Athens, GA – Summer 2013
Hunter E. Lewis is the Executive Editor of Southern Living, a position he has held since September 2012. As Executive Editor, Lewis oversees the brand’s extensive food content in print and online, and manages the Test Kitchen staff that tests 5,000 recipes annually. He regularly collaborates with the Time Inc. book-publishing unit, Oxmoor House, on the development and execution of Southern Living cookbooks.
Lewis joined the Southern Living brand from Bon Appétit, where he was the Food Editor. While there, he developed, edited, and supervised recipe testing for the print, online, and tablet editions, wrote regular food features, and hosted online cooking videos.
Prior, Lewis was Kitchen Director at Saveur, where he developed, edited, and tested recipes for the print and web editions of the monthly epicurean magazine. He also produced and styled weekly photo shoots in the Saveur kitchen studio.
Additionally, Lewis researched for the Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook and held various culinary positions at restaurants from New York City to Sonoma County. A graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Lewis currently resides in Birmingham, AL with his family.
Kristen, Rebecca, Rinne
Kristen Bach, Rebecca Wood and Rinne Allen co-curate beautyeveryday.com. The idea for beautyeveryday.com came about in 2001, before blogs, before the web was the hub of inspiration that it is today. They are happy to finally have this space to share all of the things that they love about the South, where they find beauty, inspiration. occasionally, they will travel elsewhere, but mostly, they will focus on the place they call home.
Owner, TREEHOUSE kid and craft
Kristen spent most of her days in Wisconsin until the South stole her heart. She has spent a handful of years working for R.Wood Studio and is the owner and creator of a Kid’s Shop and DIY Craft Center called TREEHOUSE. kid and craft. Kristen resides in Athens, Georgia, with her daughter, husband and two dogs. She spends her free time making and creating, spending time with her family, and exploring and photographing her surroundings.
Owner and Artist, R. Wood Studio
Rebecca Wood studied painting in college and spent the next ten years painting still-lives. After her daughter was born, she expanded her design interests and signed up for some china painting classes, which led to an interest in making her own plates in clay. With a rolling pin and a yard sale kiln, R. Wood Studio was born. 20 years later, R. Wood Studio plates are collected all over the country, and Rebecca is still creating new designs all the time.
Rinne Allen is a photographer who lives with her husband and their two sons in an old house with a big garden near downtown Athens, Georgia. She was raised in Athens and still enjoys getting to know the place where she grew up. Rinne began working with Rebecca at R. Wood Studio right after college at Sewanee in 1995. From Rebecca, she has learned a lot about how to look at the world, and this knowledge is translated into each photograph she makes. She has worked with hable construction, alabama chanin and chef Hugh Acheson.
Back Down South and Photographer
Caroline Fontenot grew up in the ‘burbs of Houston, got schooled at North Texas, married a wonderful man with Cajun blood and moved to the Colorado mountains. One year later, they packed their bags for a magical place called Georgia where they’ve lived for the last 4 years. She has been a full time photographer (www.carolinefontenot.com) since 2008 and in August 2011 started the southern style blog, Back Down South.
She is a huge fan of dance floors, warm weather, epic adventures, eating good eats and drinking good drinks. She is not a fan of olives, the fact that she once wore hemp pants, or writing in third person.
Chef Whitney Otawka
Executive Chef Farm 255
Chef Whitney Otawka’s leap into the culinary world was inspired by her inner Francophile. While taking French classes at the University of California-Berkeley, she responded to an advertisement for a waitress position at a local French creperie. Without any waitressing experience at her back, she didn’t get the job, but instead was hired as one member of a two-person kitchen. The owner filled the menu with his mother’s Brittany-based recipes, and spent evenings introducing Whitney to a world of gastronomy and fine wine. Here she discovered her innate discipline and rigor, and a passion that would allow her to thrive in the grueling environment of a restaurant kitchen.
She continued her culinary learning in restaurants in California until she moved to Athens in 2005, were she quickly worked her way up to Sous Chef of 5&10 under Chef Hugh Acheson. For part of her tenure, she simultaneously worked as Chef de Partie of Linton Hopkins’ Restaurant Eugene in Atlanta. During her years at 5&10, she took time out to hold numerous stages in New York’s finest restaurants such as Per Se and Le Bernardin, and work with chefs and winemakers across Europe.
In 2010, Otawka left Athens for a unique opportunity, living on a coastal Georgian island where she served as executive chef of the prestigious Greyfield Inn of Cumberland Island. What eventually tore her away was filming “Top Chef Season 9” in Texas. After filming wrapped, Otawka returned to Athens proper to take over the kitchen at Farm 255. And there she approaches her menus with the goal of bringing new flavors to rustic cuisine while exhibiting utmost technique and craftsmanship—the kind of Cali-Franco-Southern flavors only she can produce. This journey led her to become one of the 2012 Atlanta Rising Stars.
Wier / Stewart
Daniel Stewart is Studio Director of Augusta based advertising agency, Wier / Stewart and a graduate of the University of Georgia. His design work has been published in Communication Arts, Print Magazine and How magazine, among others. Daniel is also an American Advertising Federation National Addy Award winner. His duties within the agency include business development, art direction and design.
Lee, Ashley, and Daniel Epting
Founder, Epting Events
A native son of Athens, Lee Epting has been instrumental in influencing and shaping the local community for the past several decades. After transferring from Athens High School, Lee graduated from the Darlington School in Rome Georgia. He studied his freshman and sophomore years at Emory University before returning to Athens to complete his BBA from the University of Georgia in 1967.
His interest in the food industry began while at Darlington, where he volunteered as a bus boy in the kitchen. In college, he joined Phi Delta Theta at Emory and began running the fraternity kitchen. This continued at the Georgia chapter and eventually expanded into creating theme parties. Throwing parties is truly a lifelong passion for Lee.
In 1976, Lee began Lee Epting Catering. What began as a small business with just three employees has now expanded and transformed into Epting Events, which currently employs 75 employees. In addition to running Epting Events, Lee, with help from son Ashley, started Center Stage Catering, which handles the food service for one of Athens’ largest event venues – the Classic Center. Center Stage Catering promises to provide Athenians and out of town visitors with the same attention and care the Epting Events’ clients enjoy.
When he’s not planning and throwing parties, Lee has a major interest in historic preservation. With the help of his son, Daniel, Lee has moved and restored fourteen historic homes in the Athens area. Lee’s property, referred to as “The Hill,” is comprised of eight of these restored and historic homes. Today, The Hill is used to host weddings, special events, business retreats, and is also available for short and long term guest housing.
CEO, Epting Events
A native Athenian, Ashley Epting is an entrepreneur and filmmaker who strives to improve the culture and community of his home. With lifelong colleagues, friends, and family, he navigates multiple endeavors and businesses including: Epting Events, Center Stage Catering at The Classic Center, Harry’s BBQ Bistro, The Hill Properties, & Epting Productions. He is a sponsor and board member of both the Robert Osborne Classic Film Festival and the Atlanta Film Festival.
On the route to his role as CEO of Epting Events, Ashley graduated from the Gallatin School at New York University, where he studied film production and dramatic writing at the Tisch School of the Arts. He has worked in film and event management in New York, Alabama, Georgia, Colorado, and California. However, Ashley’s love for place and story truly developed while circumnavigating the globe as part of the Semester at Sea program. Today, Ashley is the Georgia Chapter Representative on the Semester at Sea Alumni Board of Directors.
Of all his accomplishments, Ashley is most proud of helping to bring the film production, Not Since You, to Athens. The film was produced on the Epting’s property and throughout the Athens area. This lifelong passion for film and the entertainment industry is something that Ashley hopes to merge with his love for the catering and event planning business. He is currently in the midst of developing a reality television show, Black Tie and BBQ, about his family and the daily adventures at Epting Events.
Corporate Logistics Manager, Epting Events
Like the rest of the men in the Epting family, Daniel Epting is Athens born and bred. He attended the University of Georgia, where he majored in Speech Communication and was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity. While in college, Daniel travelled through Western Europe and also spent time studying in Colorado.
After college, Daniel was involved with promotional activities and fundraising activities for “Darius Goes West,” a documentary about an Athens teenager living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The documentary followed Darius as he spent the summer of 2005 on a 7,000 mile road trip across the United States to promote awareness and raise money for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research. In everything he does, Daniel’s pride for his hometown is evident. He has volunteered for the Athens Land Trust, served on the board of the North Georgia Sexual Assault Center, and is a trustee with the Athens Clarke Heritage Foundation.
Like his father, Lee, Daniel enjoys historic preservation. Together, the two Epting men helped to move and restore fourteen historic homes in the Athens area. Four of these homes are now available as venues for weddings, special events, business meetings, and also extended home stays on the Epting property, affectionately referred to as “The Hill.”
Originally hailing from New York’s Hudson Valley, and making his way to the South by route of Las Vegas, drinks-guru Greg Best has 15 years of experience in the restaurant industry. He has been oft credited with igniting the craft cocktail movement in Atlanta during his tenure behind the bar at Restaurant Eugene. His role as partner at Atlanta’s Holeman and Finch Public House has earned him numerous accolades and two consecutive selections as a James Beard Foundation Awards Outstanding Bar Program semifinalist. Still a barman at heart, Best’s innovative cocktail recipes can be found in such prominent publications as The PDT Cocktail Book, Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide, and 5 consecutive Food & Wine: Cocktails editions. In a 2011 TEDxTALKS, Best drew on experience to deliver a rousing dissertation on “The Role of a Social Chemist,” identifying his craft as one that goes far beyond serving drinks.
In addition to driving Holeman and Finch Public House and overseeing operations at H&F Bread Co. and H&F Bottle Shop, Best recently launched 3 H&F Burger outposts at Turner Field. He is an active member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and co-founded the United States Bartender’s Guild – Atlanta Chapter, where he served as vice-president during 2012. Earlier this year, Best and partner Chef Linton Hopkins started hosting a bi-monthly AM radio program called Feed Radio broadcast on Atlanta airwaves and available online for free download. The show is an ongoing conversation of the techniques, personalities, and experiences that have shaped their respective careers, alongside the music that inspires them. Though his turns behind the bar are becoming less frequent these days, Best still finds time for refreshing spirits through an increasing number of avenues.
GADABOUT CREATIVE & CREATIVE DIRECTOR at SOUTHERN PROPER
Hanna Seabrook is the enthusiast behind GADABOUT CREATIVE, a full-service design studio based in Charleston, South Carolina, and the designer behind the lifestyle blog and paper company, GADABOUT. Hanna launched her blog and paper line in 2009 as a shy attempt to pinpoint her perspective and encourage inspiration. Having recently confirmed (if only to herself) she wanted a career in graphic design, she saw both ventures as the beginning of what would become the company she owns today. Through the daily challenge of curating and creating content for three companies, Hanna has been given the opportunity to define her aesthetic, build a unique skill set and work with an incredible group of clients and companies, large and small. For this, she is so grateful.
Jennifer Bilbro is a social media strategist and founder of the website, blog, and mobile application Out to Eat with Kids. She’s been leading brands in the south through social media platforms since 2010. Out to Eat with Kids has achieved national recognition through her social media influence on Pinterest & Facebook. Through her work with the National Restaurant Association, Jennifer also offers consultation services for restaurants to help optimize their strategy to better serve families and kids including the overall dining experience, menu options, kid-friendly specials, & marketing to families.
At the same time Bilbro was growing Out to Eat with Kids, her passion for social media connected her to businesses wanting to grow their social presence. Today, Pink Bike Networking consults, strategizes, & directs social content for businesses. Bilbro sees the bigger picture of social and the importance of using a variety of platforms to help drive traffic to a website, build brand loyalty, and increase revenue.
A teacher by trade, she is passionate about educating people about the role social media plays in the lives of everyone, everyday and evolution of its future. Most recently, she spoke at the National Restaurant Association trade show in Chicago and Dig South Conference in Charleston. She lives in Mt. Pleasant, SC with her husband Chris and 2 children, Jackson & Hannah and new puppy River.
Jessica Nell Graves
CREATIVE DIRECTOR, SHOPS AROUND LENOX
BLOGGER, THELOVELIST.NETJessica Nell Graves
Jess Graves, a Ft. Worth, Texas native spent the brunt of her childhood under the Spanish moss eating oysters on the state line of South Georgia and North Florida. After visiting family there her whole life, she relocated to the island of Palm Beach, Florida as a young adult and traded shady Oaks and Camellias for Palm leaves and Hibiscus. After a good long stretch on beach time, she now spends most of her time nestled back home in the South in the Buckhead area of Atlanta, Georgia. After six years in freelance creative services – specializing in branding and social media since 2007, working with retailers, designers, and creative brands large and small – she took on her current role, as the Creative Director of Shops Around Lenox, Buckhead’s premeire boutique shopping and dining district. She has been blogging for over seven years and in self-publishing even longer — she even takes on the occasional freelance writing gig. Jess likes live music, cooking with friends, blue jeans and high heels. She does not like mosquitoes or phoney baloneys.
Agency Development Director
Wier / Stewart
Regarded as one of the top marketing executives in the media industry, Lee Heffernan has held key positions with many leading brands including Lifetime Television, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Turner Networks (TNT, TBS, CNN, Cartoon Network), AMC Network’s WE: Women’s Entertainment and in-cinema advertising leader Screenvision. Since 2003, as the head of her own marketing agency, Heffernan has executed a wide range of programs, from brand development to consumer marketing and events, for clients including Oxygen, WWE, Turner Broadcasting, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, and iVillage.
A self-professed golf enthusiast, Heffernan is also co-author of “Gentleman Only” with her mother, Robbie Williams, which depicts their experiences as the daughter and wife of a long-time member of the Augusta National Golf Club.
Chef/Partner, The National
Peter DalePeter Dale was born and raised in Athens, Ga. His Ecuadorian mother and his father, a former New Yorker of Greek decent, contributed to his childhood full of travel and the opportunity to experience foods of many cultures.
Dale graduated from the University of Georgia in 1999 with an A.B.J. degree in public relations. His first job after college was as a congressional aide on Capitol Hill. Washington’s food scene quickly became more interesting than politics. Dale returned to Georgia to pursue his interest in cooking full-time.
He began as an apprentice at Five & Ten, also in Athens, Ga., with plans to eventually attend culinary school. Throughout his education at Five & Ten, Dale was able to travel and hold an internship at La Broche in Madrid, Spain. Eventually, culinary school fell by the wayside. “Travel has always been important to me. That’s where I get my inspiration. While working at Five & Ten I left several times to spend time in Europe, mostly Spain.” Dale said. “What I learned over there, combined with the fundamentals I learned at Five & Ten, was better than school in my opinion.”
In 2007, Dale and Hugh Acheson, chef of Five & Ten, opened The National in downtown Athens, Ga. When explaining the idea and cuisine of the restaurant, Dale said, “The National really is a combination of my interests in cooking, travel and food politics. We serve food inspired by my favorite cuisines: Spanish, French, North African, Greek, eastern Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern.”
In his free time, Peter serves on the board of the Athens Farmers Market, Boybutante Aids Foundation, is an active runner and an aspiring trapeze artist.
In 2012, Dale was named Food & Wine magazine’s The People’s Best New Chef Southeast, and a rising star by Star Chefs.
Katherine Sandoz is a painter, illustrator and maker mixing media and metaphors in a red barn behind her 1931 cypress cottage in Savannah, Georgia. In addition to exhibiting in galleries and consulting as a visual strategist, she contributes to The Oxford American blog “Big Chief Tablet”, The Good Men Project and the award winning culinary blog “Salted & Styled.” Her work is fueled by a long term love affair with drawing, painting, story telling and the people and places she sees each day.
The Broke Socialite
Shameeka is a Southern girl to my core and a proud daughter of Covington, Georgia. After leaving college in Tallahassee in the mid-90s, she lived in most major markets between Miami and Seattle. As it turns out, the allure of a slower pace, porch swings, REAL sweet tea and the true love of family and friends drew her back to Atlanta at the turn of the millennium.
In the midst of a career in technology (and mostly because she was bored), she took a slight pivot and married her love of communications and public relations with her obsession with new media to create her alter ego, blog and brand, The Broke Socialite™, in 2006.
Through this voice, she has been fortunate enough to leverage social media to create a national series of highly-lauded dessert festivals called Sugar Coma Events™. She is having the time of her life! She also produced lavish!™, a lifestyle bloggers’ conference for those who utilize social media to engage about shelter, style, travel, food & wine and other general lifestyle considerations.
Also a freelance writer, she penned Instantly!: How Quickly I Realized I HATE My Job, a snarky novella about occupational crossroads after having made my “Exit, Stage Left” from corporate America in 2010 and is a highly sought motivational speaker about transition from employee to entrepreneur. She’s happy to have been featured in media outlets such as Success, Southern Living, Atlanta Magazine, Daily Candy and EBONY.
When she is not obsessing over her Pinterest account, watching Real Housewives of (Fill-in-the-blank), adding to her shoe collection (Hello, my name is Shameeka and I am a shoe-a-holic!) and monogramming everything that is not nailed down, she loves spending time with her sweet husband, Eric. They are the parents of Gareth, a student athlete at SMU (Pony up!). She is also a Life Loyal TriDelt and sits on a wonderful mix of philanthropic boards and committees. Though they really consider themselves country folks, they call intown Atlanta’s historic Washington Park community home.
Wier / Stewart
Alex Wier is Creative Director at Wier / Stewart. He holds a degree in English from the University of Georgia and his work has been published in Communication Arts, Print and How Magazines and various other publications focusing on design and creativity. He has received numerous awards for his efforts, including a National Addy from the American Advertising Federation. Alex has also served as a judge for both the Addys and the American Institute of Graphic Arts’ In Show.
- The Southern Coterie
- Epting Events
- Southern Living
- leapfrog PR
- Georgia Museum of Art
- Low Country Luxe
- Onward Reserve
- Branded Butcher
- The National
- Five & Ten
- Pauley’s Original Crepe Bar
- Leoci’s Trattoria
- Hip Pops
- Chef Whitney Otawka
- Cathead Vodka
- Charred Oak Bourbon
- Jittery Joe’s
- Terrapin Beer
- Schermer Pecans
- Big T’s Coastal Provisions
- Maison de Macaron
- Goo Goo Cluster
- Athens Bagel Company
- 3 Porch Farm
- Southern Soul BBQ
- Fat and Juicy
- American Spirit Whiskey
- Peach State Pride
- Holeman & Finch Bread Co
- Phickle’s Pickles
- Grey Ghost Bakery
- Steve McKenzies
- Kayce Hughes
- YC Media
- The University of Georgia Press
- R. Wood Studio Ceramics
- Heery’s Clothes Closet
- Village Inn and Pub
- Oliver Bentleys
- TREEHOUSE Kid and Craft
- Nail Butter
- Cullen & Co Interior Design
- Rinne Allen
- Jackson Spalding
- Athens First Bank
- Marker 7 Coastal Grill
- Pageboy Salon
- Downtown Athens Development Authority
- UGA Bookstore
- Georgia Olive Farms
- Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau
- Darius Goes West
- Grits Bits
- Patti Laurens
- Vixen Vodka
- The Georgia Coast Travel Association
- Barron’s Rental Center