Chef, author, and judge on Bravo’s Top Chef, Hugh Acheson is celebrated for his fresh take on food. A fan favorite contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters Season 3, Acheson is now a judge on Top Chef and Bravo personality.
Known for his straightforward, saucy personality and accessible cooking, Acheson has appeared in Bon Appetit, The New York Times, GQ, Fine Living, Food & Wine, Gourmet, Southern Living, and Saveur. He blogs for Epicurious and Bravo.
Born and raised in Ottawa, Canada, Acheson started working in restaurants after school before deciding to make food his career. Working under established chefs, he learned traditional French wine, cuisine and etiquette all while developing his now signature style of pure, honest food, his direct and assertive nature, along with a deep knowledge of traditional Southern culture.
He is chef and partner Five & Ten and The National both located in Athens, GA and the Atlanta-based Empire State South.
Over the last 10 years, Acheson has earned praise and accolades that include Food & Wine’s award for Best Chef, a Rising Star from Starchefs.com and six James Beard nominations for Best Chef Southeast - winning for his work at Five & Ten in 2012. Fellow chef Mario Batali chose Acheson for the book Coco: 10 World-Leading Masters Choose 100 Contemporary Chefs.
Employing the mantra: local first, sustainable second, organic third, Acheson believes “Local has impact and impact produces change. Change is the process of making the farming sustainable, and once sustainable, the next step is certified organically grown. Small steps will win this race and those first small steps are about your local sphere. I am not a fanatic, just a believer in the place I live and finding ways to make it great everyday.”
Acheson’s first cookbook, A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen, won the 2012 James Beard Foundation Book Award for American Cooking. The book is filled with Acheson’s drawings and recipes that advocate using local ingredients, turning Southern food on its head every step of the way. He is at work on his next cookbook, set to focus on making the most of seasonal ingredients, farmers markets, and CSAs. It will be published in late 2014.
“Hugh Acheson is an eloquent, intellectual spirit who cares deeply for food and its impact on a community.”
-Chef Frank Stitt