Hugh Acheson is the chef and partner of Five & Ten, The National, Cinco y Diez in Athens, Ga., Empire State South in Atlanta, and The Florence in Savannah, Ga. Focusing on regional and seasonal ingredients, he abides by the mantra 'local first, sustainable second, organic third' with great avail and success.
Born and raised in Ottawa, Canada, at 15-years-old, Hugh began working in restaurants after school and learning as much as possible. Today, Acheson's experience includes working under chef Rob MacDonald where he learned stylised French cuisine, wine and etiquette at the renowned Henri Burger restaurant, Ottawa, and in San Francisco as the chef de cuisine with chef Mike Fennelly at Mecca. Later he worked with chef Gary Danko at his namesake restaurant.
Acheson opened Five & Ten in Athens in 2000. Adding to his list of dining establishments, Hugh opened The National with fellow chef Peter Dale in 2007 and Atlanta based restaurant, Empire State South in the summer of 2010. Cinco y Diez opened in early 2014 and, most recently, The Florence has been launched, combining Italian technique and style with southern ingredients and heritage. Acheson's fresh approach to Southern food has earned him recognition including Food & Wine’s Best New Chef (2002), the Atlanta Journal Constitution Restaurant of the Year (2007) and 2012 winner for Best Chef Southeast.
Describe your culinary philosophy in 5 words...
Cook smart, seasonal, & meaningful food.
What is your greatest inspiration?
Watching farmers bring in their beautiful produce into the restaurants.
If you could take a plan ride to any restaurant in the world, just for one meal, where would you go?
L'Arpege, in Paris. Alain Passard is a supreme badass.
What three things would you take to a desert island?
Bourbon, carrots and red wine vinegar.
- James Beard Foundation cookbook winner
- Best Chef Southeast in 2012, James Beard Foundation
- Five time James Beard Foundation nominee (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
Five & Ten
1073 S Milledge Avenue, Athens, GA 30605
+1 706 546 7300
The National Restaurant
32 W Hancock Ave, Athens, GA 30601
+1 706 549 3450
Empire State South
999 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA
+1 404 541 1105
Cinco y Diez
1653 S. Lumpkin St. Athens, GA
+1 706 850 2020
1 W Victory Dr, Savannah, GA 31405
+1 (912) 234-5522
Images © Sarah Dorio