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.
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.