Chef Jay Swift of 4th & Swift - Biography

Atlanta, GA

November 2011

His name may be sound speedy, but Chef Jay Swift paid his dues (working in the bizz for more than 30 years) to earn his spot among the top toques in Atlanta’s food scene. A Baltimore native, Swift started working in restaurants at the age 14, and restaurant work financed his high school and college English education. After two and a half years of college, he decided to follow his passion–and palate–switching gears and heading back into the kitchen. His studies took a culinary focus when he enrolled in the American Culinary Federation Apprenticeship Program, where the savvy chef graduated first in his class.

Swift spent the next few decades honing his skills in kitchens all over the country, working everywhere from Bob Kinkead's 21 Federal in Washington, D.C., to Chef Lydia Shire’s Biba in Boston, to Foley’s Fish House at Times Square in New York. Swift then headed south and took over the reins at South City Kitchen in Atlanta, where he won raves for his successful overhaul of the restaurant’s contemporary Southern menu, and a nod by the Zagat Survey as one of the top 20 restaurants in Atlanta.

In his newest venture, 4th & Swift, Swift has passed the culinary baton onto his son, and chef, Jeb Aldrich, who he collaborates with to create a menu of traditional American comfort food in the historic Old Fourth Ward district of Atlanta. Swift is also an active member of the Atlanta community, where he serves as the chef co-chair for The Flavors of Atlanta and supports Share Our Strength by participating in Taste of the Nation and Give Me Five event.