Raised in 1971 in Ottawa as the youngest of four children, chef and restaurateur Hugh Acheson got his start in the food industry at the age of 15, when he took an after-school job as a dishwasher at Ottawa’s Bank Street Café. After moving to Montreal to attend Concordia University — where he studied political philosophy until he dropped out to work in Italian restaurants — Acheson returned to Ottawa and began working at the iconic Café Henri Burger. Here, Acheson learned about French cuisine and wine under chef Rob McDonald. In the late ’90s, Acheson and his wife journeyed south, to her hometown of Athens, Georgia, where Acheson became the head chef and manager at the Last Resort Grill.
After a period in San Francisco, during which he helped chef Gary Danko open his namesake establishment, Acheson returned to Athens and opened his first restaurant, Five & Ten, which forged together the beauty of the South with the flavors of Europe. In 2002, based upon the success of his restaurant, Acheson was named one of the best new chefs in the United States by Food & Wine magazine. He has since opened four additional restaurants, including his most recent venture, The Florence in Savannah, Georgia. Featuring unique takes on classic Italian dishes and an extensive wine list, The Florence has received rave reviews since opening their doors in late June.