Atlanta Chefs: Feeding and Uplifting Each Other

On Oct. 24, MICHELIN Guide Atlanta debuted at a ceremony at the Rialto Center for the Arts. On such an important night for Atlanta’s culinary scene, chefs, family, friends and community gathered to celebrate those who received these prestigious honors.

As Atlanta entered a global conversation, independent chefs from across Atlanta were also commended and given a space to share their stories and dishes at the MICHELIN Guide Atlanta Launch event.

“We support the Atlanta culinary industry as a whole, not just established restaurants,” says Andrew Wilson, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Atlanta’s food story has many layers, each vital to one another. I wanted us to be able to represent and celebrate that at the event.” Chef Taria Camerino was tasked with curating a list of local independent chefs to make the vision a reality.

These chefs play a vital part in Atlanta’s food story by providing affordable flavors and stories from around the world to the working class at the back of Atlanta’s most prestigious restaurants.

Meet the independent chefs who fed the chefs at the MICHELIN Guide Atlanta Launch event. Their innovative cooking influences flavors and dishes served in Atlanta’s world-class restaurants.

Chef Alan Somphonephakdy-Powell of Salty Smiles

Chef Alan Somphonephakdy-Powell (Photo by Brittany Wages)

For more than 12 years, chef Alan Somphonephakdy-Powell has been running Salty Smiles as a pop-up. Son of refugees and a first-generation American, Samphonephakdy-Powell explores his Laotian, Thai and Vietnamese heritage, bringing tasty bites of new Asian street food to Atlanta.

Banh Cuon Kabocha (Photo by Brittany Wages)

For the MICHELIN Guide Atlanta Launch event, Chef Somphenephakdy-Powell shared his banh cuon kabocha dish. Banh cuon, which translates to “little cakes,” is a rice noodle roll from Northern Vietnam. The dish is usually stuffed with pork, but Chef Somphenephakdy-Powell’s recipe calls for kabocha squash instead, honoring the vegetables present in traditional Lao meals.

Instagram: @saltysmilesyt

Chef Allan Katzef of Baked Kitchen 

Chef Allan Katzef (Photo by Brittany Wages)

Chef Allan Katzef owns the South African eatery Baked Kitchen, located in Chattahoochee Food Works. Using South African and local farm ingredients, Chef Katzef found his inspiration by watching his mom cook big family meals in South Africa where he was born.

Sosaties (Photo by Brittany Wages)

For the MICHELIN Guide Atlanta Launch event, Chef Katzef featured Sosaties. The perfectly grilled lamb and apricot kebabs are a typical dish of Cape Malay. The name comes from “sate” and “saus,” which translates to skewered meat and spicy sauce in Afrikaans, the primary language of the Cape Malays.

Instagram: @BakedKitchen101

Chef Anthony Fisher of
Seven Fingers Baked Goods 

Chef Anthony Fisher (Photo by Brittany Wages)

Inspired by his Filipino grandmother, Chef Anthony Fisher started baking using Filipino dessert recipes and Filipino ingredients. His goal was to reflect on his experience as a Filipino-American, hoping to connect with others who had the same experience. Relying on family memories, Fisher has created a lot of his dishes, including the Ube and Okinawan sweet potato pie, which have become staple dish for him.

Ube cheesecake (Photo by Brittany Wages)

For the MICHELIN Guide Atlanta Launch event, Chef Fisher shared the Ube cheesecake recipe, a Filipino dessert also known as purple yam cheesecake.

Instagram: @sevenfingersbakedgoods

Chef Candy Hom of Soupbelly 

Chef Candy Hom (Photo by Brittany Wages)

Since 2012, Chef Candy Hom has blended Cantonese and other Chinese flavors through her pop-up Soupbelly. Mixing much of her cultural food with the American food she grew up with, Hom ends up with dishes such as a Cantonese-style fried chicken sandwich.

Pork Dumplings (Photo by Brittany Wages)

For the MICHELIN Guide Atlanta Launch event, Chef Hom shared her pork dumplings recipe, which has become a favorite among Soupbelly followers.

Instagram: @Soupbelly_atl

Chef Carla Fears of Gourmet Street Foods

Chef Carla Fears (Photo by Brittany Wages)

Chef Carla Fears has studied flavors from all over to bring tastes from the streets of the world to whatever street she is on. As a Black woman, it is important for Fears, founder of Gourmet Street Foods, to bring the Black woman essence to her cooking. She is determined to break the mold of what society might think a Black chef should be.

Tempura Sardine on Squid Ink Cheddar Grits (Photo by Brittany Wages)

For the MICHELIN Guide Atlanta Launch event, Chef Fears shared her recipe for tempura sardine on squid ink cheddar grits.

Instagram: @CarlaFears

Chef Daniella Lea Rada of Signia by Hilton Atlanta

Chef Daniella Lea Rada (Photo by Brittany Wages)

Born and raised in Venezuela, Chef Daniella Lea Rada uses her Latino dad to inspire much of her work as a chef and leader. Her experience as an executive pastry chef is global, but her desserts often give a slight nod to her Latin heritage, celebrating sweet and salty flavors.

Arepita Dulce  (Photo by Arepita Dulce)

For the MICHELIN Guide Atlanta Launch event, Chef Lea Rada developed a recipe inspired by one of Venezuela’s staple dishes, the area. Her arepita dulce is topped with llanero cheese foam and placed in a bed of sarrapia whipped ganache and tamarind gel.

Chef Lea Rada’s participation and dessert are a gift to the event as part of the partnership and support that Signia by Hilton Atlanta provided to help make the event possible.

Instagram: @Daniella.LeaRada

Chef Dave Mouche of Jackalope 

Chef Dave Mouche (Photo by Brittany Wages)

Chef Dave Mouche owns Jackelope, a pop-up serving Atlanta Southeast Asian and Southern dishes with food references from all over. Growing up in Houston, Texas, as a half-white, half-Thai food aficionado, Mouche grew up eating food from all over the world and sharing dishes with others.

Tod Man Khao Pod (Photo by Brittany Wages)

For the MICHELIN Guide Atlanta Launch event, Chef Mouche featured his tod man khao recipe, which translates to Thai corn fritters, a sweet and spicy corn cakes dish.

Instagram: @JackalopeATL

Chef Gabriel Tungol of Barangay ATL 

Chef Gabriel Tungol (By Brittany Wages)

Chef Gabriel Tungol started Barangay ATL in 2022, pursuing flavors that reflect his passion for Filipino food through his experience as a New York-born Filipino in the 1980s. With a background in clinical research and as a gym owner, today Chef Tungol pours his passion into the food he prepares and shares with Atlanta.

Twice-Cooked Adobo Wings (Photo by Brittany Wages)

For the MICHELIN Guide Atlanta Launch event, Chef Tungol shared his recipe for twice-cooked adobo wings, a staple dish for Filipino cuisine.

Instagram: @BarangayATL

Chef Hudson Rouse of Whoopsie’s 

Chef Hudson Rouse (By Brittany Wages)

Chef Hudson Rouse grew up visiting farms with his family every weekend, where they would get their weekly produce. His grandmother grew up on a farm, inspiring Rouse to develop a cooking concept where his dishes are simple and farm-forward — always using fresh and seasonal produce. Cooking was always in his environment — his dad had a culinary degree; his grandfather and uncle were chefs.

In his latest venture, Rouse opened Whoopsie’s, a low-key restaurant that has provided space for independent chefs to pop up.

Fairytale Eggplant (Photo by Brittany Wages)

For the MICHELIN Guide Atlanta Launch event, Chef Rouse shared the recipe for his fairytale eggplant dish.

Instagram: @whooopsies_place

Chef Molli Voraotsady of So So Fed 

Chef Molli Voraotsady (Photo by Brittany Wages)

Chef Molli Voraotsady is the chef and owner of So So Fed, a pop-up serving traditional Laotian dishes. So So Fed is a tribute to Chef Voraotsady’s grandmother, who raised her and introduced her to new flavors from a young age. Keeping dishes authentic, she introduces Atlanta to recipes her grandmother would approve of.

Nam Khao (Photo by Brittany Wages)

For the MICHELIN Guide Atlanta Launch event, Chef Voraotsady shared her recipe for nam khao, also known as yam name and crispy rice, a popular appetizer salad originally from Tha Deua, a small port village in Vientiane, Laos.

Instagram: @SoSoFedATL

Chef Sofia Garcia Diaz of Lupe’s Eatery 

Chef Sofia Garcia Diaz (Photo by Brittany Wages)

Chef Sofia Garcia Diaz started Lupe’s Eatery by cooking traditional Mexican dishes in 2020. Both of her grandmothers have inspired her cooking, one with deep French cuisine training, the other with a strong Mexican traditional focus in her cooking. Six years ago, Garcia Diaz moved to Atlanta from Mexico, and Southern flavors have made an impact on her.

Cochinita Pibil (Photo by Brittany Wages)

For the MICHELIN Guide Atlanta Launch event, Garcia Diaz shared one of her most popular dishes, cochinita pibil, a Mayan slow-roasted pork dish from Yucatan.

Instagram: @Lupes.Eatery

Chef Steven Lingenfelter of Illegal Food

Chef Steven Lingenfelter (Photo courtesy of Laurie Dominguez)

A native of Louisville, Chef Steven Lingenfelter started cooking at the age of 9. In August 2023, the food industry in Atlanta lost one of its own with the sudden passing of Lingenfelter. He was to be present at the Michelin ceremony, showcasing the flavors he offered to Atlanta through his pop-up Illegal Food. His pop-up is a culinary adventure that started in 2009 as a creative outlet to make his favorite dishes and to help him avoid industry burnout.

Roasted Quail and Chili Sauce (Photo by Brittany Wages)

Chef Hudson Rouse of Whoopsie’s, a good friend of Lingenfelter’s, helped cook his roasted quail recipe in his honor. Through his wife and business partner, Laurie Dominguez, we honor Chef Lingenfelter’s legacy and impact on the Atlanta food industry.

Chef Lingenfelter and his wife, Laurie Domingue. (Photo courtesy of Illegal Food)

What are the flavors of Illegal Food?

Illegal Food cooks with nothing but passion. Chef Lingenfelter embodied the cultural diversity that makes up Atlanta’s culinary scene — a good ol’ boy from the South cooking Southern cuisine from a country on the other side of the world.

How do heritage and upbringings shape the cooking of Illegal Food? 

Chef Lingenfelter and his wife, Laurie, traveled a lot together exploring flavors around the globe. They spent some time in Vietnam, shaping his cuisine into something that, though foreign, everyone could relate to. 

How did Atlanta influence the cooking of Illegal Food?

Despite its challenges, the hustle of Atlanta culture encouraged Lingenfelter. He had a knack for knowing how to show up to anything he did, much like Atlanta.

How did Illegal Food influence Atlanta?

“He was a vivacious chef who inspired many of our independent chefs,” says Chef Taria Camerino. “His mother always wanted him to pursue something other than the independent chef life. Even telling him he should sell fireworks over the hustle of being an independent chef. He was open and giving of his knowledge and time.”

Explore more of Atlanta’s food story.

Born and raised in Mexico, Daniela is a bilingual journalist living in Atlanta. She is passionate about telling stories that highlight the diversity and the blooming gastronomic scene in Atlanta.

Aubree is a content creator with a passion for all things food and travel. You can find her around Atlanta tasting some of the most iconic bites or burning it all off on the dance floor.

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