When Hugh Acheson (now a James Beard Award winner as a chef and author) moved from Ottowa to Georgia, who knew that he would woo his adopted home state and they would embrace him as one of their own?
In 2000, following French culinary training on both coasts, Hugh opened Five and Ten in Athens, a college town known for R.E.M., and the restaurant became a spotlight for his exciting interpretation of traditional Southern fare. Five and Ten became a favorite local haunt as well as a destination—Food & Wine named Hugh a “Best New Chef” and at seventy miles away, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution named Five and Ten the best restaurant in Atlanta. Then came the five consecutive James Beard nominations.
Now, after opening two more restaurants and a wine shop, Hugh is ready to share 120 recipes of his eclectic, bold, and sophisticated flavors, inspired by fresh ingredients. In A New Turn in the South, you’ll find libations, seasonal vegetables that take a prominent role, salads and soups, his prized sides, and fish and meats—all of which turn Southern food on its head every step of the way. Hugh’s recipes include: Oysters on the Half Shell with Cane Vinegar and Chopped Mint Sauce, shucked and left in their bottom shells; Chanterelles on Toast with Mushrooms that soak up the flavor of rosemary, thyme, and lemon; Braised and Crisped Pork Belly with Citrus Salad—succulent and inexpensive, but lavish; Yellow Grits with Sautéed Shiitakes, Fried Eggs, and Salsa Rossa—a stunning versatile condiment; Fried Chicken with Stewed Pickled Green Tomatoes—his daughters’ favorite dish; and Lemon Chess Pies with Blackberry Compote—his go-to classic Southern pie with seasonal accompaniment.
With surprising photography full of Hugh’s personality, and pages layered with his own quirky writing and sketches, he invites you into his community and his innovative world of food—to add new favorites to your repertoire.
Acheson is a Canadian by birth and a Southerner by choice. With a restaurant in Atlanta and three others in Athens, his outsider versions of down home classics have become well known in Georgia. Here, in his first cookbook, he flexes his southern hospitality to share over 120 of the creations that have started him on the road to celebrity chefdom. Not surprisingly, peanuts are a prominent ingredient, but they turn up in the most unexpected ways: boiled peanut hummus, peanut soup with avocado, and in a risotto along with okra, ham and ramps (a leek-like wild onion). Fruits, both sweet and sour also make surprise appearances. Marinated anchovies are embellished with ruby red grapefruit and country ham is served with mango and red pepper flakes. Mint grows wild in Georgia, and there is no controlling it here either as it finds its way into dishes diverse as grilled poussin, chilled cucumber mint soup, and lamb shanks with minted turnips. The recipes are pleasantly succinct, with short musings by the chef acting as preamble to many of them. He touches upon his disdain for bouillon cubes and his preferences when it comes to collards. He also takes a four-page pause midway through the work to reflect on his favorite ingredient: the community he serves.