CHEF BILL SMITH is as well known for his exceptional food writing—including the New York Times Notable and Food & Wine Best-of-the-Best cookbook, Seasoned in the South—as he is for being a Best Chef in the Southeast, voted into the final five for both a Southeastern Best Chef by the James Beard Foundation and by Chefs Collaborative.

Continually interpreting found heirloom recipes, Bill Smith also stands out for creating original dishes that become iconic dishes, served at the Chapel Hill, NC, restaurant Crook's Corner, awarded an America's Classics by the James Beard Foundation

And Chef Smith stands out as being the only chef in the US, from an "America's Classics" restaurant, to have been voted into the final five for James Beard’s Regional Best Chef award – making this final five list, encompassing the entire Southeast, twice.

Restaurants that “represent the heritage, heart and community of our nation's Cuisine” are considered for the America's Classics award, won by Crook’s Corner. And Chefs Collaborative is an award given to chefs who are leaders in incorporating local foods into their menus. Chef Bill Smith has long worked with local farmers and also homestead gardeners and foraged himself for ingredients that gather each season in the Crook’s Corner menu. 

A foremost chef-expert in Southern foodways, he has served now for years on the board for the Southern Foodways Alliance.  

Among his many recipes that have become classics are his wholly original dishes: Green Peach SaladTomato & Watermelon Salad (now in restaurants everywhere), Cheesepork!! (a southern schnitzel), Southern Risottos and of course his many desserts, including his most famous, Honeysuckle Sorbet. Among his signature, interpreted, found recipes are the Atlantic Beach PieSoft Shell CrabsJerusalem Artichoke RelishBourbon Brown Sauce and possibly the tastiest Eastern NC Corned HamsBanana Pudding, and Fried Oyster renditions—anywhere. 

New recipes taking hold now Spring 2014: All kinds of Tamales, an amazing Wedge Salad (with beets, shrimp and a 1,000 Island Dressing), Orange Red-Hot Sorbet. 
A writer as well as an intuitive chef, his essays and commentary have been featured in such places as National Pubic Radio (often) and the New York Times. Inherent to his style—and on the Crook's menu—there is genius in his sense of economy, flavors and storytelling, for even the simplest of dishes, like "Fish in Paper, or "Lemon-Lime Pie with a Saltine Cracker Crust,"  onto the more complicated, "How to use a Whole Duck."

His commentary on Mexican immigrants has been featured on CNN’s Eatocracy and in Southern Cultures and in the Brett Anderson-edited edition of the SFA’s Cornbread Nation
Many American cookbook author has included a Bill Smith recipe, or two. Find them in Jean Anderson's Love Affair with Southern CookingMolly O'Neill's One Big TableThe Southern Foodways Alliance's Community CookbookNancie McDermott's Southern Pies,  John Shelton and Dale Reed’s Holy Smoke,  many of the recently released Savor the South cookbooks, and Staff Meal's from America's Top Restaurants

NEWS FOR 2014 -SPRING 2015:

  • A Chef’s Life (PBS) just taped a show with Chef Bill Smith totally on Eastern NC Corned Hams (the entire process) for November-December “Holiday.” 
  • Genius Recipe, a book forthcoming from Food 52, features Chef Bill Smith’s Green Peach Salad, Spring 2015.
  • Crabs & Oysters, by Bill Smith, is forthcoming from UNC Press, Early Spring 2015. 


SFA: Spoken Dish on Hard Crab Stew; “Oh My God” Pie, on NPR; Fried Oysters on NPR’s Splendid Table; Outside Magazine; Local Palate on Eastern NC; Southern Living, 100 Places to Eat Now and Cantelope Soup w/ April McGregor’s Sweet Potato Hot Sauce; NC Our State magazine features, and more.


Tour cities for Winter-Spring 2015 are being booked now.  Please contact:  Katharine Walton 919-357-4400 or write info@KatharineWaltonRepresents.com to schedule an event or interview.