Taste 50 2023

Taste 50 2023
 We’re proud to share the inspiring people, pantry-staple goods, must-try restaurants and more, that make up the 2023 Taste 50, everything that’s making the South a delicious place to be.


Get to know some of our favorite chefs, farmers, and bloggers.


Greg CollierCharlotte, North Carolina


After receiving his chef credentials, Chef Greg Collier, along with his business partner and wife Subrina Collier, began to expand on his culinary vision culminating in brick-and-mortar restaurants, where the focus is on locally sourced foods. Working with urban and rural farmers, restaurants like his most recent concept, Leah & Louise, use quality products that honor their heritage and the Mississippi river valley foodways. Nominated for a James Beard award, Chef Collier has interpreted classic Southern dishes and techniques in a way that celebrates and expands upon tradition.


Mallory DiesSpotsylvania Courthouse, Virginia


When Mallory Dies started The Crassy Cookie, she couldn’t have known how big it would grow. What started as a home bakery and creative outlet became a popular blog with people from all over enamored with her most popular item: The Cookie Sandwich. The Cookie Sandwich, with a variety of flavors, is a part of Mallory’s goal of sharing timeless recipes that honor tradition and exceptional flavors. Mallory’s impact is undeniable as she shares her joy of baking to her followers and provides an uplifting space with a focus on deliciousness and positivity.


Danielle RyeFayetteville, Arkansas


 Thanks to Danielle Rye’s hard work creating and testing recipes for her blog Live Well Bake Often, even novice bakers can feel confident in the kitchen. Her goal is to make the instructions and how-to tips for all her cookies, cakes, breads, pies, cobblers, candies, and more as clear and simple as can be, and you’ll be so glad they are—so you can dig into these goodies as soon as possible. Whether you browse the recipes she shares on social media, bake your way through her blog, or even order her cookbook, Live Well Bake Cookies, you’re in for some serious sweetness.


YeyoBentonville, Arkansas


James Beard-nominated Chef Rafael Rios grew up in kitchens, learning to cook from his mother and grandmother and taking every opportunity to refine his skills so he could create delicious menus to share with others that highlight quality ingredients in meaningful dishes. Approachable Mexican food staples, made from the expertly grown products from the Rios Family Farm, are near and dear to the heart of Rafael, and every plate showcases the values he has learned from his family and as a chef. Sustainability and support for local farming initiatives are values he nurtures as he spreads love of Mexican cuisine to northwest Arkansas as part of the Yeyo’s Hospitality Group.


MbayeNew Orleans, Louisiana


Serigne Mbaye is taking the New Orleans culinary scene by storm with his new restaurant, Dakar NOLA. The restaurant pays homage to his Senegalese roots while providing a modern twist. His cherished memories of his childhood in Senegal combine with seafood from local waters and fresh produce farmed in south Louisiana to create a menu that expresses his culinary voice and highlights the history and connection of the two cultures. The rich traditions he has built his culinary foundation on have already brought Chef Mbaye recognition and acclaim, including becoming a James Beard nominee.


PihakisBirmingham, Alabama


Nick Pihakis is the founder and CEO of Pihakis Restaurant Group, which includes Rodney Scott’s BBQ, Little Donkey, Tasty Town Greek Restaurant and Lounge, Hero Doughnuts & Buns, and Hot Dog Pete’s. Thirty years ago, he and his father, Jim, started Jim N Nick’s Bar-B-Q in Birmingham, Alabama, and it became a Southern favorite, growing to more than forty restaurants in seven states. Now with the Pihakis Restaurant Group, Nick is still creating spaces for communities to come together over good food. With locations spreading from Birmingham to Atlanta, Charleston, and Nashville, the Pihakis restaurants are worth a visit.


Nicole StoverOrlando, Florida


It will come as no surprise that Nicole Stover is a proud Floridian as your scroll through her Instagram feed or blog, Beach Girl Grills. Her vibrant recipes, such as Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp Scampi or Cajun Lobster with Andouille Crust, are often filled with fresh seafood, inspired by traditional Florida dishes and cooked on the grill, and we think it’s the perfect summertime fare. So, reach for your cast-iron cookware, fire up the grill or oven, and get ready to enjoy a taste of the Sunshine State from the comfort of your kitchen no matter where you live.


Tyler FrobergAlvin, Texas


As a fourth-generation farmer of Froberg’s Farm, Tyler Froberg grew up learning about and understanding the importance of agricultural education and advancement. After serving in the military, Tyler got his degree in Agriculture from Texas Tech University and began to grow his presence online where he has amassed quite the following. Sharing snippets of daily life from his family’s community farm in Texas, where everything grown is direct to consumer with a grocery store located on site, Tyler continues to spread awareness about and invoke interest in the agricultural industry.


Angelique Taylor and David "Kip" RitcheyTallahassee, Florida


The cofounders of Smarter by Nature, Angelique Taylor and David “Kip” Ritchey took an eagerness to address food insecurity in their community and put it into action by starting their business in 2017 as regenerative growers in urban spaces. From there, they’ve grown not only fresh food but a local and online following, teaching how important sustainable and regenerative practices are in agriculture. Through bringing their fresh produce to farmers’ markets, hosting volunteer events to provide hands-on practice in sustainable gardening, and sharing educational content via social media and newsletters, they’re proud of the progress they’ve made in helping people make healthy food choices.


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