Hampton + Hudson
As a little girl, Savannah Sasser loved working alongside her single mother in the kitchen. “It was the best way for us to spend time together as a family,” she says. When her mother first taught her how to make a roux, she’d said that it would be finished when it was the color of a penny. Sasser ran to fetch a penny then set it by the pot on the stove as she stirred.
She doesn’t need a lucky penny anymore. The 31 year old is now Executive Chef at Hampton + Hudson in Atlanta, where she employs a playful mix of classic French techniques with creative twists using seasonal ingredients.
“I always wanted to cook for a living,” Sasser says. At age 18 she left home for Pittsburgh to attend culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu. She says that her food will always have a French influence since “that’s where my foundation lies,” but she enjoys adding Southern twists “because that’s where I’m from.”
She recently discovered a love of butchering. “I’m teaching the staff to break down primals,” she says with a smile. Pleasing customers is a passion. “It’s exciting to see what a community wants and give it to them.” She predicts quality will continue to drive Atlanta’s dining scene: “More people care now about what they put in their mouth, so we need to take time to do it right.”
Sasser cites her mom as a key influence. “My mom is strong. She was in the military when women stayed in the same barracks as men,” she says. “She always taught me that for equality, you just have to work really hard.”
Though ultimately she’d like to own a small restaurant of her own with a garden out back, she plans to stay put for the foreseeable future. “I’d like to continue to elevate the food here, hopefully grow with the company, and teach and grow with the staff. I love what I’m doing now!” – HP