February Chef of the Month: Chris Sherrill of Flora-Bama Yacht Club

Photo by Courtland William Richards

Name: Chef Chris Sherrill

Name of Restaurant: Flora-Bama Yacht Club in Orange Beach, AL

Restaurant Phone Number: 850-483-6272

Where were you born and raised?

Eufaula, Alabama

What inspired you to become a chef?

PBS cooking shows watching Justin Wilson, John Folse, Paul Prudhomme, and Emeril Lagasse.

Where did you train to become a chef?

Johnson & Wales University in Charleston SC.

What others jobs, if any, have you worked within the food industry?

Every single job within the restaurant business I have worked it.

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

I have had the privilege to cook for hundreds of notable people. I have cooked for football legends, incredible musicians, a handful of actors, one movie set, and other celebrity chefs. If I had to pick though, it would be Chef John Folse. I grew up watching him on TV and then worked with him on a handful of projects. We cooked together for the Robertson family of Duck Dynasty.

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

I would begin by opening inner-city culinary schools for underprivileged and at-risk teens in the big cities in Alabama. I would help invest in a restaurant concept for someone with a great business plan. I would invest in oyster reefs, offshore reefs, and finally put money into my own nonprofit NUISANCE Group so that my members and my board could push our agendas and keep food waste down and the desire for underutilized fish up! Then I would take my family to Australia, Europe, and Southeast Asia. I would insure my children were educated in the best universities and buy them modest homes. I’d buy a large tract of land and have a fantastic hunting lodge. I’d pick my two favorite charities, which are both military-based, and fund them fully. Lastly, and not because this is an AGS questionnaire, I would fund Alabama Gulf Seafood fully so that they can continue to grow and then continue their mission.

What are your favorite hobbies?

Coin collecting, metal detecting, fishing, hunting. Making underutilized fish, flora, and fauna become sought-after food items.

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

I love my personal hand-caught fish. I love fresh Gulf fish that me and my family catch. I cast net for shrimp and those are amazing too. The ultimate dish would be a blackened local fresh fish with shrimp scampi-style topping and even top that with fresh-picked local blue crab. A squeeze of locally grown Meyer lemon. Finished with some creamy Alabama stone-ground grits

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

I’d become a history teacher or an archeologist. Indiana Jones maybe?

What makes Alabama Gulf Seafood special?

When you look at the coastal history of Alabama and the Gulf Coast, there is so much pride and heritage that goes into procuring our bountiful seafood, and that in turn helped cultivate the communities we see today. From boat builders to net makers, each part of our Gulf Coast has a story to tell. Our seafood is some of the most sought-after in the world! When you think of shrimp, you think Alabama. When you see fresh Red Snapper hit some of the country’s best restaurants and know it came from your home waters, there is a tremendous sense of pride. The spirit that surrounds our people shines through on every oyster and every crab that gets served. I believe in Alabama Gulf Seafood and love it!