Chef of the Month: Adam Evans of Automatic Seafood & Oysters

Name: Chef Adam Evans

Name of Restaurant: Automatic Seafood & Oysters

Restaurant Address:2824 5th Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233

Restaurant Phone Number: (205) 580-1600


Where were you born and raised?

Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

What inspired you to become a chef?

It just sort of happened. I needed a job during college, so I worked one summer down at the Grand Hotel in the kitchen and fell in love. That was it. I went back after graduation and couldn’t get enough, so I moved to New Orleans and kept going from there. It was something that had always been in my life, but at this moment I realized it would be my profession.

Where did you train to become a chef?

A classroom setting is not for me. I learn while doing and then go home and read and educate myself to do better the next day. I learned so much from each chef that I worked for, and when I moved to NYC and got a job at Craft Restaurant, it was like culinary school for me. Not only did I learn so much about the technical aspect of cooking, I learned how sourcing the best ingredients is maybe the most important step of the process.

What does your typical workday involve?

Receiving our seafood, produce, and meat deliveries in the morning, creating the menu with my team centered around our daily deliveries, highlighting the best and combining flavors. Meeting with my wife on various aspects of owning and operating a small business, prepping new dish for the menu. Making our family meal by 4:00 so we can all eat, meet, and get ready to open dinner service at 5:00. Except on the weekends, when we open for brunch…on Saturday and Sunday we start the process earlier and do it twice in one day! It’s really helpful to have the farmers’ market right down the street at Pepper Place so I can connect with the farmers for any last-minute needs.

Who is the most notable person you’ve ever cooked for?

Bill Clinton, Jay-Z and Beyonce, Will Ferrell…but I was actually star-struck by Mick Jagger. That one was epic for me!

If you won the lottery, how would you spend your winnings?

On a beach house where I could build my own oyster farm.

If you weren’t a chef, what line of work would you pursue?

I would want to work for the “state department,” a.k.a. the CIA.

Auburn or Alabama?

War Damn Eagle! Class of 2002.

What’s your favorite seafood dish to serve up for yourself and your family?

My favorite has to be a fish that I personally catch and get to clean and cook. The process from start to finish thrills me every time.

What makes Alabama Gulf Seafood special?

I think that what is so special about the Gulf is what we don’t already know about. It continues to surprise me throughout the seasons what I can learn about. This past year, I have learned that there are native Gulf little neck clams, sunray venus clams, sea urchins, octopus, something called a shovel head lobster, a cusk eel that I thought only existed on the west coast, and many more. I am working on finding fisherman who will harvest fish using the ikejime method after catching.