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Fans of Farmview Market and their philosophy about supporting local farmers and producers may also be familiar with Georgia Grown, committed to growth and support for local producers, suppliers and retailers. Each year, Georgia Grown selects an all-star board of executive chefs, comprised of the finest culinary professionals from the state of Georgia, including, this year, Chef Evan Cordes. We had a chance to sit down and chat with him recently, as he was gearing up for the team’s visit to New York to cook a Southern Feast at the James Beard House.
Having recently shuttered his O4W restaurant, Cast Iron, Cordes (formerly of Cakes & Ale and Serpas), seems upbeat and excited for what’s to come (which rumor has it, will be led by some of Atlanta’s top restauranteurs, seafood-based and coming soon to Krog Street Market. Shhh.) In our chat, he talks about how leaving the restaurant world for a bit to become a personal chef exposed him to new foods and made him a better cook, about how watching shrimp and other wildlife in the marshes of North Carolina impacted him at an early age, and where to get the best wings in Atlanta.
We address the essential questions below:
What did you eat for dinner last night?
For dinner last night, I had grilled chicken and smoked brisket that I cooked on our big green egg that was left over from a guest reception for the Atlanta Synthesizer Club. There was some corn and slaw in there, too.
Who is the person you would most like to cook for?
The person I like to cook for the most is my mom. She cooked a lot of meals for me, so it’s the least I could do. Second choice would be a circa-1994 Bill Clinton, to whom I would refer to as Slick Willy throughout the meal.
What are your favorite hangouts in the area?
Steinbeck’s in Oakhurst is my staple; the finest wings in the Atlanta area. If you like hot wings, you want to go for version 2.0.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I knew I wanted to be a chef from a very early age, maybe seven or eight years old, but before that my goal was to become a zookeeper or hopefully a panda bear.
I went to one of the best culinary schools in the country and it was very expensive. It has opened a lot of doors for me, but I can’t say for sure I would choose that path again.
What are 5 kitchen ingredients/tools you can’t live without?
Thyme, my Middleton knives, salt, olive oil, lemons
What would your last supper meal be?
My last supper meal: 5 dozen oysters, 2 bottles of Movia Puro, and a dozen Krispy Kremes, maybe 2 dozen. I like food that comes in dozens.
My favorite movie is Danny Deckchair, but only because it is the greatest movie of all time.
Chocolate or Vanilla?
I don’t like chocolate or vanilla, I prefer Swedish Fish and beef jerky. If you’re being a stickler though, I’ll take coffee.
You recently shut down your restaurant, Cast Iron.
There were a lot of factors at play, but one thing is true, it’s hard to give everyone what they want. Anyone who tells you that running a restaurant is easy, it is not.
You were selected as one of Georgia Grown’s Executive Chef’s for 2018.
Yes, it’s an amazing honor. I love what they’re doing; promoting and supporting the local food system. There are a lot of amazing foods and flavors coming out of the Southeast.
With dinner to cook at the James Beard House and a rapidly approaching grand opening, the immediate future is looking so bright for Cordes, we have to wear shades. Zagat named him one of ‘9 Under-the-Radar Chefs to Know in Atlanta,’ and we couldn’t agree more. Get to know him. Like maybe at Watchman at Krog Street Market, but you didn’t hear that from us.
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