As a veteran of the U.S. Army and a graduate of both the Culinary Institute of America and the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at UC Santa Cruz, Chef Matthew Raiford has followed an unusual career path that led him to an even more surprising place: back to his home at Gilliard Farms, where Raiford and his sister Althea are the sixth generation to keep their Gullah-Geechee heritage alive by farming land that has been owned by their family since 1874.
A James Beard semifinalist for Best Chef: Southeast 2018, Chef Raiford is also a certified ecological horticulturalist--and an early supporter of Drawdown Georgia. As part of Drawdown Georgia launch week, Raiford was the keynote speaker at the Food and Agriculture-themed virtual Civic Dinner. If you missed the event, you can still tune in by viewing the video embedded above.
This spring, Raiford will earn a new title: published cookbook author. Now available for pre-order, Bress 'n' Nyam: Gullah Geechee Recipes from a Sixth-Generation Farmer is a groundbreaking cookbook that pays homage to an essential cuisine of American History, one that nurtured Raiford’s own family for generations.