"The Mexican guys said, 'Let me do it, let me do it!' and they were peerless."
Bill Smith is an innovative, southern-cuisine chef famous for creating such unexpected culinary juxtapositions as honeysuckle sorbet—hot summer in a cool bite. The dessert’s main ingredient really is the flower, thousands of them, all gathered by hand. His peculiarly delicious tomato and watermelon salad was featured on the cover of last July’s Southern Living. For the past fifteen years, Bill has been the head chef at Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Before that, he was chef at La Residence, a French restaurant also in Chapel Hill, where I was lucky enough to have worked in his kitchen, along with what stood for restaurant labor in the 1980s: part-time graduate students, Vietnamese immigrants, a French chef with a visa, artists, and musicians who played in the many bands that call this college town home.