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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region.

ORAL HISTORY

Bill Smith, chef


Crook's Corner

Bill Smith was born in New Bern, North Carolina, in 1949.  He grew up with a great appreciation for the simple yet elegant East Carolina fare that his great grandmother cooked. The culinary traditions of his family heavily influenced Bill’s cooking as chef at Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, where he has received national acclaim for his innovative twists on traditionally Southern cuisine. In 2010 The James Beard Foundation nominated Crook’s Corner a Best Restaurant in the United States.

Bill sources many of the ingredients he uses at Crook’s Corner from local farmers.  One can spot him cycling up to the Carrboro Farmers’ Market every Saturday morning.  For more than 30 years, Bill has been working closely with the farmers at this farmers’ market and has encouraged many chefs and businesses in the Chapel Hill area to follow suit and support local growers. The highly seasonal and flexible menu at Crook’s Corner is testament to Bill’s commitment to sourcing locally.

Date of interview:
2011-08-29 00:00

Interviewer:
Ashley Rose Young

Photographer:
Ashley Rose Young

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.

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Bill Smith Crooks Corner

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