Chef Chris Hastings needs no introduction. A James Beard Award winner who beat Bobby Flay on Food Network in the Iron Chef America competition is a highly recognizable name both in and out of the South.
As a well-known chef, he’s also no stranger to the creative world. From the novel approach he takes in his kitchens to the delectable dishes he consistently churns out, it’s easy to see he values the process of innovation when it comes to cuisine. This ability to intertwine the need for originality while also utilizing simple foods that tend to reflect the community from which they are harvested truly makes him a gifted craftsman.
As an avid outdoorsman, as well, all of these penchants merge together to form another passion: wildlife art.
“If you look up the body of work I’ve done, whether it’s bones or feathers or other things I collect in the outdoors, I turn them into pieces of art,” he explains. “What I like about these art festivals is the work that goes into being an artist, number one. Being an outdoorsman, number two, appeals to my sensibilities as a creative person.”
Knowing these philosophies Chef Hastings holds dear, it comes as no surprise he’ll be taking part in the inaugural Wetumpka Wildlife Arts Festival happening November 5, hosted by the Smoot Harris Family and The Kelly Fitzpatrick Memorial Gallery.
Attendees will have the opportunity to watch him at work while he combines his passions of field sports and rustic fare for onlookers.
Likely, his outgoing personality will help event-goers feel as if they’re cooking in the kitchen alongside him, surrounded by the well-preserved, idyllic landscape along the banks of the Coosa River.
In fact, in addition to his passion for creating in the kitchen, he explains his motivation for participating in the wildlife arts festival. “I enjoy meeting interesting people that I share a love of the outdoors with, as well as the artistic portion of these events.”
Those interested in learning more about the Wetumpka Wildlife Arts Festival can visit thekelly.org.