB; pick up wine from Candler Park Market next door, or better yet, a few bottles of Singha or Chang beer from a nearby Asian market just don't forget the ice.

A typical night's menu presents one or two traditional Thai dishes coupled with several more fanciful creations. One such evening began with sai krok issan ($12), a classic northeastern Thai sausage made with fermented pork and rice. At markets in Chiang Mai you'll see street vendors grilling the puffs of protein on bamboo sticks or roped into a long spiral. An order gets chopped up with scissors and served in a clear plastic bag with fresh bird's eye chilies, raw cabbage, cilantro, sliced ginger and peanuts. Savang's version comes on a plate but the flavors are all there: the slightly sour fattiness of the meat lightened by the fluffy bits of rice, the fresh ginger undercutting the sting of the chilies.

Tom yum hoi, too, is straight Thailand: a traditional hot and sour soup packed with lemongrass, galangal, enoki mushrooms and shucked clam bellies ($14). Savang says this is one of the only dishes on the menu his mother didn't criticize on a recent visit; knowing how to construct a good tom yum is one of Thailand's culinary building blocks. One might be tempted to dub such a dish "authentic," but then they'd have to contend with Savang. "I don't like the word authentic because even in Thailand everyone has a different version of pad thai," he says. "I can't make authentic Thai food in Georgia, so I might as well just make it an experiment. Like, what would happen if a Thai person moved to Georgia with Thai techniques, but they wanted to use the best of everything? What would the cuisine become?"

SUNDAY SPREAD: Talat Market's water is steeped with pandan leaves, giving it a nutty flavor. Photo by Eric Cash
SUNDAY SPREAD: Talat Market's water is steeped with pandan leaves, giving it a nutty flavor. Photo by Eric Cash

Savang's dishes attempt to answer these questions. Take for instance the savory-sweet yum phonlamai ($8), which translates to "fruit salad." Here, Savang and Lassiter make use of classic Thai ingredients like shallots, coconut flakes, fresh mint leaves and dried pineapple dusted with lemongrass powder but centralize Georgia peaches and blueberries, two fruits that don't even have their own Thai words.

Then there's the massaman neua ($15): a Muslim-influenced beef curry dish you'll find at nearly every Thai restaurant in Atlanta. Talat's is different: made with fresh coconut milk instead of canned and filled with a Georgia-grown cornucopia of skin-on baby potatoes, whole roasted pearl onions and pecans another completely un-Thai ingredient. The result is a dish at once rooted in tradition and wholly original. And the flavor? Stinson puts it this way: "Most curries I'd ever tasted had three to five different elements that hit your palate, and they all hit pretty hard. It's kind of like a one-shot. But [Savang's] have 12 different things going on at the same time. They're complex but subtle, like fine wine."

Some dishes pull more from the Lao or Chinese parts of Savang's heritage, like the phat lo bak go ($15) – a spin on a dish he remembers his grandmother making at Chinese New Year. One day his family got a load of free turnips and lacking the Chinese sausage and dried shrimp he'd need to make his grandma's classic dish, he decided to improvise, adding country ham, shishito peppers, trout hot-smoked over coconut shells and a fried egg on top. It took a while to get the combination right, but once he did, the flavors popped. "A lot of my cooking is all about reactions," he says. "I like to use whatever I find laying around."

Savang is humble but refuses to pander. Rather than catering to American taste buds or relying on hot chilies as a crutch to prove his credentials, he cooks for himself, hedging innovation with practiced discipline. Each and every dish carried out of Gato's tiny open kitchen feels like an extension of Savang the person, a part of his many-layered story. It's all here: the ingrained knowledge of growing up Thai, the technical finesse of a CIA grad, the experience of a seasoned Atlanta line cook and above all, a palpable sense of joy in the process.

Savang has been waiting a long time for Thai food to have its gourmet moment. "I don't see a lot of Thai cooks like me in Atlanta, so I guess that's one of the reasons why it hasn't popped," he says. "I was tired of waiting, so eventually I was like, OK, I'll just do it then. Who's gonna be first? Guess it has to be me."

Talat Market is open 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Walk-ins only and BYOB. 1660 McLendon Ave. N.E. www.instagram.com/talat_marketatl.

SEE MORE: 7 must-try pop-ups in Atlanta

 



More By This Writer

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In the past, I’ve gone along with calling Atlanta a “city of transplants,” though that phrase now feels a bit sinister as I watch developers use it to justify pushing out historically black neighborhoods for cheaply-built luxury condos and lily-white tech companies parading in like they own the place. Yet there is something to be said for Atlanta’s welcoming nature, and particularly its acceptance of the immigrants and refugees who find safe haven here, enriching in turn our city’s cultural fabric. Georgia is eighth in the nation when it comes to refugee resettlement and the vast majority end up in Fulton and DeKalb counties. 

Over the years, immigrant-driven neighborhoods like Buford Highway and Clarkston have birthed multicultural food hubs that rival those of New York and L.A. More recently, our city’s buzzing pop-up scene has empowered first- and second-generation chefs like Maricela Vega of Chicomecóatl, Tiffany-Anne Parkes of Pienanny, and Parnass Savang of Talat Market (which will move into its own brick-and-mortar restaurant next year!) to bypass typical barriers to entry. In sharing their food directly with diners, these innovators have been able to simultaneously decolonize and reinvent their own culinary heritages, using what’s good and fresh and seasonal and found right here in Georgia.

Later this month, I’ll be moving to New York City to take on a new role as associate editor of Bon Appetit magazine — a move that would not have been possible without Creative Loafing. Leaving this city and the community I’ve found here will be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but my biggest hope is that the gifts Atlanta gave me can be passed down to the next generation. This city needs a voice like ours, and the burgeoning writers that live here deserve a platform.

In this issue, we explore the international nature of Atlanta’s far-reaching food scene. Instead of trying to put boxes around the various cultures that coexist here, we approach them from a variety of viewpoints, and let the folks doing the work tell their own stories. In the pages that follow, you’ll find cookbook author Seung Hee Lee giving our longtime writer Angela Hansberger a deeper look at Korean tradition by honing in on monastic cuisine. Ryan Hughley delves into a rather interesting — or shall I say, intestinal — intersection between African-American and Taiwanese food culture. Sucheta Rawal catches up with a Tunisian chef and his mission to share underrepresented foods with retired folks. Adjoa Danso (CL’s former assistant editor and my #workwifeforlife) takes a refreshing and deeply personal look at jollof, a dish that she — the daughter of two Ghanaian immigrants — always took for granted growing up.

All of these stories have one thing in common: They take place right here in Atlanta. To call it “the city too busy to hate” is reductive, I know, but maybe not entirely wrong. Flaws and all, this city is magic. And although I fear for that delicate balance between welcoming newcomers (not you, Amazon) and retaining what makes Atlanta unique, I’m excited to see what will happen here in the years ahead — and plan to keep writing about it all from up in the freezing-ass North. 

And yeah, I know I’m no Grady baby. But when people in New York ask me where I’m from, I’m going to say Atlanta. 

 

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In the past, I’ve gone along with calling Atlanta a “city of transplants,” though that phrase now feels a bit sinister as I watch developers use it to justify pushing out historically black neighborhoods for cheaply-built luxury condos and lily-white tech companies parading in like they own the place. Yet there is something to be said for Atlanta’s welcoming nature, and particularly its acceptance of the immigrants and refugees who find safe haven here, enriching in turn our city’s cultural fabric. Georgia is eighth in the nation when it comes to refugee resettlement and the vast majority end up in Fulton and DeKalb counties. 

Over the years, immigrant-driven neighborhoods like Buford Highway and Clarkston have birthed multicultural food hubs that rival those of New York and L.A. More recently, our city’s buzzing pop-up scene has empowered first- and second-generation chefs like Maricela Vega of Chicomecóatl, Tiffany-Anne Parkes of Pienanny, and Parnass Savang of Talat Market (which will move into its own brick-and-mortar restaurant next year!) to bypass typical barriers to entry. In sharing their food directly with diners, these innovators have been able to simultaneously decolonize and reinvent their own culinary heritages, using what’s good and fresh and seasonal and found right here in Georgia.

Later this month, I’ll be moving to New York City to take on a new role as associate editor of Bon Appetit magazine — a move that would not have been possible without Creative Loafing. Leaving this city and the community I’ve found here will be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but my biggest hope is that the gifts Atlanta gave me can be passed down to the next generation. This city needs a voice like ours, and the burgeoning writers that live here deserve a platform.

In this issue, we explore the international nature of Atlanta’s far-reaching food scene. Instead of trying to put boxes around the various cultures that coexist here, we approach them from a variety of viewpoints, and let the folks doing the work tell their own stories. In the pages that follow, you’ll find cookbook author Seung Hee Lee giving our longtime writer Angela Hansberger a deeper look at Korean tradition by honing in on monastic cuisine. Ryan Hughley delves into a rather interesting — or shall I say, intestinal — intersection between African-American and Taiwanese food culture. Sucheta Rawal catches up with a Tunisian chef and his mission to share underrepresented foods with retired folks. Adjoa Danso (''CL''’s former assistant editor and my #workwifeforlife) takes a refreshing and deeply personal look at jollof, a dish that she — the daughter of two Ghanaian immigrants — always took for granted growing up.

All of these stories have one thing in common: They take place right here in Atlanta. To call it “the city too busy to hate” is reductive, I know, but maybe not entirely wrong. Flaws and all, this city is magic. And although I fear for that delicate balance between welcoming newcomers (not you, Amazon) and retaining what makes Atlanta unique, I’m excited to see what will happen here in the years ahead — and plan to keep writing about it all from up in the freezing-ass North. 

And yeah, I know I’m no Grady baby. But when people in New York ask me where I’m from, I’m going to say Atlanta. 

 

– Hilary Cadigan"
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  string(4205) " CL COVER APRIL FINAL BLUE Cropped  2018-04-04T20:18:37+00:00 CL COVER APRIL FINAL BLUE-cropped.jpg      4364  2018-04-04T20:13:58+00:00 The Food Issue - Home away from home jim.harris@creativeloafing.com Jim Harris Hilary Cadigan  2018-04-04T20:13:58+00:00  It’s hard to put into words exactly how much I love Atlanta. I’m not technically from here, but after a rather nomadic childhood — I made my ever-whining way through the ‘burbs of Dallas, Chicago, New York, and Boston all before the age of six — it’s the first place I chose for myself. I came for college in 2006 and aside from three years in Thailand, have stayed ever since. This city feels more like home to me than anywhere else.

In the past, I’ve gone along with calling Atlanta a “city of transplants,” though that phrase now feels a bit sinister as I watch developers use it to justify pushing out historically black neighborhoods for cheaply-built luxury condos and lily-white tech companies parading in like they own the place. Yet there is something to be said for Atlanta’s welcoming nature, and particularly its acceptance of the immigrants and refugees who find safe haven here, enriching in turn our city’s cultural fabric. Georgia is eighth in the nation when it comes to refugee resettlement and the vast majority end up in Fulton and DeKalb counties. 

Over the years, immigrant-driven neighborhoods like Buford Highway and Clarkston have birthed multicultural food hubs that rival those of New York and L.A. More recently, our city’s buzzing pop-up scene has empowered first- and second-generation chefs like Maricela Vega of Chicomecóatl, Tiffany-Anne Parkes of Pienanny, and Parnass Savang of Talat Market (which will move into its own brick-and-mortar restaurant next year!) to bypass typical barriers to entry. In sharing their food directly with diners, these innovators have been able to simultaneously decolonize and reinvent their own culinary heritages, using what’s good and fresh and seasonal and found right here in Georgia.

Later this month, I’ll be moving to New York City to take on a new role as associate editor of Bon Appetit magazine — a move that would not have been possible without Creative Loafing. Leaving this city and the community I’ve found here will be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but my biggest hope is that the gifts Atlanta gave me can be passed down to the next generation. This city needs a voice like ours, and the burgeoning writers that live here deserve a platform.

In this issue, we explore the international nature of Atlanta’s far-reaching food scene. Instead of trying to put boxes around the various cultures that coexist here, we approach them from a variety of viewpoints, and let the folks doing the work tell their own stories. In the pages that follow, you’ll find cookbook author Seung Hee Lee giving our longtime writer Angela Hansberger a deeper look at Korean tradition by honing in on monastic cuisine. Ryan Hughley delves into a rather interesting — or shall I say, intestinal — intersection between African-American and Taiwanese food culture. Sucheta Rawal catches up with a Tunisian chef and his mission to share underrepresented foods with retired folks. Adjoa Danso (CL’s former assistant editor and my #workwifeforlife) takes a refreshing and deeply personal look at jollof, a dish that she — the daughter of two Ghanaian immigrants — always took for granted growing up.

All of these stories have one thing in common: They take place right here in Atlanta. To call it “the city too busy to hate” is reductive, I know, but maybe not entirely wrong. Flaws and all, this city is magic. And although I fear for that delicate balance between welcoming newcomers (not you, Amazon) and retaining what makes Atlanta unique, I’m excited to see what will happen here in the years ahead — and plan to keep writing about it all from up in the freezing-ass North. 

And yeah, I know I’m no Grady baby. But when people in New York ask me where I’m from, I’m going to say Atlanta. 

 

– Hilary Cadigan                                        The Food Issue - Home away from home "
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Article

Wednesday April 4, 2018 04:13 pm EDT
It’s hard to put into words exactly how much I love Atlanta. I’m not technically from here, but after a rather nomadic childhood — I made my ever-whining way through the ‘burbs of Dallas, Chicago, New York, and Boston all before the age of six — it’s the first place I chose for myself. I came for college in 2006 and aside from three years in Thailand, have stayed ever since. This city feels... | more...
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  ["title"]=>
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  string(91) "Need some last-minute gift ideas for the foodie in your life? Atlanta chefs got you covered"
  ["tracker_field_description_raw"]=>
  string(91) "Need some last-minute gift ideas for the foodie in your life? Atlanta chefs got you covered"
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  string(10685) "Last minute shopper? Me too. But fear not. Whether you've got an aspiring home chef on your holiday gift list or just want to impress the foodies at your annual White Elephant, we've rounded up a list of some of the top kitchen gadgets, cookbooks, and specialty ingredients Atlanta chefs want now. Apparently centrifuges are hot at the moment.

Chad Clevenger, executive chef at Alma Cocina: “So what I’d like the Jolly Old Fat Man to bring me would be: more tattoos just because, a Houston Edge Works custom knife to add to my collection, a new driver to add to my golf bag (technology wins), an awesome week in Denver with my wife and family, and last but not least, every chef’s wish, cooks and dishwashers who don’t call out!”

Deborah VanTrece, owner/executive chef at Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours: "At the top of my gadget wish list is a knuckle pounder meat tenderizer. It's such a barbaric tool! It feeds into my inner warrior princess and my gangsta, all at the same time." 

Jason Simpson, executive chef at Muchacho and Golden Eagle: “An electric tortilla press for Muchacho, and an Anova sous vide precision cooker and a well-seasoned cast iron skillet for Golden Eagle.”

Edwin Molina, executive chef at Double Zero: “I am always welcoming new cookbooks to add to my collection. I think most chefs would say that! The number one thing on my list this year will have to be pasta tools. I need to grow my tool set for the pasta room at Double Zero. My wife just got me a mattarello (a four-foot-long rolling pin) for our anniversary, so now I've got my eye on a couple of things, like a corzetti stamp, or even a cavarola board!”

Zach Meloy, chef at Better Half: “I would really like to get my hands on a Spinzall, a small culinary centrifuge used to clarify juices, make flavored oils, butter, quick cold-brew coffee, meld fruits with spirits, and separate fats. Effectively, it's the worlds fastest salad spinner and we want one!”

Woolery “Woody” Back, head chef at Table & Main: "All this chef wants this year is for his farmers to have a perfect growing season. I want A.J. Stonehaven, Levity Farms, Martin's Gardens, Buckeye Creek, and Lionheart Schools to get the perfect amount of sunshine and rain to make their harvest plentiful and abundant. This makes our jobs at Table & Main so much fun. So Santa, please bring a good harvest next year.”  

Parnass Savang, chef/owner at Talat Market: “I'd love to get a coconut milk hydraulic press machine so I can enjoy fresh coconut milk and cream everyday without working so hard.”

Mike Manley, executive chef at Lure: “I have a few cookbooks that have been on my wish list for quite some time now. First editions of: The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery by A. Escoffier, Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer, Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child (signed copy), and La Cuisiniere Bourgeoise by Menon.”

Savannah Sasser, executive chef at Hampton + Hudson: “A Spinzall!”

John Fogleman, managing beverage director at Bar Crema: "I've been getting more into tea over the past couple years, so I'd love to get my hands on a vintage pu-erh tea cake, a good matcha bowl and a whisk (with some nice matcha, of course). As far as kitchen gadgets, I think copper ice sphere makers are pretty cool. I'm a nerd about surface area and good ice — everyone feels better with quality ice in a drink."

Matty Hutchins, senior kitchen scholar at Barleygarden: "A Griswold #8 cast-iron frying pan. The Griswold is a perfect all-purpose kitchen pan with a classic old-timey feel. It is equally at home frying eggs as it is searing upside-down peach polenta cakes. My kitchen skills turn up to 11 when this pan is on my stove."

John Castellucci, executive chef at Bar Mercado: “Etxebarri, the first cookbook from famous Spanish chef Victor Arguinzoniz. Although I never had the chance to eat at Etxebarri (number six in the world according to the San Pellegrino list) during my time in Spain, I have always been so intrigued by his use of fire and his philosophy on cooking. The book is only printed in Spanish for the moment so I will have to brush up on my vocabulary before reading it. Also, Takeda Knives. I have two knives from Takeda, a Japanese knife brand. They are my favorite knives I have ever used.  They are all made by third-generation master blacksmith Shosui Takeda. They hold their edge well and not as crazy expensive as some other Japanese brands.”

Mel Toledo, executive chef/owner at Foundation Social Eatery: “All I want for Christmas is a smoking gun — to be able to add a little smoke flavor to a dish without over-smoking it or having the long process of using an actual smoker. Also because someone broke my old smoking gun.” 

Jamie Adams, chef/owner at il Giallo Osteria & Bar: "I recently took a trip to New York, and several of the great Italian restaurants there had Cavatelli makers that made beautiful Cavatelli from fresh pasta dough very fast. Although we make beautiful handmade Cavatelli at il Giallo (great with brown pistachio pesto and sausage), I would definitely love a Cavatelli maker for Christmas so we could create them a lot faster.”  

Sepsenahki “Chef Ahki” Aahkhu, chef/CEO at Delicious Indigenous: “This Christmas, I plan to be in Mexico, but I still want an amazing plate of greens, stuffing, macaroni, and cranberry sauce. I also would love the perfect New Year's party with a slamming playlist to match my sexy dress! Watch out, 2018!”

Brandon Frohne, culinary director at Holler & Dash Biscuit House: "Here are the items at the top of my Santa Wish List! I sure hope Santa can get down the chimney with these! I would love a Click & Grow Indoor Wall Farm; it uses NASA-inspired nano-tech growing materials that supply just the right amount of oxygen, water, and other nutrients a plant needs, which allows produce to grow 30 percent faster than traditional methods. These indoor wall farms are space efficient to fit into any kitchen for sustainable herbs, micro greens, and lettuce year round. It's pretty incredible. A Breville/PolyScience Control Freak would also be amazing. It's an induction cooktop that holds any cooking temperature from 86 to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, with precise temperature accuracy. It would come in super handy when searing fish or meat so you can achieve the perfect crust across the surface of the protein for ultimate flavor development. Santa, come through!" 

Jonathan McDowell, executive chef at Nine Mile Station: “I want an 18-1/2-inch Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Package. Meat hangs vertically; the surface crisps/crusts more evenly and interior meat heats more evenly as there are no hot conduction points caused by meat lying on a grate. Meat is basted by juices that are sweat out of the meat. Because the meat is vertical, the juice has more distance to travel before dropping off the meat, and hence, vertical does a better job of basting. The juices that drop off of the meat and onto the coals provide smoke and flavor ... a LOT of smoke and flavor.” 

Daniel Peach, chef de cuisine at Chai Pani: “I would love a kilo of zereshk — the Persian barberry — to make the berry pulao from Cafe Britannia Boman in Mumbai. Boman Kohinoor, the 95-year-old proprietor of the legendary Parsi restaurant, imports the small sour berries from Iran every month." 

Taylor Neary, executive chef at the forthcoming Restaurant Holmes: “A Finex 10in cast iron skillet , the Gjelina, Cooking from Venice California cookbook, and a plate set from Wynne Noble.”

Matthew Ridgway, executive chef at Cooks & Soldiers: “Artichoke by Bjorn Shen. This is a book I have been looking at for a hot second. A Middle Eastern chef in Singapore, with a bent of Asian food. A neat pivot to see the stories of a kitchen and restaurants around the world, plus a great take on dinning culture in Singapore. And a Deba knife from Blood Root Blades. I would like to have a knife forged by a local company. This has a wait until 2022. That is insane.” 

Brent Hesse, general manager at the Deep End: "At the very top of my wish list is an industrial centrifuge. I'd be able to clarify citrus, milk wash spirits, and all sorts of other cool and practical tricks that would easily elevate a bar program. " 

Ricardo Soto, executive chef at [Sugo: “Ingredient-wise, I want this beautiful wagyu from Japan that I came across a couple weeks ago. It’s from Miyazaki and the marbling and flavor of it is awesome. Obviously truffles and caviar will be included, so I would say: Dear Santa, I don’t want too many things, only a small present, a small box with that beautiful piece of wagyu inside, you have no idea how much fun I’m going to have with it, I already have several plans for it. As far as a gadget, I would say a new EGGniter; it looks like a blow dryer but it’s an igniter for the Big Green Egg. It blows up to 1,200 degrees and it gets your coal hot and ready under five minutes, effortless. And it works with electricity; that way I can spend more time with my Big Green Egg. And if Santa is feeling generous, a new Big Green Egg would be nice, too.” 

Julian Goglia, owner/beverage director at Bar Americano: "I asked my parents for the new Meehan’s Bartender Manual. Since you’re asking, I’d absolutely love a BSA B44 Shooting Star. Outside of a new motorcycle, I’ll settle for a bottle of Campari to share with friends and family." 

Jonathan Fox, chef/co-owner at Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q: “Everyone says I am a tough person to buy a gift for. I have smokers and grills, and plenty of kitchen gadgets, so it is hard to think about anything else I might want there. An 80-inch TV would be great, but unlikely. So, when it comes down to it, what is the one thing I would really want for Christmas? A couple of really great bottles of wine, some great bourbon, and a good group of close folks to enjoy it with over the holidays. That would mean the most to me. Well, that and a Christmas Eve win over the Saints.” 



Justin Fox, chef/co-owner at Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q: “What do I want for Christmas? Hmmm, it may not seem exciting to most but it is to me: I really want some shelving and storage in my kitchen. It always seems like there just isn’t enough for all the cookware I seem to collect (maybe hoard, too). Pots and pans take up space and it would be amazing to have it better organized that it currently is. I've been good; feel free to drop it down my chimney, Santa Claus!”"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_raw"]=>
  string(13700) "Last minute shopper? Me too. But fear not. Whether you've got an aspiring home chef on your holiday gift list or just want to impress the foodies at your annual White Elephant, we've rounded up a list of some of the top kitchen gadgets, cookbooks, and specialty ingredients Atlanta chefs want now. Apparently centrifuges are hot at the moment.

__Chad Clevenger, executive chef at __[http://alma-atlanta.com/|__Alma Cocina__]__:__ “So what I’d like the Jolly Old Fat Man to bring me would be: more tattoos just because, a [https://www.houstonedgeworks.com/|Houston Edge Works custom knife] to add to my collection, a new driver to add to my golf bag (technology wins), an awesome week in Denver with my wife and family, and last but not least, every chef’s wish, cooks and dishwashers who don’t call out!”

__Deborah VanTrece, owner/executive chef at __[https://www.twistedsoulcookhouseandpours.com/|__Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours__]__:__ "At the top of my gadget wish list is a [https://www.foodiggityshop.com/products/knuckle-pounder-meat-tenderizer|knuckle pounder meat tenderizer]. It's such a barbaric tool! It feeds into my inner warrior princess and my gangsta, all at the same time." 

__Jason Simpson, executive chef at __[http://muchachoatl.com/|__Muchacho__]__ and __[http://www.goldeneagleatl.com/|__Golden Eagle__]__: “__An electric tortilla press for Muchacho, and an [https://anovaculinary.com/anova-precision-cooker/|Anova sous vide precision cooker] and a well-seasoned cast iron skillet for Golden Eagle.”

__Edwin Molina, executive chef at __[http://doublezeroatl.com/|__Double Zero__]__: __“I am always welcoming new cookbooks to add to my collection. I think most chefs would say that! The number one thing on my list this year will have to be pasta tools. I need to grow my tool set for the pasta room at Double Zero. My wife just got me a mattarello (a four-foot-long rolling pin) for our anniversary, so now I've got my eye on a couple of things, like a [http://www.artisanalpastatools.com/classic.shtml|corzetti stamp], or even a [http://www.artisanalpastatools.com/cavarola.shtml|cavarola board]!”

__Zach Meloy, chef at __[https://www.betterhalfatl.com/|__Better Half__]__: __“I would really like to get my hands on a [https://www.modernistpantry.com/spinzall.html|Spinzall], a small culinary centrifuge used to clarify juices, make flavored oils, butter, quick cold-brew coffee, meld fruits with spirits, and separate fats. Effectively, it's the worlds fastest salad spinner and we want one!”

__Woolery “Woody” Back, head chef at __[http://www.tableandmain.com/|__Table & Main__]__:__ "All this chef wants this year is for his farmers to have a perfect growing season. I want A.J. Stonehaven, Levity Farms, Martin's Gardens, Buckeye Creek, and Lionheart Schools to get the perfect amount of sunshine and rain to make their harvest plentiful and abundant. This makes our jobs at Table & Main so much fun. So Santa, please bring a good harvest next year.”  

__Parnass Savang, chef/owner at __[https://www.instagram.com/talat_marketatl/|__Talat Market__]__:__ “I'd love to get a [https://www.thaitrade.com/store/sakaya_automated_co__ltd_/product-detail/coconut-milk-hydraulic-press-machine-17117|coconut milk hydraulic press machine] so I can enjoy fresh coconut milk and cream everyday without working so hard.”

__Mike Manley, executive chef at __[http://lure-atlanta.com/|__Lure__]: “I have a few cookbooks that have been on my wish list for quite some time now. First editions of: [https://www.amazon.com/Escoffier-Complete-Guide-Modern-Cookery/dp/0471290165|''The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery''] by A. Escoffier, [https://www.amazon.com/Joy-of-Cooking/dp/0743246268|''Joy of Cooking''] by Irma S. Rombauer, [https://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Art-French-Cooking-Vol/dp/0375413405/|''Mastering the Art of French Cooking''] by Julia Child (signed copy), and [https://www.amazon.com/Cuisiniere-Bourgeoise-LOffice-Depenses-Maisons/dp/1104646951|''La Cuisiniere Bourgeoise''] by Menon.”

__Savannah Sasser, executive chef at __[http://www.hamptonandhudson.com/|__Hampton + Hudson__]__: “__A [https://www.modernistpantry.com/spinzall.html|Spinzall]!”

__John Fogleman, managing beverage director at __[http://10apart.com/bar-americano/|__Bar Crema__]: "I've been getting more into tea over the past couple years, so I'd love to get my hands on a vintage pu-erh tea cake, a good matcha bowl and a whisk (with some nice matcha, of course). As far as kitchen gadgets, I think [https://www.hammacher.com/Product/12914?cm_cat=ProductSEM&cm_pla=AdWordsPLA&source=PRODSEM&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIqoG25LOZ2AIVgbfACh1oMQ9bEAYYASABEgKPoPD_BwE|copper ice sphere makers] are pretty cool. I'm a nerd about surface area and good ice — everyone feels better with quality ice in a drink."

__Matty Hutchins, senior kitchen scholar at __[https://www.barleygardenkitchen.com/|__Barleygarden__]: "A [http://www.griswoldcookware.com/|Griswold #8 cast-iron frying pan]. The Griswold is a perfect all-purpose kitchen pan with a classic old-timey feel. It is equally at home frying eggs as it is searing upside-down peach polenta cakes. My kitchen skills turn up to 11 when this pan is on my stove."

__John Castellucci, executive chef at__ [https://www.barmercadoatl.com/|__Bar Mercado__]: “''Etxebarri'', the first cookbook from famous Spanish chef Victor Arguinzoniz. Although I never had the chance to eat at Etxebarri (number six in the world according to the San Pellegrino list) during my time in Spain, I have always been so intrigued by his use of fire and his philosophy on cooking. The book is only printed in Spanish for the moment so I will have to brush up on my vocabulary before reading it. Also, Takeda Knives. I have two knives from Takeda, a Japanese knife brand. They are my favorite knives I have ever used.  They are all made by third-generation master blacksmith Shosui Takeda. They hold their edge well and not as crazy expensive as some other Japanese brands.”

__Mel Toledo, executive chef/owner at __[http://foundationatl.com/|__Foundation Social Eatery__]: “All I want for Christmas is a [https://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/breville-smoking-gun/|smoking gun] — to be able to add a little smoke flavor to a dish without over-smoking it or having the long process of using an actual smoker. Also because someone broke my old smoking gun.” 

__Jamie Adams, chef/owner at __[https://ilgialloatl.com/|__il Giallo Osteria & Bar__]__: __"I recently took a trip to New York, and several of the great Italian restaurants there had [http://us.consiglioskitchenware.com/cavatelli-dumpling-makers?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI8N7B_LSZ2AIVWLXACh2saQF7EAAYAiAAEgIgOPD_BwE|Cavatelli makers] that made beautiful Cavatelli from fresh pasta dough very fast. Although we make beautiful handmade Cavatelli at il Giallo (great with brown pistachio pesto and sausage), I would definitely love a Cavatelli maker for Christmas so we could create them a lot faster.”  

__Sepsenahki “Chef Ahki” Aahkhu, chef/CEO at __[http://gochefahki.com/|__Delicious Indigenous__]__:__ “This Christmas, I plan to be in Mexico, but I still want an amazing plate of greens, stuffing, macaroni, and cranberry sauce. I also would love the perfect New Year's party with a slamming playlist to match my sexy dress! Watch out, 2018!”

__Brandon Frohne, culinary director at __[https://holleranddash.com/|__Holler & Dash Biscuit House__]: "Here are the items at the top of my Santa Wish List! I sure hope Santa can get down the chimney with these! I would love a [https://www.clickandgrow.com/collections/smart-farms|Click & Grow Indoor Wall Farm]; it uses NASA-inspired nano-tech growing materials that supply just the right amount of oxygen, water, and other nutrients a plant needs, which allows produce to grow 30 percent faster than traditional methods. These indoor wall farms are space efficient to fit into any kitchen for sustainable herbs, micro greens, and lettuce year round. It's pretty incredible. A [https://polyscienceculinary.com/products/the-control-freak|Breville/PolyScience Control Freak] would also be amazing. It's an induction cooktop that holds any cooking temperature from 86 to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, with precise temperature accuracy. It would come in super handy when searing fish or meat so you can achieve the perfect crust across the surface of the protein for ultimate flavor development. Santa, come through!" 

__Jonathan McDowell, executive chef at __[http://www.9milestation.com/|__Nine Mile Station__]__:__ “I want an 18-1/2-inch Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Package. Meat hangs vertically; the surface crisps/crusts more evenly and interior meat heats more evenly as there are no hot conduction points caused by meat lying on a grate. Meat is basted by juices that are sweat out of the meat. Because the meat is vertical, the juice has more distance to travel before dropping off the meat, and hence, vertical does a better job of basting. The juices that drop off of the meat and onto the coals provide smoke and flavor ... a LOT of smoke and flavor.” 

__Daniel Peach, chef de cuisine at __[http://www.chaipanidecatur.com/|__Chai Pani__]__:__ “I would love a kilo of zereshk — the Persian barberry — to make the berry pulao from Cafe Britannia Boman in Mumbai. Boman Kohinoor, the 95-year-old proprietor of the legendary Parsi restaurant, imports the small sour berries from Iran every month." 

__Taylor Neary, executive chef at the forthcoming __[https://www.facebook.com/restaurantholmes/|__Restaurant Holmes__]__:__ “A [https://finexusa.com/product/cast-iron-skillet/|Finex 10in cast iron skillet__ __], the [https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gjelina-travis-lett/1122689114#/|''Gjelina, Cooking from Venice California'' cookbook], and a [http://www.nobleplateware.com/|plate set from Wynne Noble].”

__Matthew Ridgway, executive chef at__ [http://cooksandsoldiers.com/|__Cooks & Soldiers__]: “[http://www.artichoke.com.sg/|''Artichoke'']'' ''by Bjorn Shen. This is a book I have been looking at for a hot second. A Middle Eastern chef in Singapore, with a bent of Asian food. A neat pivot to see the stories of a kitchen and restaurants around the world, plus a great take on dinning culture in Singapore. And a [http://www.bloodrootblades.com/shop/|Deba knife from Blood Root Blades]. I would like to have a knife forged by a local company. This has a wait until 2022. That is insane.” 

__Brent Hesse, general manager at __[https://www.facebook.com/thedeependatl/|__the Deep End__]__:__ "At the very top of my wish list is an [http://www.russellfinex.com/en/separation-equipment/liquid-solid-separation/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI6drWrrSZ2AIVm7jACh0t4wu5EAAYAyAAEgKyGvD_BwE|industrial centrifuge]. I'd be able to clarify citrus, milk wash spirits, and all sorts of other cool and practical tricks that would easily elevate a bar program. "__ __

__Ricardo Soto, executive chef at__ [__Sugo__: “Ingredient-wise, I want this beautiful wagyu from Japan that I came across a couple weeks ago. It’s from Miyazaki and the marbling and flavor of it is awesome. Obviously truffles and caviar will be included, so I would say: Dear Santa, I don’t want too many things, only a small present, a small box with that beautiful piece of wagyu inside, you have no idea how much fun I’m going to have with it, I already have several plans for it. As far as a gadget, I would say a new [http://biggreenegg.com/product/eggniter/|EGGniter]; it looks like a blow dryer but it’s an igniter for the Big Green Egg. It blows up to 1,200 degrees and it gets your coal hot and ready under five minutes, effortless. And it works with electricity; that way I can spend more time with my Big Green Egg. And if Santa is feeling generous, a new Big Green Egg would be nice, too.” 

__Julian Goglia, owner/beverage director at __[http://10apart.com/bar-americano/|__Bar Americano__]__:__ "I asked my parents for the new [https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/249859/meehans-bartender-manual-by-jim-meehan/9781607748625/|''Meehan’s Bartender Manual'']''.'' Since you’re asking, I’d absolutely love a [https://www.motorcycleclassics.com/classic-british-motorcycles/bsa-441-shooting-star|BSA B44 Shooting Star]. Outside of a new motorcycle, I’ll settle for a bottle of Campari to share with friends and family." 

__Jonathan Fox, chef/co-owner at __[http://www.foxbrosbbq.com/|__Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q__]__: “__Everyone says I am a tough person to buy a gift for. I have smokers and grills, and plenty of kitchen gadgets, so it is hard to think about anything else I might want there. An 80-inch TV would be great, but unlikely. So, when it comes down to it, what is the one thing I would really want for Christmas? A couple of really great bottles of wine, some great bourbon, and a good group of close folks to enjoy it with over the holidays. That would mean the most to me. Well, that and a Christmas Eve win over the Saints.” 



__Justin Fox, chef/co-owner at __[http://www.foxbrosbbq.com/|__Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q__]__:__ “What do I want for Christmas? Hmmm, it may not seem exciting to most but it is to me: I really want some shelving and storage in my kitchen. It always seems like there just isn’t enough for all the cookware I seem to collect (maybe hoard, too). Pots and pans take up space and it would be amazing to have it better organized that it currently is. I've been good; feel free to drop it down my chimney, Santa Claus!”"
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  string(11302) " ThinkstockPhotos 874492950.5a3d1e795a6a4  2018-02-05T05:18:08+00:00 ThinkstockPhotos_874492950.5a3d1e795a6a4.jpg     Need some last-minute gift ideas for the foodie in your life? Atlanta chefs got you covered 2521  2017-12-21T01:34:00+00:00 What the chefs want ben.eason@creativeloafing.com Ben Eason Hilary Cadigan  2017-12-21T01:34:00+00:00  Last minute shopper? Me too. But fear not. Whether you've got an aspiring home chef on your holiday gift list or just want to impress the foodies at your annual White Elephant, we've rounded up a list of some of the top kitchen gadgets, cookbooks, and specialty ingredients Atlanta chefs want now. Apparently centrifuges are hot at the moment.

Chad Clevenger, executive chef at Alma Cocina: “So what I’d like the Jolly Old Fat Man to bring me would be: more tattoos just because, a Houston Edge Works custom knife to add to my collection, a new driver to add to my golf bag (technology wins), an awesome week in Denver with my wife and family, and last but not least, every chef’s wish, cooks and dishwashers who don’t call out!”

Deborah VanTrece, owner/executive chef at Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours: "At the top of my gadget wish list is a knuckle pounder meat tenderizer. It's such a barbaric tool! It feeds into my inner warrior princess and my gangsta, all at the same time." 

Jason Simpson, executive chef at Muchacho and Golden Eagle: “An electric tortilla press for Muchacho, and an Anova sous vide precision cooker and a well-seasoned cast iron skillet for Golden Eagle.”

Edwin Molina, executive chef at Double Zero: “I am always welcoming new cookbooks to add to my collection. I think most chefs would say that! The number one thing on my list this year will have to be pasta tools. I need to grow my tool set for the pasta room at Double Zero. My wife just got me a mattarello (a four-foot-long rolling pin) for our anniversary, so now I've got my eye on a couple of things, like a corzetti stamp, or even a cavarola board!”

Zach Meloy, chef at Better Half: “I would really like to get my hands on a Spinzall, a small culinary centrifuge used to clarify juices, make flavored oils, butter, quick cold-brew coffee, meld fruits with spirits, and separate fats. Effectively, it's the worlds fastest salad spinner and we want one!”

Woolery “Woody” Back, head chef at Table & Main: "All this chef wants this year is for his farmers to have a perfect growing season. I want A.J. Stonehaven, Levity Farms, Martin's Gardens, Buckeye Creek, and Lionheart Schools to get the perfect amount of sunshine and rain to make their harvest plentiful and abundant. This makes our jobs at Table & Main so much fun. So Santa, please bring a good harvest next year.”  

Parnass Savang, chef/owner at Talat Market: “I'd love to get a coconut milk hydraulic press machine so I can enjoy fresh coconut milk and cream everyday without working so hard.”

Mike Manley, executive chef at Lure: “I have a few cookbooks that have been on my wish list for quite some time now. First editions of: The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery by A. Escoffier, Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer, Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child (signed copy), and La Cuisiniere Bourgeoise by Menon.”

Savannah Sasser, executive chef at Hampton + Hudson: “A Spinzall!”

John Fogleman, managing beverage director at Bar Crema: "I've been getting more into tea over the past couple years, so I'd love to get my hands on a vintage pu-erh tea cake, a good matcha bowl and a whisk (with some nice matcha, of course). As far as kitchen gadgets, I think copper ice sphere makers are pretty cool. I'm a nerd about surface area and good ice — everyone feels better with quality ice in a drink."

Matty Hutchins, senior kitchen scholar at Barleygarden: "A Griswold #8 cast-iron frying pan. The Griswold is a perfect all-purpose kitchen pan with a classic old-timey feel. It is equally at home frying eggs as it is searing upside-down peach polenta cakes. My kitchen skills turn up to 11 when this pan is on my stove."

John Castellucci, executive chef at Bar Mercado: “Etxebarri, the first cookbook from famous Spanish chef Victor Arguinzoniz. Although I never had the chance to eat at Etxebarri (number six in the world according to the San Pellegrino list) during my time in Spain, I have always been so intrigued by his use of fire and his philosophy on cooking. The book is only printed in Spanish for the moment so I will have to brush up on my vocabulary before reading it. Also, Takeda Knives. I have two knives from Takeda, a Japanese knife brand. They are my favorite knives I have ever used.  They are all made by third-generation master blacksmith Shosui Takeda. They hold their edge well and not as crazy expensive as some other Japanese brands.”

Mel Toledo, executive chef/owner at Foundation Social Eatery: “All I want for Christmas is a smoking gun — to be able to add a little smoke flavor to a dish without over-smoking it or having the long process of using an actual smoker. Also because someone broke my old smoking gun.” 

Jamie Adams, chef/owner at il Giallo Osteria & Bar: "I recently took a trip to New York, and several of the great Italian restaurants there had Cavatelli makers that made beautiful Cavatelli from fresh pasta dough very fast. Although we make beautiful handmade Cavatelli at il Giallo (great with brown pistachio pesto and sausage), I would definitely love a Cavatelli maker for Christmas so we could create them a lot faster.”  

Sepsenahki “Chef Ahki” Aahkhu, chef/CEO at Delicious Indigenous: “This Christmas, I plan to be in Mexico, but I still want an amazing plate of greens, stuffing, macaroni, and cranberry sauce. I also would love the perfect New Year's party with a slamming playlist to match my sexy dress! Watch out, 2018!”

Brandon Frohne, culinary director at Holler & Dash Biscuit House: "Here are the items at the top of my Santa Wish List! I sure hope Santa can get down the chimney with these! I would love a Click & Grow Indoor Wall Farm; it uses NASA-inspired nano-tech growing materials that supply just the right amount of oxygen, water, and other nutrients a plant needs, which allows produce to grow 30 percent faster than traditional methods. These indoor wall farms are space efficient to fit into any kitchen for sustainable herbs, micro greens, and lettuce year round. It's pretty incredible. A Breville/PolyScience Control Freak would also be amazing. It's an induction cooktop that holds any cooking temperature from 86 to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, with precise temperature accuracy. It would come in super handy when searing fish or meat so you can achieve the perfect crust across the surface of the protein for ultimate flavor development. Santa, come through!" 

Jonathan McDowell, executive chef at Nine Mile Station: “I want an 18-1/2-inch Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Package. Meat hangs vertically; the surface crisps/crusts more evenly and interior meat heats more evenly as there are no hot conduction points caused by meat lying on a grate. Meat is basted by juices that are sweat out of the meat. Because the meat is vertical, the juice has more distance to travel before dropping off the meat, and hence, vertical does a better job of basting. The juices that drop off of the meat and onto the coals provide smoke and flavor ... a LOT of smoke and flavor.” 

Daniel Peach, chef de cuisine at Chai Pani: “I would love a kilo of zereshk — the Persian barberry — to make the berry pulao from Cafe Britannia Boman in Mumbai. Boman Kohinoor, the 95-year-old proprietor of the legendary Parsi restaurant, imports the small sour berries from Iran every month." 

Taylor Neary, executive chef at the forthcoming Restaurant Holmes: “A Finex 10in cast iron skillet , the Gjelina, Cooking from Venice California cookbook, and a plate set from Wynne Noble.”

Matthew Ridgway, executive chef at Cooks & Soldiers: “Artichoke by Bjorn Shen. This is a book I have been looking at for a hot second. A Middle Eastern chef in Singapore, with a bent of Asian food. A neat pivot to see the stories of a kitchen and restaurants around the world, plus a great take on dinning culture in Singapore. And a Deba knife from Blood Root Blades. I would like to have a knife forged by a local company. This has a wait until 2022. That is insane.” 

Brent Hesse, general manager at the Deep End: "At the very top of my wish list is an industrial centrifuge. I'd be able to clarify citrus, milk wash spirits, and all sorts of other cool and practical tricks that would easily elevate a bar program. " 

Ricardo Soto, executive chef at [Sugo: “Ingredient-wise, I want this beautiful wagyu from Japan that I came across a couple weeks ago. It’s from Miyazaki and the marbling and flavor of it is awesome. Obviously truffles and caviar will be included, so I would say: Dear Santa, I don’t want too many things, only a small present, a small box with that beautiful piece of wagyu inside, you have no idea how much fun I’m going to have with it, I already have several plans for it. As far as a gadget, I would say a new EGGniter; it looks like a blow dryer but it’s an igniter for the Big Green Egg. It blows up to 1,200 degrees and it gets your coal hot and ready under five minutes, effortless. And it works with electricity; that way I can spend more time with my Big Green Egg. And if Santa is feeling generous, a new Big Green Egg would be nice, too.” 

Julian Goglia, owner/beverage director at Bar Americano: "I asked my parents for the new Meehan’s Bartender Manual. Since you’re asking, I’d absolutely love a BSA B44 Shooting Star. Outside of a new motorcycle, I’ll settle for a bottle of Campari to share with friends and family." 

Jonathan Fox, chef/co-owner at Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q: “Everyone says I am a tough person to buy a gift for. I have smokers and grills, and plenty of kitchen gadgets, so it is hard to think about anything else I might want there. An 80-inch TV would be great, but unlikely. So, when it comes down to it, what is the one thing I would really want for Christmas? A couple of really great bottles of wine, some great bourbon, and a good group of close folks to enjoy it with over the holidays. That would mean the most to me. Well, that and a Christmas Eve win over the Saints.” 



Justin Fox, chef/co-owner at Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q: “What do I want for Christmas? Hmmm, it may not seem exciting to most but it is to me: I really want some shelving and storage in my kitchen. It always seems like there just isn’t enough for all the cookware I seem to collect (maybe hoard, too). Pots and pans take up space and it would be amazing to have it better organized that it currently is. I've been good; feel free to drop it down my chimney, Santa Claus!”    Thinkstock/Lacheev SANTA'S WORKSHOP: Impress the foodies in your life with one of these chef-approved holiday gifts.        20986684         http://dev.creativeloafing.com/image/2017/12/ThinkstockPhotos_874492950.5a3d1e795a6a4.png                  What the chefs want "
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Wednesday December 20, 2017 08:34 pm EST
Need some last-minute gift ideas for the foodie in your life? Atlanta chefs got you covered | more...
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  string(872) "Looking at the bowl, what strikes you first is the profoundly dark roux with its mesmerizing sheen. The umber shade promises a complex richness from continued whisking and a low-and-slow simmer. And it delivers. Oh, does it deliver. The gumbo is velvety, its thickness punctuated by bobbing nuggets of andouille sausage and plump Georgia shrimp over a mound of Carolina Gold rice. Buttery thick slices of crusty bread are at the ready for necessary sopping.

On episode number six of "Dish on the Dish", a podcast spinning off from our biannual 100 Dishes issue, we'll hear from James Beard Award winning chef Steven Satterfield, about this oh-so-comforting Lousiana classic, where his recipe came from, and what makes it special. Warning, don't listen on an empty stomach, unless you're prepared to drive straight over to Westside's Miller Union immediately afterwards."
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  string(988) "''Looking at the bowl, what strikes you first is the profoundly dark roux with its mesmerizing sheen. The umber shade promises a complex richness from continued whisking and a low-and-slow simmer. And it delivers. Oh, does it deliver. The gumbo is velvety, its thickness punctuated by bobbing nuggets of andouille sausage and plump Georgia shrimp over a mound of Carolina Gold rice. Buttery thick slices of crusty bread are at the ready for necessary sopping.''

On episode number six of "Dish on the Dish", a podcast spinning off from our biannual [http://www.creativeloafing.com/food-drink/article/20858679/100-dishes-2017|100 Dishes issue], we'll hear from James Beard Award winning chef Steven Satterfield, about this oh-so-comforting Lousiana classic, where his recipe came from, and what makes it special. Warning, don't listen on an empty stomach, unless you're prepared to drive straight over to Westside's [http://www.millerunion.com/site/|Miller Union] immediately afterwards."
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On episode number five of Dish on the Dish, our bite-sized podcast spinning off from our biannual 100 Dishes issue, we'll hear from Stevenson himself on the story behind his famous chicken and dumplings, which he dishes out seasonally at Watershed on Peachtree.


     Courtesy Watershed DUMPLING MASTER: Chef Zeb Stevenson of Watershed on Peachtree puts a modern spin on chicken and dumplings.  0,0,10      20984194         http://dev.creativeloafing.com/image/2017/11/ChefZebStevenson_Headshot___Copy.58474a08aa2f8.5a1ee18a7a069.png                  PODCAST- Dish on the Dish - Zeb Stevenson's chicken and dumplings "
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Article

Wednesday November 29, 2017 04:26 pm EST
Chicken and dumplings is the ultimate cold weather comfort food, but in the hands of veteran chef Zeb Stevenson, what appears to be a simple, familiar dish becomes soulful with one bite. Stevenson braises whole pastured birds and slow simmers his stock for richness, adding strips of tender chicken, carrots, celery, parsley, and thyme to the thick broth. Dumplings are steamed to order so they... | more...
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