Big changes are coming to Farm 255, Athens’s favorite “farm-to-table” restaurant. The award-winning eatery has hired a new chef, Whitney Otawka, soon to be familiar to many as a contestant on Bravo’s “Top Chef.”
Otawka is no stranger to the culinary world, coming to Farm after a year at Cumberland Island’s much-lauded Greyfield Inn. Before that she staged at prestigious New York restaurants such as Per Se and Le Bernardin, and she served as sous-chef at Athens’s 5&10.
Otawka said she plans to make considerable changes to the restaurant’s menu. “At the heart of my approach is the idea of comfort food,” she said. “I am influenced by the old world, traditional country dishes of France, Italy, and Spain and, of course, the south. I will focus my attention on technique and craftsmanship while bringing new flavors to rustic cuisine.”
In an introductory video on Bravo’s website, Otawka speaks of herself as a highly competitive person. “I’m very driven,” she says. “I’m a perfectionist in so many ways that it kind of makes me feel like I’m better than everyone else. I want to be the best.”
What’s happening to former chef Matt Palmerlee? He’ll be developing his own artisanal charcuterie and sausage business, as well as focusing on work with the Four Coursemen project.
Farm 255 is a local, seasonal, and sustainable restaurant, an early vanguard of the farm-to-table movement. The restaurant owns and operates its own vegetable operation, “Full Moon Farms,” and its own pork and beef supplier, “Moonshine Meats.” It’s also the flagship of an enterprise that includes Atlanta’s Farm Burger restaurant, which serves completely grassfed burgers sourced from the same local farms.
Farm has received national recognition from such outlets as CNN, Food & Wine Magazine, and Southern Living. Most recently, the restaurant received the Glynnwood 2011 Good Food Entrepeneur Harvest Award, created “to highlight innovative work being done on a community level [and] to increase access to fresh, locally-produced food.”
Questions? Comments? Experiences at the Farm worth sharing? Want to thank me for not starting this post with a pun about things “cooking” or “stirring” or “sizzling” at Farm 255? Tell us below.