Beth McKibben gets the dish on this weekend’s Taste of Atlanta from Chef Todd Richards.
Atlanta has become more than just Coke, the Braves and conventions. Food has taken center stage in recent years, with the city’s chefs achieving rock star status. Atlanta’s dining scene is no longer up and coming, but setting trends, nailing its culinary stake firmly into the ground. Nowhere will you see this showcased better than at the 11th annual Taste of Atlanta this weekend. Over 80 restaurants will be featured in this edible extravaganza, where you can stroll, taste, sip and learn your way through meatloaf sliders, braised quail and chocolate babka and then wash it down with a handcrafted cocktail. Taste gives residents and visitors alike a chance to nibble and imbibe at Atlanta’s most palatable places for three glorious days as these creative master craftsmen bring their kitchens and their stories to a wider audience.
One such storyteller, Chef Todd Richards of The Shed at Glenwood, will bring his passion for food and story to Taste this weekend. Chef Richards grew up in Chicago but calls the South his home. He has always been fascinated by culinary history and the stories surrounding it, especially that of the African American culture. His first food memories are of helping his father cook large family meals, including his famous barbecue, which Richards says is still the best he’s ever had.
Storytelling is something the South is fond of and frankly, known for around the world, and its food is no exception. With the resurgence of Southern cuisine and culture, the stories of old are being told again through food and the methods by which it is prepared revitalized, something Chef Richards feels very strongly about in his own kitchen. He describes The Shed as a neighborhood spot where people can come in, dine on anything from their delectable sliders to escargot, all while making the experience their own and letting the food tell the story. The flavors are familiar, comforting as if they were straight from your Granny’s garden. All the ingredients are farm-to-table, organic and made from scratch, a practice he and owners Cindy Shera and Todd Martins believe is the key to the restaurant’s continued success.
I recently caught up with Chef Richards (pictured) while he was speaking on slaves and food at the Atlanta History Center’s Fall Folklife Festival. Here’s a little Q&A with him on The Shed’s decision to join Taste this year:
BM: Why did The Shed choose to participate in Taste of Atlanta? Why this festival over others?
TR: As a constant Reader’s Choice Winner for Favorite Food Festivals, we feel this is a perfect event to reach people that we will see again and again in the restaurant.
TR: The Shed is gifted at bringing diners a diverse experience. Our guests can come in for a burger or sliders and a beer or enjoy escargot, lamb merguez and the best creme brulee in the city with a bottle of Jordan Cab. We’ll celebrate your special occasion or just your everyday casual meal.
BM: What’s the one dish you think the regulars love coming back for or look out for as a special?
TR: Hands down it’s the house-made Ding Dong, and our $3 sliders on Wednesday always pack the house. Although, I will say our beef brisket is giving them a run for their money.
BM: What are the tastes you will be showcasing at the festival this year?
TR: We will be serving our signature Roasted Beet Salad, which is gluten-free, and White Truffle Chicken Salad Slider. Both are simple dishes with a bit of elegance, yet perfect for a picnic or strolling through a festival. They showcase what The Shed is all about and are steadfasts on our menu.
BM: What is The Shed hoping to gain from participating in Taste?
TR: More friends, of course!
Stay tuned for more with Chef Todd Richards in Deep South when I sit down with him for an in depth look inside the South, slavery and the stories of the food that put our region on the culinary map. For now, check out The Shed at Taste of Atlanta this weekend, October 5 -7, in Midtown Atlanta (Tech Square, Spring and 5th streets). Tickets are $25 a day in advance and $35 a day at the door. Children under 13 get in free and are encouraged to join their parents for tastings. For more information on Taste of Atlanta, including the three cooking demo stages, bar craft competition and silent auction, visit the website.
Cheers, y’all, and happy tasting!
Beth McKibben is a freelance writer based in Atlanta. She enjoys telling a good story and day tripping with her husband and two kids. To find out more about Beth, see her full bio in our “Contributors” section.
Related Content & other posts by Beth McKibben: