Why he killed it in 2015: Jen and Ryan Hidinger had planned to open Staplehouse, the culmination of a successful supper club, when Ryan was diagnosed with cancer. The Atlanta restaurant community banded together to help care for the couple, and they in turn founded The Giving Kitchen, a nonprofit that helps members of the local restaurant community in moments of crisis. Ryan passed away, but Jen and her brother-in-law, Ryan Smith, went on to open Staplehouse, whose proceeds go to The Giving Kitchen.
How would you describe your food? "Locally sourced and vegetable driven. We try to challenge ourselves by trying new things and always learning."
What's your signature dish? "My grandmother's potato bread."
Favorite meal of 2015? "I haven't eaten out too much this year due to having a baby, buying a house and opening a restaurant, but I did eat at Buxton Hall in Asheville, and it was super badass. Elliott Moss has spent a long time working on this concept, and it's so great to see it come to fruition. His food is fantastic, and he makes the experience very personal."
What's the most underrated ingredient, and how do you use it? "Pine. I've been experimenting a lot with it. There are so many edible parts of the tree, and I think it's completely underutilized. Most recently, I've been making ice cream with it."Next Chef