Jim Smith is Chairman of the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission and Executive Chef of The Hummingbird Way. Chef Smith was the Executive Chef of the State of Alabama for eight years serving multiple Alabama Governor’s. As the state chef, he has placed an emphasis on using the best local ingredients and has made strides to encourage support of local farmers and Alabama fishers. He used his position as ambassador of food, to promote farmer’s markets and events that support Alabama food products.
In 2011 he was crowned the King of American Seafood by winning The Great American Seafood-Cook-Off and became the national spokesperson for Alabama Seafood, American Sustainable Seafood, Gulf Seafood and the NOAA. As the winner he traveled the country educating the Americans about the benefits of sustainable seafood. As Chairman of the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission, Chef Smith is proud to be a part of the great work being done to promote Alabama Seafood and Chef Advocate for Wild American Shrimp. He also works closely with The James Beard Foundation as a Boot Camp for Policy and Change Alum, supporter of James Beard Foundation’s Smart Catch Sustainable Seafood program, and Scholarship Programs.
Chef Smith is best known for his appearances on Seasons 14 and 16 of the acclaimed Bravo television cooking competition show, Top Chef. With a top ten finish and fan favorite support he proud of his competitive efforts and has high hopes for the future.
Pete and Jim on this episode talk through Jim’s unique experiences in the food industry and how that gives him the edge in the industry. Pete and Jim open up talking about how Jim’s time as the Governor’s Chef taught him how to be organized and efficient as a cook since Jim would at times be cooking for hundreds of people and have to cook prep the food by himself. Jim gives insight on how executive chefs can stay organized and also, teach their staffs to be organized and lead the way rather than the executive chef handling everything organization wise because one person handling all of that is not going to be scalable as you grow as a business. When you have more people on the team the more chaotic it gets, therefore you must be meticulous in the kitchen if your restaurant is going to succeed long term.
Pete and Jim also discuss opening a restaurant and how Jim was his own investor by cashing out on many assets he had and how that freed him up to run his restaurant the way he desired and knew best. With that though there was great risk and Jim and Pete gives insight to those who are looking to open a restaurant how that process should look as you create a game plan for your restaurant.