Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman began their studies separately at the University of Mississippi and Auburn University, respectively. Inspired by big families, influential Italian grandmothers, and their long friendship, they embarked on their culinary training together at Johnson & Wales University in Charleston, South Carolina, and then at the Italian Institute for Advanced Culinary Studies in Calabria, Italy.
Upon returning to Memphis, Andrew and Michael studied under a local master chef before opening their two restaurants, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, in 2008, and Hog & Hominy, in 2012, and have since earned much critical success. Together, Andrew and Michael were named semifinalists for the James Beard Foundation's Best Chef Southeast titles in both 2012 and 2013. Their second restaurant, Hog & Hominy, was named by GQ magazine as one of the most outstanding restaurants of 2013. In addition, the chefs were selected among nine others as Food & Wine magazine's best new chefs for 2013.
Their first cookbook, Collards & Carbonara: Southern Cooking, Italian Roots, was published in 2013 and features traditional Southern ingredients blended with classic Italian techniques – a truly unique style of cooking.
Andrew and his wife, Karie, have a son, Drew. Michael and his wife, Katie, have two children, Cory and Ellie.
Q: You both grew up in big Italian families. How did that influence your approach to food?
Michael: When I was growing up, Maw Maw, the matriarch of our family, lived in my parents' house, and we had a very special bond that revolved around food. I loved watching her as she ran the pasta machine with her girlfriends and accompanying her to the market, learning that half a shopping bag of greens is only enough for two people. I will never forget the way her saffron risotto with chicken gizzards influenced my entire upbringing, or how her biscuit-dough doughnuts were always the greatest surprise for my brother, Richard, and me. Maw Maw loved to feed people and to make her family happy. I have that inherent desire as well, and today I am the product of Maw Maw informing and inspiring my passion.
Andrew: Every Sunday after church, I had Sunday meals with the family. I will never forget those meals and the miracle of food that came each week. My maternal grandmother, Memaw, and paternal grandparents, Maw Maw and Paw Paw, would prepare meals of smoked Boston butt, lasagna and amazing tomato gravy for cousins, uncles and aunts. They would wake up at 6 a.m. to pray and start cooking directly afterward for our 11:30 arrival. Those special Sundays and memories are why I do what I do today. I cannot wait to watch my son grow up and enjoy the same.