Five Star Food Fight Featured Chef: Cliff Phillips

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There’s a certain quintet of culinary genius who will be front and center at ℹ️ Chattanooga Market’s annual Five Star Food Fight , the culminating event of Restaurant Week. Visit their restaurants during Restaurant Week, then come to Chattanooga Market to see them in action. Please come back daily to see all of our featured chefs who will be competing.

“The food scene is an ever-changing universe,” says Cliff Phillips, chef de cuisine at ℹ️ FEED. So, he adds, food trends come and go faster than ever before, thanks to the influence of social media. But the climate of experimentation at FEED gives him free hand to prepare a variety of dishes, using the trends and mixing them with his own creative touch. “We’re encouraged to experiment,” he says.

The job of chef de cuisine is an all-encompassing one that keeps Phillips busy with every aspect of preparation and fabrication, so it’s not every day that he gets to pursue his passion for charcuterie. “Smoked meats are my specialty,” he says, adding that his most recent focus has been contracting with Mountain Breeze Farm in Alabama, becoming the sole provider of its 100-percent Wagyu beef, grass-fed from start to finish. Phillips calls this an exciting opportunity for the Main Street restaurant and one he predicts customers will appreciate.

“The Main Street crowd has an unusual vibe, a very eclectic vibe—one that is part of a burgeoning food scene with nowhere to go but up. In fact, we’re looking at a number of opportunities ourselves, including an in-house catering venue to increase our capability to serve parties up to 150 people. But too many times, chefs cook to impress other chefs.“

The focus at FEED, however, is on the customer.“It’s simple—if you want to feed 800 people a day, give the people what they want: comfort food,“ he says.

A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Phillips has been at FEED since its opening in August 2015. “I feel that my education is an ongoing process. I’m a student of the industry,“ he says.

For more information visit feedandtavern.com.

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Anne Braly is a frequent contributor to Chattanooga Magazine.

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