Hugh Acheson Talks Derby and Appreciating Southern Food

For the upcoming Kentucky Derby, Acheson created a twist on the classic mint julep

Celebrate this year's Kentucky Derby with Hugh Acheson's Mint Mutiny cocktail.

Celebrity chef and Top Chef judge Hugh Acheson was born in Ottawa, Canada but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a chef who appreciates the classic cuisine of the American Southern more than Acheson.

Acheson and his wife Mary, a Georgia native, have lived in Athens, Ga. for several years, and today the chef owns four restaurants in Georgia: Five & Ten, The National, Empire State South, and Cinco y Diez.

In honor of the upcoming Kentucky Derby, Acheson has partnered up with Captain Morgan to create a contemporary twist on the mint julep, a classic Derby cocktail. “It’s a really fresh, simple cocktail,” said Acheson.

This year, Acheson will be a guest at the fourth annual Fillies and Stallions Derby Eve Party in Ga., and his drink will be the event’s featured cocktail.

Acheson, who just published a short “cookbooklet” all about pickles, is also rumored to be working on a seasonal cookbook to be published later in 2014. He says it was foods like Southern stewed okra, fried chicken, and potlicker that stuck with him, and that he never tires of the beautiful history of Southern food.

“The thing that keeps me going is that I’m willing to learn every day,” he explained. “Food is a dense topic that makes it really exciting to study. Once we as chefs position ourselves as experts in the field, we stop learning.”


Check out Hugh Acheson’s Mint Mutiny recipe.

Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy