A chef can easily be thought of as a public relations expert, with the utmost concern going into keeping the guest, and crew, happy. Rather than start the culinary route and learn PR basics on the job, Chef Peter Dale graduated from the University of Georgia in 1999 with a degree in public relations and headed to Capitol Hill.
But his childhood memories of traveling with his Ecuadorian mother and Greek father, and their rich family meals, quickly drew him to the kitchen. Dale got his feet wet back at home as a cook at Athens, Georgia-based Five & Ten, training with Chef Hugh Acheson. Although he planned to eventually attend culinary school, Dale found himself learning on the job, working his way through Acheson’s kitchen and then traveling abroad to Spain. Those cooking experiences—working in both top-notch European and rural kitchens—became the schooling he once desired. Returning to Athens, Dale worked with Acheson to open The National in 2007, a farm-to-table Mediterranean-inspired locale. The restaurant is a combination of Dale’s interests in cooking, travel, and food politics, inspired by Spanish, French, North African, Greek, eastern Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern cuisines.
Dale insists The National isn’t just the food of his travels, and we agree. Instead the chef combines the local, seasonal produce surrounding him—much of which is traditional to the Mediterranean—creating bold, bright flavors.