Spring is a small restaurant hidden near the train tracks that run through the Marietta Square. As small and quaint as the restaurant is, Chef Brian So’s culinary expertise is undeniable as you peruse his small, seasonal menu of expertly crafted dishes. Named #7 on Bon Appétit Magazine’s list of Best New Restaurants in America in 2017 and #4 on Atlanta Magazine’s list of Best Restaurants in Atlanta, Spring is now considered an Atlanta staple. Chef So himself has been named a James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef of the Year Semifinalist two years in a row.
Here at G&G, we are honored for Chef Brian to be part of our Be the Chef series as we offer one of his fantastic recipes as a gourmet dinner kit that you can make at home. Spring’s Pan-Seared Trout with with grits, sweet corn, chard & andouille dinner kit is available on our menu through Monday, Oct 15th. Read on to peek into the culinary mind of Chef So.
Why did you become a chef? Did you always want to be a chef?
For as long I can remember, I've been obsessed with cooking. I started cooking professionally as a senior in high school and fell in love with the job. After a quick stint in traditional college, I quickly realized that I would be unhappy doing anything else.
We hear you’re a Marietta native. Is there a reason that you chose to come back to your hometown to open Spring?
I've always known that I wanted to live in Marietta when I settle down. Once you open a restaurant, there is no turning back. I knew that Marietta was where I wanted to be, so it didn't make sense to open up anywhere else.
How would you describe your culinary style?
I think that I cook fairly simply, with the most emphasis being put on sourcing great ingredients and manipulating them just enough to elevate them.
What does supporting the local food community mean to you?
As a chef, taste is really the bottom line with deciding where to buy product from. For produce, especially, the flavor you get from fruits and vegetables grown locally, by farmers that you have a relationship with, will almost always taste better than other sources.
(G&G side note: We couldn't agree more!)
Why did you choose to be a part of G&G’s Be the Chef series?
I think that home cooking is really important. It's something that happens less and less these days. Most all of the most memorable meals I've had were cooked at home and eaten together with family and friends.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever cooked? Ever eaten?
Not sure that I consider anything that is edible to be crazy to eat/cook. Somewhere, there is someone who can make that crazy thing delicious.
On a night at home, do you like to cook? Do you have a go-to meal?
Home cooking is very relaxing to me, compared to being at the restaurant. At home, the simpler the preparation, the better. I like to cook one pot meals, my favorite being a Korean rice porridge with chicken and tons of garlic. It couldn't be easier or more satisfying to cook.
What’s your number one piece of advice for home cooks?
Clean as you go.
What ingredient do you like to cook with the most? What do you find most versatile?
At home, I always find myself cooking chicken in some form or another. Its great to get a whole bird, and be able to use every last bit of it, including the bones to make a broth or soup. The difference in taste between a humanely raised farm chicken, and standard supermarket chicken is far greater than with any other protein.
If you were a fruit or vegetable which one would you be and why?
A persimmon. Not sure why, but they are my favorite to eat.
Chef So's Pan Seared Trout with grits, sweet corn, chard & andouille dinner kit is available on our menu through Monday, Oct 15th.