North Texas Daily

Denton chef recognized in national foodie book

Denton chef recognized in national foodie book

March 26
08:32 2013

Courtney Garza

Staff Writer

Executive chef of Denton’s own Hannah’s Off the Square, Sheena Croft, is one of the featured chefs in the annual chefs’ guide, “Best Chefs of America.”

Born and raised in Florida, Croft came to Texas with her southern, yet coastal, influences that are now evident in her culinary work. Her time in Texas blends with her Floridian background in dishes such as her signature shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes and red-eyed gravies. Croft also incorporates Latin-derived techniques from Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, plus hints of American-Indian influences with her sweet potato fry bread and Spanish Minocan chowder.

Croft has been with Hannah’s since they opened 12 years ago, and has watched as the city has accepted and appreciated her eclectic ingredients and styles.

“It was a challenge coming from the coast with my fish, pork and chicken dishes, with not a lot of beef where I come from,” Croft said. “I was worried to bring these styles into a community I didn’t know was going to accept it, but they so have and it’s wonderful. I appreciate it every single day.”

The word spread about Croft’s broad use of ingredients and her name landed on the nomination list for the 2013 “Best Chefs of America” book.

The book came about when a group of culinary enthusiasts who enjoy memorable dining experiences wanted to ask the chefs themselves who they most admire. Based out of Charleston, South Carolina, the team got together  last March to interview more than 5,100 chefs around the country, asking them who they nominated to be recognized. They came down to roughly 4,650 chefs acknowledged in the book.

The BCA provides a way for chefs to be recognized for the work they put into their restaurants without having to pay for an ad, as the book does not allow paid spots, just a simple nomination.

“Is there anything greater than being complimented by your peers, who see and understand the quality of work you’re doing?” said Elizabeth Fishburne, BCA marketing coordinator. “That’s why the book is all about the word solely passed on from chef to chef.”

The word couldn’t have spread without some local recognition, like from Dentonite Don Moody, who has seen the evolution of great food by Croft.

“By giving her the flexibility to create the flawless meals with great ingredients, Sheena [Croft] is a large part of Hannahs’ success,” Moody said. “If I’m going out to eat, whether with family, friends, business partners, or by myself, Hannah’s is where I go.”

“Best Chefs of America” was released on March 1 and can be purchased on the website http://bestchefsamerica.com for $75.

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