Taste of Atlanta is here! For three days, 90 restaurants will be serving up a delicious variety of food in Tech Square. We took this opportunity to speak to two phenomenal chefs whose restaurants will be there representing the best of what Atlanta has to offer.
First up, Executive Chef Christy Stone of South Main Kitchen. Stone uses her creativity and skills in the kitchen to invent various entrées that she calls a healthy take on modern American comfort food.
South Main Kitchen
No. 9 South Main Street
Alpharetta, GA 30009
Have you faced challenges in your career as a woman in a notoriously male dominated industry? What would be your advice to other young women hoping to break the glass ceiling in the food industry?
Christy Stone (CS): I don’t pay much attention to the fact that I’m a women in the kitchen. What I have found to be most challenging is my experience level in a professional kitchen. This is my first restaurant, and I did not “grow up” per se in a kitchen. I choose this career path later than most chefs and found it most difficult to break into the industry with little experience. Gaining the respect of my co-workers and onlookers to view me as a chef and maintaining confidence in my work and myself have been the biggest challenges. I found respect comes from super hard work and dedication to the job and the people that make it happen every day.
I would tell other female chefs to just go for it! Be prepared to really work hard, sacrifice a lot, remain professional and never, ever burn bridges. I can’t stress enough how important it is to be polite and courteous to everyone. People respond well to kindness, not arrogance.
What is your favorite dish to make when you’re at home?
CS: I have a Big Green Egg, so when I’m away from the restaurant (which doesn’t happen often), I love grilling! My favorite is pizza. I’ll make a simple marinara or pesto and add seasonal farmers market finds like butternut squash, kale, apples and goat cheese. I season it simply with salt and pepper and let the Green Egg work its magic! So delicious.
Who (or what) do you draw your inspiration from when you’re in the kitchen?
CS: I find a lot of inspiration from the restaurant staff. We have a great staff with different cultural backgrounds, not only the back of the house, but the front of the house too. I love hearing about foods they enjoy cooking or grew up eating. I find people to be very inspirational and motivational.
What is your favorite place to eat in Atlanta (outside of your own restaurant of course!)?
CS: That’s a tough question! One of my favorites was a little place in Sandy Springs on Roswell Rd., Makaras Mediterranean. The city is forcing them to relocate, so they currently are not open, and that makes me sad. I also recently had a great Sunday Supper at JCT. I love the way they serve on Sundays with the set menu. It’s very smart for the kitchen, and I felt I had a whole Thanksgiving feast! It was absolutely delicious – easily one of my favorites.
What are you looking forward to the most at this year’s Taste of Atlanta?
CS: Everything! This is my first time participating in the Taste of Atlanta, and I really don’t know what to expect. I’m really excited just to be apart of it! If I had to pick one thing though, I’d say it would be networking with other chefs and learning about other restaurants.