• Top Chef: Garrett Marlin, Mercury Pizza

    Garrett Marlin, 36, graduated from Hawaii Pacific University. He grew up in New Jersey, Texas and Colorado. He has three brothers who live in New York, Austin, Texas and Denver.  In 2013,  he won the World’s Best Pizza Stretcher at the International Pizza Games in Las Vegas, Nev. He also placed third in the Western Regional Division for his pizza that year.  His mom says he’s the best pizza guy in the world.


    What’s one ingredient that you can't live without?
    Flour for baking


  • Top Chef: Kevin Moore, Plaid Rhino

    Kevin Moore, 46, was born and raised in New Orleans. He graduated from Marion Abramson High School in New Orleans and has been cooking ever since he was 14. He’s been at Plaid Rhino for four years, and said “If anyone could be called Mr. Plaid, it would probably be me!”

    What’s one ingredient that you can't live without?
    Salt. It’s the base of all ingredients.

    What’s your favorite type of music to listen to when cooking? 
    Hip Hop or High Tempo music,

  • Top Chef: Sonia Walley, 350 Degrees Bakery

    Sonia Walley, 47, was born in Wayne County and moved to Petal in 2008. She and her husband, Ricky, have been married for 27 years and have a daughter, Rashae, and a son, Drew. She received an associate’s degree in court reporting from Alfred State. She enjoys cooking for her family. She opened 350 Degress in June 2014.


    What’s one ingredient that you can't live without?

    What’s your favorite type of music to listen to when cooking? 

  • Top Chef: Josh Casper, The Depot

    Josh Casper, 30, grew up in Picayune and graduated with a BA in Psychology from USM in 2008. He cooked in Portland, OR for four years before returning back to Hattiesburg in June 2014. He won an award from the Sales & Marketing Professionals Pine Belt earlier this year for the Depot and was also nominated for Best Chef of the Pine Belt at Signature Magazine’s Best of the Pine Belt in 2016.

    What’s one ingredient that you can't live without?
    Fat. (Though my co-workers want me to say lemon because I pretty much put it in or on everything.)

  • Top Chef: Jeremy Noffke

    Jeremy Noffke, 40, was born in Charleston, Ill., and grew up in Hattiesburg. The Purple Parrot Cafe Chef is father to a son, Ethan, and a daughter, Brooklyn, and is expecting his third child this month. In addition to being a certified professional chef, Noffke received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Southern Mississippi. Chef Noffke was the recipient of Signature Magazine’s Best of the Pine Belt’s 2015 and 2016 award for Best Local Chef, and was featured as a contestant on Season 1 of Food Network’s “Re-Wrapped.”

  • Top Chef: Katie Dixon

    Katie Newman Dixon, 33, hails from Brookhaven where she graduated from Brookhaven Academy in 2001. The personal trainer, nutritional planner, retail associate and chef at Shine Cafe attended Mississippi College before transferring to the University of Southern Mississippi. She graduated from USM in 2005 with a Bachelor’s degree in marketing and business. While at Southern Miss she was a cheerleader on the co-ed squad. The Brookhaven/Lincoln County representative was crowned Mississippi’s Miss Hospitality in 2002. She and husband, Todd, have two daughters, Stevee Kate and Risi.

  • Top Chef: Chris Hackbarth

    Chris Hackbarth, 27, of Hattiesburg attended the University of Iowa. He lived in Italy for 16 months, Japan, New York and San Francisco. He opened SouthBound in 2004 after moving to Hattiesburg from San Francisco. Married to Heidi Hackbarth, they have one killer dog, Indie, and one cuddler, Leia. He is a two-year cancer survivor.

    What's one ingredient that you can't live without?
    My wife, Heidi


    What’s your favorite type of music to listen to when cooking? 
    Classic Hip Hop


  • Top Chef: Ken Strickland, Strick's

    Ken Strickland, 52, attended Sacred Heart, Forrest County AHS and Pearl River Community College. He and wife, Trisha, have three sons – Dustin, Britton and Carrington and their first grandchild was due at any moment.
    Strick’s has been recognized as Best BBQ in the ‘Burg and received the People’s Choice Award at the Downtown BBQ Jam.

    What’s one ingredient that you can't live without?

    What’s your favorite type of music to listen to when cooking?
    Laid-back beach music

  • Top Chef: Roger Bickham, Movie Star

    Roger Bickham, 80,  is head chef and part owner of Movie Star Restaurant. Movie Star is a family restaurant in nearly every sense of the word. Roger took over part ownership when his wife, Ann, passed away in 2004, and his daughter, Lori, and granddaughter, Jordan, both of Purvis, also work with him. With a staff of around 25, Bickham also describes his team as “one big happy family.” Bickham was a former chemist and toxicologist in a Texas crime lab, and also worked for Hess oil, where he blended gas and diesel fuel.

  • Top Chef: Julie May, Asiago Cheese Cafe

    Dr Julie May (age 44) grew up in Baton Rouge, LA with two older brothers and a younger stepbrother.  She received her undergraduate degree from LSUMC in Occupational Therapy and her PhD from USM in Biological Sciences with an emphasis in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience.  She conducted her postdoctoral research at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge in the area of obesity and caloric restriction, and then returned to Hattiesburg where she served on faculty as an anatomy professor at William Carey for 10 years.  She has a popular food blog, Menu Musings of a Modern Am

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