Ten years ago, only the most avid—or gluttonous—diners might see a slab of smoked brisket, a fillet of freshly caught grouper, and a bowl of shrimp and grits in a single day. Now, keeping up with menus all over the South is as easy as a follow. These five up-and-comers are not only making delicious food, but they also know how to make it look good on social media.
Formerly of Per Se in New York, this sous chef composes the likes of duck, muscadine, and wild juniper into elegant arrangements topped with wild herbs and flowers. His dishes are heavy on local flavor but also on technique. (It’s no surprise that he paints in his free time.)
You won’t see grits, gravy, or collard greens on this chef’s ever-changing menu, which bucks trends to embrace continental classics like chicken à la dijonnaise and bouef bourguignon. Photographed in glorious natural light, they’ll send you back to your dog-eared copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
You can make this food. A lot of it, anyway. Formerly of Farm 255 and Cinco y Diez in Athens, this chef posts simple, magazine-worthy photos of dishes like banana-cornmeal pancakes and chicken tinga tostadas. And you’ll find many of the recipes on her website.
This chef, gardener, and sportsman follows his ingredients all the way from field to plate. And he feeds a college town with fresh, wholesome dishes like venison-and-sweet potato tamales steamed in collard leaves and butterbean gnocchi with pork, peaches, and pecans.
Plenty of chefs appreciate local produce, but few take it as far as this hardworking chef. On his feed, he documents his experiments with ingredients farmed and foraged nearby: chicken-fried chicken of the woods mushrooms, concord grape and muscadine vinegars, salami spiked with wild ginger and blueberries. In barbecue country, it’s true local flavor.