Name: Chef Jeffrey Compton
Restaurant: Acre in Auburn, AL
Restaurant Website: acreauburn.com
Restaurant Phone: 334-246-3763
Where were you born and raised?
I was born and raised in the South, baby! From Alabama to Destin, FL, with family roots in Biloxi, MS.
What inspired you to become a chef?
As a teenage cook growing up on the Gulf Coast, I found a growing love for the organized chaos inside a restaurant. I moved to Auburn, AL to gain an accounting degree and worked for David Bancroft at Acre part time while going to school. This is where I revived my love and passion for food. I soon realized I did not want to spend the rest of my career behind a desk, so I quit school to pursue my real career as a chef.
Where did you train to become a chef?
In the trenches! I was trained through many grueling hours as a line cook and sous chef at a variety of restaurants on the Gulf. Asking as many questions and working as much as possible to learn the craft. Any off time I had was normally digging through recipe books to learn different techniques that were not taught to me directly.
What other jobs, if any, have you worked within the food industry?
I managed a food vending and catering company called Sunside Catering. We basically traveled the South setting up kitchens at music festivals and cooking for thousands of people at a time.
What does your typical workday involve?
My days here at Acre consist of bridging the gap between the community, farmers, and food. I work with local farmers and seafood purveyors to develop menus that fall in line with the tides of the season. Mentoring my staff throughout the whole process.
Who is the most notable person you’ve ever cooked for?
If you won the lottery, how would you spend your winnings?
I would start a sustainable farm and event space with a restaurant and horse stable on site.
Why do you believe your current restaurant is one of the best in the state?
I think it dwindles down to the culture that we have here at Acre. Everyone generally enjoys coming to work because we have developed a family within the establishment. A family that is passionate about their craft and loves nothing more than to share that passion. There is a mutual respect among all staff to hold each other accountable for the standards that we have created. I believe when you have an environment like that within any business, it’s going to rise to the top.
What’s your favorite seafood dish to serve up for yourself and your family?
A good ol’ seafood boil with potatoes, corn, Conecuh sausage, and tons of butter and spices.
What makes Alabama Gulf Seafood special?
It’s a nostalgia thing for me. More of a tradition. No matter what I cook, it tends to revolve around the seafood I grew up fishing and cooking.