Chef Bill Smith is as well known for his sumptuous take on Southern comfort food as he is for his exceptional food writing—including the New York Times Notable and Food & Wine Best-of-the-Best cookbook Seasoned in the South and the bestselling Savor the South title, Crabs & Oysters. Bill Smith is the only James Beard Foundation “America’s Classic Restaurant” chef to have also been named a final-five finalist for Best Chef in the Southeast—and twice. He stands out for creating dishes that often become iconic, first served at the Chapel Hill, NC, restaurant Crook’s Corner.
Among the classics: Green Peach Salad (featured in the New York Times), Tomato & Watermelon Salad (featured on the cover of Southern Living), Cheesepork (the southern schnitzel) and of course his many desserts, including Honeysuckle Sorbet and Atlantic Beach Pie (dubbed by NPR the “Oh, My God Pie”). Also Jerusalem Artichoke Relish, Bourbon Brown Sauce and possibly the tastiest Soft Shell Crabs, Corned Hams, Fried Oyster and Banana Pudding renditions—anywhere.
Recognized by Chefs Collaborative as a finalist for an award given to chefs who are leaders in incorporating local foods into their menus, Bill Smith has long worked with farmers and also homestead gardeners and foraged himself for ingredients that gather season by season on the Crook’s Corner menu. A foremost chef-expert in Southern foodways, he has served now for years on the board for the Southern Foodways Alliance.