By Kim Wade
Jay Swift may have be short on words during a recent phone interview from his acclaimed Atlanta restaurant 4th & Swift, but the chef is definitely not short on culinary creativity.
With more than 30 years of experience in the culinary world, this award-winning chef and restaurant owner admits he is always learning new things.
Swift’s long career began in his hometown of Baltimore at a young age. Two years into college, he decided to follow his passion to cook and enrolled in the American Culinary Federation Apprenticeship Program and graduated first in his class.
The internship paired him with Certified Master Chef Rudy Speckamp in a Maryland restaurant.
He then went on to work at the famed Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., and at Bob Kinkead’s 21 Federal.
From D.C. he went to Boston and worked as a line chef with Lydia Shire at Biba. Later, he returned to Baltimore to work as a sous chef at The Polo Grill under Chef Harold Marmulstein.
Next came a move to New York City to become the opening chef for Foley’s Fish on Times Square. His fast-moving career eventually brought him South and he took the reins at South City Kitchen in Atlanta in 1997. His successful overhaul of the restaurant’s contemporary Southern menu brought him attention and the restaurant was named to the list of top 20 restaurants in Atlanta by the Zagat Guide.
Swift says he opened 4th & Swift in the summer of 2008. In 2012, he was named Restaurateur of the Year at the Georgia Restaurant Association Crystal of Excellence Awards.
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