Local Top Chef Contender Hugh Acheson is a Champ of Wholesome Wave Program
Hugh Acheson, Athens' most well-known chef, is throwing his culinary weight behind the Good
Food Block Party during Twilight weekend. On Saturday, April 30, foodies and non-foodies can
stop by the farm255 courtyard to feast on featured items from a number of top restaurants.
The first-ever Good Food Block Party will be offering great food, wine, and popsicles from
local businesses including farm255, The National, 5&10, Gosford Wine, Last Resort Grill, and
King of Pops. Proceeds will benefit the Wholesome Wave program, which gives lower-income
families increase buying power when purchasing fresh produce from the Athens Farmers Market.
The Athens community can stop by and join the party at no cost any time between 1 p.m. and 4
p.m. Featured tastings from participating restaurants will also be available at varying prices. The
farm255 courtyard is located at 255 W. Washington St.
All proceeds from this event will benefit Wholesome Wave Georgia and the Athens Farmers
Market SNAP Doubling Program. Wholesome Wave and the Athens Farmers Market aim to
positively impact the health and wellness of historically underserved communities through the
SNAP doubling program. The Athens Farmers Market accepts SNAP dollars, the equivalent to
food stamps, and is able to double their value through funding from Wholesome Wave.
Top Chef Masters’ contestant and chef/partner of Athens and Atlanta restaurants, Hugh Acheson,
is a major sponsor of this event and its cause. He answered questions about his involvement with
the Good Food Block Party and Wholesome Wave and also gave insight into what his “go-to”
foods are, his vegetable of the moment, the most economical vegetable, and a recipe made only
from ingredients that you can purchase at the farmers market.
11 Questions with Hugh Acheson
Q: How did you get involved in the Good Food Block Party event?
A: Olivia Sargeant, managing partner for farm255, came up with the idea for this event and e-
mailed me to see if I would be interested. I’ve been working with Wholesome Wave for a little
while now on Top Chef Masters and I think that they are a great organization that has grown
really rapidly. In order to keep things going, a lot of events like this need to be done.
Q: What dishes do you plan to serve at the Good Food Block Party?
A: There will be a pretty big tasting of mostly local cheeses, wine, and bread with some
condiments that we have made like green tomato chow chow.
Q: What drew you to Wholesome Wave?
A: I wanted to join with people who are like-minded and push forward a really positive agenda
that could improve the way people are eating.
Q: Why did you choose Wholesome Wave above all other organizations?
A: There are many great organizations out there that we do support. The main draw is that
Wholesome Wave can impact nationwide and also locally in Athens.
Q: Seasonally, what is your fruit or vegetable of the moment? What should people be
A: Geez, there is lots of stuff at the advent of spring. Right now, I am really into the wild stuff
like local chanterelles.
Q: What’s the most economical vegetable?
A: Beets seem to look expensive but they go a long way because when you use the actual
vegetable, cook the greens, and pickle the beet stems you are going to get quite an amazing yield.
Q: What is your number one snack food?
A: Carrots and lettuce, I kind of eat like a rabbit.
Q: Could you give me a simple recipe of only things that you can buy at the farmers
A: Let’s take turnips, dandelion greens and radishes. You can quickly sauté dandelion greens
in olive oil over really high heat and wilt those down, add cooked turnips that are thinly sliced
as garnish around the plate, and then shaved radishes. Then, juice an orange to make a simple
citrus vinaigrette with fresh tarragon or fresh thyme and a little bit of roasted garlic and chopped
parsley. Vinaigrettes are always three parts oil to one part acid so make sure to balance it out in
Q: If you could pick and use only one spice what would it be?
A: You can’t really get by a day without really good black pepper.
Q: Do you have any “go-to” foods when you cook?
A: Yeah, bacon, we like bacon. And then you know in this season or beginning into this summer
we will always have great tomatoes, fresh basil and corn.
Q: Alright I had to ask—what is your favorite thing about being on Top Chef Masters?
A: Best thing is the camaraderie. The only downside is that it is mildly exhausting.
Hannah Berle - AFM Public Relations