Chef Margot McCormack, owner and executive chef of Margot Café & Bar and Marche Artisan Foods in Nashville, has received the highest honor bestowed by Georgia-based poultry producer Springer Mountain Farms, the Celebrate the Chef Award. The award is presented to a select handful of chefs that demonstrate culinary excellence, consistency in the dining experience and a commitment to the use of fresh and local ingredients.
“Chef Margot is a Nashville institution and one of the pioneers in local food,” says Dale Faunce, Springer Mountain Farms marketing director. “Without her longtime commitment to great food and service, the Nashville food scene would not be what it is today—one of America’s best. Chef Margot is an inspiration and mentor to many of the chefs throughout the city and the country.”
McCormack begin her love of food and cooking as a little girl in the kitchen with her mom in Nashville. However, she didn’t always dream of being a chef. As a student at the University of Tennessee—Knoxville, McCormack found her first professional cooking job as a line cook at Bennigan’s. After graduating with a bachelor of arts in English, McCormack moved back to Music City to pursue a creative writing career, but found herself back in the kitchen working for restaurateur Jody Faison at his eponymous spot, Faison’s. During that time, Faison introduced her to the work of famed chef and author Alice Waters, and McCormack was motivated to enroll at the Culinary Institute of America. The rest is history.
“I’m honored to be selected as the new Celebrate the Chef winner,” says McCormack. “We have been so fortunate to partner with Springer Mountain Farms. Not only do they work hard to bring an outstanding product to the plate, they are truly great people always reaching out with opportunities, knowledge and a helping hand. Springer Mountain Farms is great to work with because they really do celebrate the chef.”
After graduation, McCormack became chef at Danal, a European café is New York City’s East Village. While there, she embraced the food and culture of France. In 1995, McCormack returned to Nashville and became executive chef at F. Scott’s, developing a wide following and acclaim. In 2001, McCormack opened Margot Café & Bar in East Nashville, followed by a second restaurant Marche Artisan Foods, both becoming destination restaurants.
In 2016, Time magazine heralded McCormack as the Alice Waters of Nashville, while she was named in 2014 by the Nashville Scene as “one of 25 Nashvillians who shaped the city for the better since 1989.”