Recipient of the 2009 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef, John Currence was also honored as Restaurateur of the Year and Chef of the Year by the Mississippi Restaurant Association in 1998. In 2006, he received the Southern Foodways Alliance Guardian of Tradition Award, won the 2008 Great American Seafood Cook-off in New Orleans, and the 2009 Charleston Food and Wine Festival's Iron Chef Challenge. Currence's humble beginnings began in his home in New Orleans Louisiana where his family loved to cook and spend time in the kitchen. While studying at the University of North Carolina, Currence got his first job working at Crook's Corner, where he worked his way up from washing dishes to becoming a cook. After three years at Crook's, Currence returned to New Orleans to open Gautreau's as sous chef. After several years, he started working for the Brennan family of restaurants to help open Bacco before settling in Oxford, Mississippi, and opening City Grocery in 1992. Since then, the City Grocery Restaurant Group has had a number of openings, including Nacho Mama's, Kalo's, Ajax Diner, City Grocery Catering Company, Boure, Big Bad Breakfast, Snackbar, and Lamar Lounge. In addition to the City Grocery Restaurant Group's success, he has served as chairman and president of the Mississippi Restaurant Association and president of the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council. He is also a contributing editor for Garden & Gun Magazine and is an active volunteer with St. Jude's Children's Hospital. Other projects include the Adventures of The Big Bad Chef video series. He was also a contestant on the second season of Top Chef Masters. He is an avid hunter and fisherman and lives in Oxford, Mississippi, with his wife and daugher.
"...should be on the reading list of anyone interested not only in
Southern cooking, but in taking the pulse of American gastronomy
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"this is a cook book with loads of personality and va-va voom." (Rachel Gladstone, Dish Magazine)