James Beard Award honors another B’ham Chef – Chris Hastings is Best Chef in the Southeast

So excited that another one of my partners-in-cookbook-tome has received a James Beard Award accolade. Huge congratulations to Chris and Idie and the entire Hot & Hot Fish Club team for this well-deserved award. 2012 appears to be his year!

Is there an Iron Chef in the Magic City?

If you’re a fan of Birmingham’s uncommonly good food scene then you might want to DVR the Academy Awards Sunday night and tune in to the much-anticipated Iron Chef duel between Hot & Hot Fish Club’s Chef Chris Hastings and Iron Chef-many-times-over, Bobby Flay. I think Flay may have met his match!

The show is a 60-minute showdown between two chefs and their hand-picked teams (Hastings picked his uber-talented former sous chef, Rob McDaniel), utilizing ingredients that they are presented just moments before the clock starts. It is fast paced, high stress, and very impressive to even be asked to participate. A win is a pretty prestigious notch in a chef’s belt.

Having had the pleasure to work side-by-side with Hastings on the Hot and Hot Fish Club Cookbook, I have seen the man in action doing pretty amazing things with ingredients–taking a fully-feathered turkey wing and turning it into a clean, smooth, tight turkey call for future hunts, greeting purveyors and tasting their wares and verbalizing in mere seconds the dish he envisions creating…sampling the result goes above and beyond all expectations every time. He brings out the best in the ingredients he’s given and wields a skilled hand in presentation. Factors that should play very well for him.

So tune in Sunday and see if Chef Hastings brings a little magic to the Iron Chef stage.

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