Who makes the grade for Nashville's 'culinary Mount Rushmore'?

A paragon of the Nashville food scene, Chef Margot McCormack of Margot Café & Bar and nearby Marché Artisan Foods is beginning her fifth year on the Nashville Farmers’ Market Board. Earlier this year she was named a    semifinalist for Outstanding Chef    by the James Beard Foundation. Photo courtesy of  Nashville Scene .

A paragon of the Nashville food scene, Chef Margot McCormack of Margot Café & Bar and nearby Marché Artisan Foods is beginning her fifth year on the Nashville Farmers’ Market Board. Earlier this year she was named a semifinalist for Outstanding Chef by the James Beard Foundation. Photo courtesy of Nashville Scene.

“If the Metro Arts Commission ever decides Nashville’s next big piece of public art should be a Mount Rushmore of the city’s culinary heroes,” writes Chris Chamberlain in the Nashville Scene, “there’s a pretty easy case to be made that three of the figures included should be restaurateur Randy Rayburn and chefs Margot McCormack and Deb Paquette.” The story is part of the magazine’s celebration of turning 30.

McCormack, a member of the Nashville Farmers’ Market Board of Directors since 2014, tells Chamberlain about her early years in Nashville restaurants before coming back “full time” in 1995. She takes the opportunity to put in a good word for the culinary scene from a few decades ago. “There were some people doing good things,” she recalls. “And maybe it wasn’t the kind of food that is happening now, but it was the food that was happening then! It was the food that people liked, that people appreciated and supported.”

As for the restaurant scene today, “You just keep fanning the flames and eventually you’re gonna start a fire,” she says.

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David Gonnerman