“Best Chefs America” Tap Local Rabun County Talent

“Best Chefs America” Tap Local Rabun County Talent: Local Chefs David Darugh and Gayle Darugh of Beechwood Inn, Jenny Wilson of Fromage and Jamie Allred of Lake Rabun Hotel learned they were nominated by other chefs to be featured in a new book, Best Chefs in America.

“Best Chefs America” Tap Local Rabun County Talent

Best Chefs America Tap Local Rabun County, Georgia, Talent

Fresh and Local just got a face. Or should we say “faces.” Local Chefs David Darugh and Gayle Darugh of Beechwood Inn, Jenny Wilson of Fromage and Jamie Allred of Lake Rabun Hotel learned they were nominated by other chefs to be featured in a new book, Best Chefs in America, set to debut in March, 2013. Inclusion in the catalog reference of over 5,000 top American chefs was achieved by thousands of anonymous peer reviews. Both chefs are dedicated to supporting local, sustainable farming and feature menus based on seasonal availability.

Chef Darugh has been the chef at Beechwood Inn Bed and Breakfast in Clayton, GA for over 13 years and augments locally grown products with hisown garden offerings. “There is nothing like biting into lettuce or tomatoes that have been picked the same day they are served,” observed Chef Darugh. “Some of our guests have been astounded to discover that they enjoy products they usually avoid. The difference in appearance, taste, and smell of fresh picked over transported, cold storage, days-older products has changed the opinions of our diners on many occasions.” Chef Darugh also features local foods of the field and forest for the inn’s spring and fall Wild Foods Weekends. “The rich bounty of Rabun County provides a challenge to the imagination and a wide spectrum of flavors – what’s not to be excited about?”

Chef Gayle Darugh, Pastry Chef, considers their double selection as “Best Chefs America” to be not only an accolade for our-selves and Beechwood Inn but it is also a significant recognition for culinary tourism in our region as a whole.  “I believe the mark of a great restaurant is not only to have great food, fine wine, and impeccable service, but also to promote local products as much as possible. Therefore, we feature many locally grown, organic and sustainable items in our meals, we serve our local wines and we use and exhibit regional art and furniture in the inn. Considering the abundance of knowledge and enthusiasm, it is encouraging and reassuring to see that many of us here in the Northeast Georgia culinary community are being recognized for our passion and commitment.”

Chef Jenny Wilson is a 1996 graduate of Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts and later worked at a series of restaurants. She opened her own restaurant, Fromage, in Clayton, Georgia about 5 years ago, and it has quickly become an extended family operation. Chef Wilson’s mother has planted herbs and flowers around the restaurant. Her husband annually digs up a part of the lot next door to plant flowers, vegetables and herbs. In addition to fresh items from her own garden, locals will often see Chef Wilson browsing our farmers’ markets picking out the freshest of local products. The menus at Fromage are based on seasonal shifts in our regional gardens and they change as often as the weather.

Jamie Allred is Executive Chef at Lake Rabun Hotel in Lakemont, GA. In addition to gardening, he raises rabbits and fresh eggs for his menus. Chef Allred has been drawing crowds to the hotel dining room since 2010 and implemented “Featured Farmer Thursdays” so diners could meet the farmers growing the foods on the menu. What ever is fresh and ripe in the county is bound to show up in his creative menus. Building relationships with local growers means Jamie may be seen cooking at the local Simply Home Grown Farmers Market on certain Saturdays. “It’s great to actually take food from the farmers’, cook it up right there and serve it to shoppers” he says.

“This book is for anyone who wants to find out who the best chefs are and where to find the best food. Those two go hand in hand,” Joseph says. “We recognized the need for a peer review guide to chefs, which exists in other professions. So that is what we set out to do,” adds Joseph.

These chefs celebrate the healthy, nutritious offerings of their rural farm communities and both are honored to be recognized by fellow chefs for this honor. They join a special group of professionals making up less that 1% of chefs in America.