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Monday, June 22, 2015

Hugh Acheson: Georgia at his core in the truest sense

Credit: @Grapes_HopsATL
Canadian. Honest. Witty. Authentic.  These words describe our encounter with Top Chef judge and chef/partner of Empire State South in Atlanta, Hugh Acheson.  We were invited by YP (the Yellow Pages) and Erica Key, contributing writer for the YP from @eatingwitherica to join Hugh and several prominent foodie bloggers in Atlanta to dine at Empire State South for a meet and greet.

The YP is creating new buzz around their campaign on social media with their hashtag #makeverydaylocal. The YP is focused on local communities and supporting local pockets around Atlanta.  We found a common bond with YP, because that is what stemmed our concept Grapes and Hops Atlanta.  Five years ago, we developed Grapes and Hops Atlanta to focus on local chefs, restaurants and events in the surrounding areas of Metro Atlanta to spotlight those local communities.

Hugh was a gracious host, allowing us to dine and sample his brunch menu including the fried egg and scrambled egg biscuit, along with crowd favorite french toast and house made granola, with honey and yogurt, amongst many additional foodie items.  After eating our delights, we had a chance for a Q&A session with Hugh where we learned this 20 year resident of Atlanta and father of 2, just wants to be "loved."

Credit: @Grapes_HopsATL
Hugh's upcoming project: "Spiller Park" a coffee shop, scheduled to open September 1st at Ponce City Market,  named after the former home to the Atlanta Crackers that used to sit across from the PCM site.

Hugh on social media: "Social media is a portrayal of Hugh, not my restaurants. I'm immersed and I care. It helps to allow us to have a quick and easy outlet for marketing.  I do see the worth to it and get things out there...but I'm also a jackass and like to make fun of things too." @HughAcheson

Hugh's favorite recipe: "It's kind of like choosing your child, but we all have our favorites."

Hugh's team: "I like to empower people and my team. I consider myself a baseball manager, and they are my baseball team.  You are going to want to put your best players on the field.  I surround myself by people who are better than me. Understand you staff and deliver for them."

Hugh's advice to young inspiring chefs: "It's your duty and reason to make it better. Call out the issues.  It's a lot of work and success doesn't lie in celebrity.  You have to operate a business that is successful and give back by delivering food that makes people awesomely happy."

Hugh on local farms: "Find them and support them! In Atlanta, we are only 30-60 minutes away from local farms. Buy and support from the local farms to celebrate them."

Hugh's favorite wine: "Well, if I die going into debt drinking good wine, so be it. Your credit score doesn't matter after your dead."


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