Memphis might not have as much Italian culinary street cred as, say, the North End of Boston or Arthur Avenue in New York. But that doesn’t mean Italian cuisine doesn’t thrive there, and that family traditions don’t grow. Home-grown chef Michael Hudman is proof.
Coming from a big Italian family in Memphis, Hudman grew up watching his “maw maw” prepare simple ravioli and meatballs for Sunday suppers. And when he met Andrew Ticer, who had a similar upbringing, the duo struck out on a culinary path bound by a sense of tradition.
Ticer and Hudman both left Memphis after college, making their way to Johnson & Wales in South Carolina. Moving back after two years of schooling, the chefs apprenticed together under Chef Jose Guitierrez at Chez Philippe. Ticer and Hudman were able to solidify their skills under the Master French Chef Guitierrez, but after a year and a half of honing French technique, their Italian heritage came calling, setting the young chefs on a culinary journey to The Italian Culinary Institute in Calabria (with a stop in Lyon, for good measure).
Ticer and Hudman returned to the States inspired and ready to work, cooking for two years while they refined a business plan and scoured for real estate. Today they find themselves at the helm of two of Memphis’s most exciting restaurants, doing Southern and family tradition proud with Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen and Hog & Hominy and earning them a spot among Food & Wine’s “Best New Chefs” 2013. The duo also won the StarChefs.com Kentucky-Tennessee Rising Stars Award and has been twice nominated for James Beard’s “Best Chef, Southeast” award. With their recently published Collards & Carbonara, Ticer and Hudman recount their shared journey—how two Italian, Southern chefs came together and brought two major culinary legacies along for the ride.