Hastings grew up in the Carolinas where he would spend family vacations rounding up wild seafood and game for his family to cook. It’s no surprise that Southernness and seafood define his kitchen today.
In between years spent cooking for Atlanta’s Ritz Carlton and San Francisco’s Lark Creek Inn, Hasting worked under Frank Stitt at Birmingham’s esteemed Highlands Bar & Grill. He made his own mark when he returned to open the Hot & Hot Fish Club in 1995. Now a go-to destination for Alabama Gulf Seafood, the restaurant takes its name from Hastings’ great-great-grandfather’s preparation style—steaming from the fire and finished with spicy condiments.
Hastings has enough recognition to fill a trophy case. In February 2012 Hastings defeated Bobby Flay to be crowned champion of the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.” Only a few months later in May 2012 Chef Hastings won the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: South.