Welcome to Episode 73! (LINK IN PROFILE) In this fabulous conversation, I speak with Chef Bill Smith of Crook's Corner in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Both Bill and the restaurant are beloved fixtures in this great town of advocates, artists, musicians, and other creative types. Sound familiar? Yes, Chapel Hill is very similar in size and energy to Charlottesville and is going through some of the same growing pains. So this talk hit close to home for me and was a great chance to catch up with someone I consider a dear friend.
Chef Bill took over Crook's from founding owner Bill Neal back in the 1990's. Bill was a beloved chef who passed way too young and is credited with bringing shrimp and grits to the masses for better or worse. Needless to say, Neal's version is still the best in my opinion and a must-order.
Musicians were a huge part of Bill's kitchen for many years because they have what he calls, "...a loose point of view," an enthusiasm, as well as a need for flexible hours. These days, his kitchen looks very different, comprised mostly of immigrants, some of whom have worked for Bill 15 years or more. He considers them family. How are they coping in this new political climate? How has Bill attempted to ease their way forward? His efforts are beyond admirable and make me so glad to know him. A true Southern gentleman, scholar, and outspoken advocate.
This was recorded back in February, so it was interesting to hear how the frantic nature of our political sphere was just as anxious back then. Back then meaning 3 months ago! A time capsule for what was to come. Little did we know it would only get worse! What's the solution? We brainstorm some ideas.
His definition of success? Rent and beer money. Awards and recognitions? Not that important. Despite numerous James Beard nominations and other awards, just having a nice cold can of PBR at the ready is reward enough. Sounds damn good to me. As does this episode. Enjoy. #edacious #edaciouspodcast #crookscorner #billsmith #chapelhill #shrimpandgrits #thatstupidpie #atlanticbeachpie