Highlands Bar and Grill, Bottega, Chez Fonfon
Frank Stitt’s fondness for humble Southern ingredients comes directly from his roots in rural Alabama. As a college student, he honed his kitchen skills at the now legendary Chez Panisse in San Francisco, where Alice Waters introduced him to Richard Olney, who was working on the Good Cook series for Time-Life Books and needed an assistant. His professional path further evolved as he worked alongside Jeremiah Tower, Stephen Spurrier and Simca Beck.
In 1982, Stitt opened Highlands Bar & Grill and soon after, Bottega (1988), Café Bottega (1990) and Chez Fonfon (2000)—all in Birmingham. In 2004, he published his first cookbook, Frank Stitt’s Southern Table, followed by Bottega Favorita in 2009.
Highlands Bar & Grill has been nominated for the prestigious James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant each year since 2009. Stitt received the Foundation’s award for Best Chef: Southeast in 2001, and was nominated in 2008 for Outstanding Chef. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southern Foodways Alliance and was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor in 2009, the most distinguished award given to an Alabamian.
In 2011, Stitt was inducted into Esquire magazine’s Restaurant Hall of Fame and to the James Beard Foundation’s “Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America." His restaurants have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Saveur, Food & Wine, Garden & Gun and Southern Living.
Stitt lives in Birmingham with his wife and business partner, Pardis. He has two children, Marie and Weston.