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Why Bacon is Great: Holly Hambright

Holly Hambright will be cooking up a creative storm, as she is wont to do, at the BaconFest Barfood and Corsair Artisan Distillery night. Get your tickets NOW!

Why do you like cooking with bacon?
I like cooking with bacon because no matter how you slice it, it’s always satisfying.

What is your favorite thing about cooking in Knoxville?
I like cooking in Knoxville because I can feed my family more easily.  “Oh there’s no place like chrome for the hollandaise”

If you could have a meal cooked by anyone living or dead who would it be?
I would like to have Jean Louis Palladin’s food just once more.  The most memorable restaurant meal in my life.  Ever.

More info about Holly:
“I’m so Old School, I’m New School”

Holly Hambright’s reason for choosing the culinary field at first was strictly financial. Floundering at the University of Tennessee in a field of low demand and high competition (music), she felt her vocational time clock ticking and believed that at 22, had only a short time to rethink her professional direction.

She had experienced two seasons cooking at a large summer camp on Watts Bar Lake. A gourmet’s nightmare yes, but to hear an 8 year old exclaim that Holly’s spaghetti was better than his mom’s was at that time inspirational for her plus, the hard work and instant gratification of providing one of the most basic needs for people was very satisfying. Believing she had found her calling, Holly left UT to attend Baltimore’s Culinary Arts Institute graduating #1 in her class in 1983. In 1998 she completed graduate studies at the School for American Chefs in St. Helena, California with Madeline Kamman.

Holly has held the positions of Executive Pastry Chef, Executive Sous Chef and Executive Chef in various luxury hotels in Baltimore, Washington, DC, Boston, and Bermuda feeding such notables as Her Majesty the Queen of Thailand, Mrs. Anwar Sadat, Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, Barry Tuckwell, Barbara Bush, Lamar Alexander, the Gipsy Kings, Neil Diamond, Christopher Plummer and Presidents Ford and Clinton. Over the years, Holly developed a playful and creative culinary style blending her Southern heritage and classic technique into memorable, boldly flavored comestibles.

Holly has learned (and forgotten) much over the past28 years but the main takeaway is that one will never be “just a chef.” It’s not just the long hours spent cooking and being a technician because there is so much more to it. The opportunity to share her knowledge and experience, the vision to inspire and achieve common goals, to promote the profession by developing and promoting her staff has brought Holly to the understanding that one “gets” what one “gives”.

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