Georgia Department of Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black and Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA) executive director Karen Bremer named the 2015 Georgia Grown Executive Chefs on Feb. 18 at the GRA’s Taste of Georgia Legislative Reception, held at the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot.
The four chefs for 2015 include: Chef Matthew Basford of Canoe in Atlanta, Chef Cathy Conway of Avalon Catering in Atlanta, Chef Jay Swift of 4th & Swift in Atlanta and Chef John Syzmanski of The Kroger Co.
“The 2015 chefs chosen for this program have exceptional experience and talent in their field and already demonstrate a strong support for Georgia grown products,” Bremer said. “These chefs will without a doubt do an excellent job representing Georgia’s restaurants and Georgia Grown and they will help continue to strengthen the relationship between Georgia’s chefs and farmers.”
These four distinguished chefs will join the current Georgia Grown Executive Chefs, including:
- Chef Holly Chute, executive chef, Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Georgia Grown program
- Chef Michael Deihl, CEC CCA AAC, VP of culinary innovation, A Kitchen Kalamity
- Chef Kevin Gillespie, owner, Gunshow in Atlanta
- Chef Hilary White, executive chef, The Hil, A Restaurant at Serenbe
- Chef Jennifer Hill Booker, executive chef and owner, Your Resident Gourmet in Lilburn
- Chef Linton Hopkins, executive chef, Restaurant Eugene/Resurgens Hospitality Group in Atlanta
- Chef Ahmad Nourzad, executive chef, Affairs to Remember Caterers in Atlanta
- Chef Dave Snyder, owner and executive chef, Halyard Restaurant Group in St. Simons Island
- Gary Coltek, senior director, Kennesaw State University culinary and hospitality services in Kennesaw
- Chef Roberto Leoci, executive chef, Leoci’s Trattoria in Savannah
- Chef Marc Taft, executive chef, Chicken and the Egg in Marietta
- Chef Virginia Willis, executive chef and food writer, Virginia Willis Culinary Enterprises Inc. in Atlanta
As the program grows, it will create a pathway for consumers to find Georgia Grown products in their communities in order to support local, seasonal foods when dining out. It also aims to highlight and involve public school culinary education and school food nutrition in terms of increased opportunities for Georgia Grown products, training and recipe development. The chefs will participate in a spring and fall school event, an organized farm tour, at least one seasonal cooking clip with the Department and at least one Georgia Grown cooking event designated by Black.
The 2015 Georgia Grown executive chefs were named on Feb. 18 at the Taste of Georgia Legislative Reception. Georgia Dept. of Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black, left, John Syzmanski of The Kroger Co., Cathy Conway of Avalon Catering, Georgia Grown executive chef, Holly Chute, Governor Nathan Deal, Sandra Deal, GRA executive director, Karen Bremer, Matthew Basford of Canoe Restaurant, and Jay Swift of 4th & Swift.