Andy's Rest. Scorecard: Chef Mac Edwards, plus scores as of 7/8 - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Andy's Rest. Scorecard: Chef Mac Edwards, plus scores as of 7/8/11

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By Andy Wise - bio | email

MEMPHIS (WMC TV) - CHEF OF THE WEEK:  Chef Mac Edwards, The Elegant Farmer, 262 S. Highland St., East Memphis, 901-324-2221, www.theelegantfarmerrestaurant.com

If Mac Edwards bought a vanity plate for his sports car, it'd look like this:

FRM2TBL

Farm-to-Table.

It's his lifeblood. His religion. His passion.

Buy produce and proteins only from local farmers and producers and whip 'em into old school recipe dishes straight to the customer's table.

"Take what God makes and don't screw it up," Edwards said, the epitaph for his tombstone. "We're about as out as Elton John when it comes to us being 'farm-to-table.' 90 percent of what we buy here at The Elegant Farmer, including meat and fish, we buy locally.

"We're really preaching 'farm-to-table,' and I think that's important."

35 years in the restaurant biz, Edwards was the genius behind McEwen's restaurant on Monroe Ave. downtown for 10 years, including 2004 when he was awarded the Memphis Restaurant Association's Restaurateur of the Year.

His farm-to-table philosophy spurred his efforts to help found the downtown Memphis Farmers Market at the Central Station Pavilion six years ago (http://www.memphisfarmersmarket.org/), his proudest achievement.

"When we started the market six years ago, we weren't sure if we'd have any vendors or any customers," he said. "And now we have about 60 vendors, and we average about 3,000 people a week downtown."

He sold McEwen's in 2008 and after a few years as a consultant, he's back in the kitchen.

He opened The Elegant Farmer in April, promoting the ingredients and products of 15 Mid-South farms in his salads, sandwiches, entrees and desserts.

"They support so many local businesses and local farmers," said Marjon Bishop, a lunch-and-dinner regular. "It's such a great mingle-and-mix for Memphis."

Customers rave over Edwards' Old School Salmon Patties with Creole remoulade, greens from Oxford, MS's Woodson Ridge Farm (braised in cider vinegar and sugar) and macaroni & cheese, with a little of his cornbread.

"I'm actually going to pretend that I made it," said Midtown Memphis customer Charlie Nelson, more than making up for Edwards' modesty.

"Just take really good ingredients and don't mess it up," said Edwards.

FRM2TBL. Table for one right here!

WHAT ANDY LIKES:  Old School Salmon Patties, Vegetable Plate, Pot Roast, Bahn You/Bahn-Mi Pork Sandwich, Roasted Chicken Cobb Salad

THIS WEEK'S SCORES:

{ANDY'S NOTE:  The Memphis-Shelby County Health Department inspected only three restaurants in the last week. Several of its environmentalists are on vacation}

Blue Suede, 4404 Elvis Presley Blvd., Whitehaven, 97 on July 7.

Club Superior, 1459 Elvis Presley Blvd., Orange Mound/South Memphis, 97 on July 7.

TCBY, 1641 N. Germantown Pkwy, Cordova, TN, 86 on July 8. 

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