Q&A with Hugh Acheson, Chef/Partner of five & ten

The award-winning chef tells Wine Enthusiast about life in the kitchen of his Athens, Alabama restaurant.


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Old World meets New South at this vaunted restaurant in Athens, Georgia, offering two different three-course prix-fixe menus with optional wine pairings every night from a list that demonstrates a particular interest in Piedmont, Burgundy and German Riesling. Wine Enthusiast tapped Hugh Acheson, chef/partner of five & ten, to get the inside scoop on his cooking tricks and his inspirations.

Wine Enthusiast: We loved the crisp pork belly with butternut squash dish. What was the inspiration behind this dish, and what wine makes for the perfect match?
Hugh Acheson:
This [dish] was late fall/winter thinking. It could pair well with a red, but I always think a white pairs better with those earthy, charcuterie-type flavors.

W.E.: What kitchen tools do you think are essential for every home cook to own?
HA:
A good cast-iron skillet, wooden spoons, a blender, but nothing fancy, strainers and a sharp paring knife.

W.E.: Which season’s bounty do you prefer cooking with the most?
HA:
Spring! I am like everybody else, and get really excited about favas, ramps and soft-shell crabs.

W.E.: After working a hectic Saturday night in the kitchen, what’s your favorite post-shift snack and drink?
HA:
A simple ham sandwich with a glass of red Burgundy.

W.E.: What’s your methodology for crafting a new dish for your tasting menu?
HA:
We look at inspiration around us, and then the bounty of the farms around us, and then create. It’s not rocket science.

Read more about five & ten.

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