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Chef Of The Month

Chef Of The Month August: Chef M.G Farris

LYR_7BsSBVJhBCE532KFsaDGvaVj7o0PxDJnOTUjjZYM.G. Farris, executive chef at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre since it’s opening in 2007, is an Atlanta native who has trained with top chefs nationally and abroad. Farris’ experience includes a stint as chef de cuisine at Atlanta landmark Pano’s & Paul’s.At Cobb Energy Centre, Farris—who describes himself as “high-strung, fast-paced and passionate about the culinary arts”—continues to build on an extensive resume that began in Atlanta’s Ocean Club restaurant, where he started out as a bus boy. A graduate of the prestigious New England Culinary Institute (NECI), Farris has worked at notable establishments in Cape Town, South Africa, New York and Atlanta. After two years of training and hands-on experience at NECI, he completed a six-month internship at Villa Via Granger Bar and Hotel in Cape Town. His experiences in South Africa included serving as a private chef for Angela Bassett and Danny Glover during their movie-filming visit. Farris then decided to seek his fortunes in New York. He landed work creating contemporary French cuisine under esteemed Chef Jean Georges Vongerichten at the highly rated JoJo restaurant, where he was promoted to sous chef in just six months. From there he went on to work as executive sous chef at La Caravelle, with Chef Eric DiDomenico. This Mobil Four-Star,AAA Four-Diamond, DiRoNa Distinguished Restaurant has been repeatedly named one of the top 20 restaurants in the country and was recently cited by the New York Times as “an incubator for New York’s better-known chefs.”NuQ0FmfyDG20y4_mM6B7oJDdn8klr6-0zF1fWycMcPEIn 2002, Farris returned to Atlanta, accepting a position as chef de cuisine at Pano’s & Paul’s under Executive Chef Gary Donelick, helping that establishment achieve another star in its ratings and an excellent Zagat rating. Then, deciding to pursue the business side of the industry, Farris moved to Florida and became chef, owner and operator of MG’s, Market 102,and Food 102—a four-star dining establishment, a casual dining room, and a catering and private functions business, respectively. Farris returned to Atlanta in 2005, to Eno, where as executive chef he oversaw improvements to the restaurant’s ratings and its dining room operations. He later worked as the rounds sous chef at the Omni Hotel CNN Center. Farris believes his broad experiences have served him well in helping Cobb Energy Centre carve out its own identity. The Centre’s culinary offerings are based on a seasonally changing menu of contemporary designs, with Mediterranean flavors, Farris says. “We have hints of Italy, touches of Spain, the best of the South of France, something from the northern rim of Africa—all based on the freshest, top-quality ingredients and products,” he says. Farris has enjoyed delighting guests with his deceptively “simplistic style cuisine.” Entrees with unpretentious descriptions dazzle guests with their breathtaking presentations and intense flavors, textures and sensations. Farris’ creativity is not limited to menu items. For guests who wish to design a menu tailored to their events, Farris declares, “Here, I am in my element. You tell me what you are looking for and where you want to take it, and I will make it happen—guaranteed.” Farris says the Centre’s challenge of bringing to the banquet and special events environment all the trappings of a fine dining experience—an elegant setting, exquisite food and impeccable service—offers Cobb Energy Centre the grand position of “in-a-class-by-itself” distinctiveness.“There is no other venue like it. Having the Ballroom, the Theatre stage, and other spaces available means our guests can be as creative as they want in planning their events, including with planning their menus. This is a performing arts venue—arts being the key word. It is my job to make the food sing.” Cobb Energy Centre runs a self-operated culinary department. Supported by a full-service kitchen, Farris and his team boast the talent to customize the menu or prepare specialty dishes to suit any occasion:From small refreshment breaks to seated banquets for 63

Contemporary American and Mediterranean cuisine seasonally updated

Banquets, weddings, bar mitzvahs, pre-show parties, corporate meetings, holiday parties and more

Erica Key

Erica Key is the editor-in-chief and founder of Eating with Erica. She founded Eating with Erica in 2013 due to her love for the Atlanta food scene. Erica is an award-winning Atlanta-based blogger with a passion for all things dining, entertaining, and food.

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