Perhaps you recognize Hugh Acheson as a judge on Top Chef or as a contestant on Top Chef Masters. Or maybe you’ve dined at one of his restaurants in Georgia. Either way, if you aren’t familiar with his food philosophy—”local first, sustainable second, organic third”—you’re missing out.

I revere his book A New Turn in the South (so much so that I quoted it in this month’s cover story), and I’ve made several of his recipes, including the spectacular roasted carrot and beet salad with feta, pulled parsley, and cumin vinaigrette, multiple times. In short, I consider Acheson a culinary hero, and I had a chance to meet him at this summer’s Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Lucky for all of us on the Front Range, Acheson is coming to the Parker Arts Culture and Events Center on September 29. The visit is presented by the Douglas County LibrariesProject LIVE! Author Series (last year they brought renowned chef Rick Bayless to town).

There are two parts to the appearance: A 10 a.m. Top Chef-style competition where Acheson will judge dishes created by chefs from Indulge Wine Bar, Uniscali Modern Italian, and Old Blinking Light. The audience will also weigh in and enjoy a light breakfast/lunch. Later that evening, from 6 to 9 p.m., Acheson will give a talk while guests nosh on appetizers (don’t miss the pickled shrimp) and desserts (apple brown betty!) from his cookbook. Book sales and signings will be available at both events.

For tickets and more information, click here.

Bonus: I learned this morning that Acheson is on tap to judge Season 10 of Top Chef, which will feature three Colorado chef-testants: Jorel Pierce of Euclid Hall, Tyler Wiard of Elway’s, and Eliza Gavin of 221 South Oak.

—Photo courtesy of

Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.