Monday, March 27, 2023

Snackbar’s Chef Vishwesh Bhatt Named Finalist for James Beard Best Chef South


The five eateries and one catering company that make up City Grocery Group is often known for John Currence, but the chefs he hires to oversee his restaurants are on par with the James Beard Award-winner.

10711073_832256303476180_2021970655396665393_nSnackbar’s Chef Vishwesh Bhatt was named one of five finalists for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef South. Other finalists are Justin Devillier of La Petite Grocery in New Orleans, Jose Enrique of Jose Enrique in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Slade Rushing of Brennan’s in New Orleans and Alon Shaya of Domenica in New Orleans.

Bhatt is a native of Gujarat, India, and has been a part of the City Grocery Restaurant Group for 16 years. From the start, Bhatt had his sights on working in the South. He joined Currence on the line at City Grocery in 2001 and has stayed with the restaurant group ever since.

Bhatt opened Snackbar in 2009 under the City Grocery umbrella, connecting Southern and subcontinental foodways on one menu. His work earned him a People’s Best New Chef nomination form Food & Wine in 2011. Snackbar has been recognized by local and national media as one of the finest restaurants in the South. The highlight of Vishwesh’s five years as Chef at Snackbar, has been the recognition by the James Beard Foundation, as a finalist for Best Chef South in 2014.

Bhatt has most recently been named Corporate Chef of City Grocery Restaurant Group to oversee kitchens at City Grocery, Snackbar, Big Bad Breakfast, Main Event Catering, and Lamar Lounge. He resides in Oxford with his wife Teresa and his two dogs, Pogo and Tula.

The 2015 James Beard Awards, hosted by Alton Brown, will be held at Lyric Opera of Chicago on Monday, May 4.

Amelia Camurati is editor of and can be reached at