Chef Hugh Acheson
Hugh Acheson is the chef/partner of Five & Ten and The National located in Athens, GA and Empire State South in Atlanta, GA. Born and raised in Ottawa, Canada he started cooking at a young age and decided to make it his career after taking a very long time to realize that academics weren’t his thing. At age 15, he began working in restaurants after school and learning as much as possible. Today, Acheson's experience includes working under Chef Rob MacDonald where he learned stylized French cuisine, wine and etiquette at the renowned Henri Burger restaurant in Ottawa, and in San Francisco as the chef de cuisine with Chef Mike Fennelly at Mecca, and later as opening sous chef with famed Chef Gary Danko at his namesake restaurant, where he found a love of the simple, pure and disciplined.
Taking these experiences, Hugh developed a style of his own forging together the beauty of the South with the flavors of Europe and opening the critically acclaimed Athens, GA restaurant Five & Ten in March of 2000.
In 2007, Acheson opened The National with fellow chef Peter Dale. Adding to his list of dining establishments, Hugh opened Atlanta based restaurant, Empire State South in the summer of 2010.
Hugh's cookbook titled A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen published by Clarkson Potter, hit the bookshelves on October 18th, 2011 and won the award for Best Cookbook in the field of “American Cooking” by the James Beard Foundation. In A New Turn in the South, you’ll find libations, seasonal vegetables that take a prominent role, salads and soups, Hugh's prized sides, and fish and meats, turning Southern food on its head every step of the way. With inviting and surprising photography, full of Hugh’s personality, and pages layered with his own quirky writing and sketches, he invites you into his community and his very creative world of food— to add new favorites to your repertoire.
Acheson's fresh approach to Southern food has earned him a great deal of recognition including Food & Wine’s Best New Chef (2002), the Atlanta Journal Constitution Restaurant of the Year (2007), a five time (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011) James Beard nominee and 2012 winner for Best Chef Southeast. In 2007, Hugh was named a Rising Star from StarChefs.com and in 2012 he won the StarChefs Mentor Award. Chef Mario Batali chose Hugh as one of the 100 contemporary chefs in Phaidon Press' Coco: 10 World Leading Masters Choose 100 Contemporary Chefs. Hugh has also been in Bon Appetit, the New York Times, Garden & Gun, Fine Living, Food & Wine, Gourmet, Southern Living, and Saveur.
In 2010 Hugh competed on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters: Season 3 and in 2011 he returned to the hit show as a judge on Top Chef: Season 9.
But that is to everyone outside of Athens. To Athens, he is the guy who owns those restaurants, has one eyebrow, a wife far better looking than he is and two young children who are the apple of his eye.
Roasted shitake mushrooms and creamy California Avocados elevate simple boneless chicken breasts into an elegant entree. Chef Hugh Acheson’s recipe makes it easy to prepare for entertaining or everyday meals. To top it off, the produce ingredients pack a nutrient punch. Avocados act as a “nutrient booster” by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha- and beta-carotene as well as lutein, in foods that are eaten with the fruit. Lutein is a natural antioxidant that may help maintain healthy eyesight as we get older – all the better to appreciate the beauty of produce-rich dishes such as this Chicken Paillard with Avocado, Roasted Shiitake Mushroom and Mustard Vinaigrette! Get Recipe
2011 Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Fresh Summit "Sensory Experience" Contest Winner
Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Bok Choy, Pickled Tomatoes and Avocado is a perfect marriage of produce and protein with a Southern flair. Pork tenderloin is a wonderfully easy protein to cook, and it provides a lean yet tasty base for a flavorful mélange of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs. A bed of sautéed bok choy under the oven-roasted tenderloin adds greenery and texture. The star of the dish is a zesty combination of freshly pickled cherry tomatoes, jalapeños and shallots with deliciously creamy California Avocados. The resulting dish is a feast for the senses, offering textural contrasts, taste sensations that balance sweetness, acidity and umami richness, delightful aroma, and very colorful presentation. Get Recipe
“I love guacamole and this version keeps it pretty simple with the great Southern addition of toasted pecans. The flavors all work really well together and when you hit that toasty goodness in the pecans it just plays up the rich, fresh flavors of the great California Avocados. Poblano peppers offer just enough heat to give us a zesty flavor yet still appeal to those shy of spiciness in food.” - Chef Hugh Acheson Get Recipe