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a plate of food on a table

We’re incredibly excited to bring you our latest Port City Plate Podcast episode featuring the esteemed Chef Jim Smith, a culinary mastermind with a rich history in the Alabama food scene. This episode is guaranteed to whet your appetite as we dive deep into Chef Jim’s inspiring career.

Starting as a roller-skating car hop at Sonic in Troy, Jim Smith journeyed through the culinary world, honing his skills and crafting a career marked by passion and perseverance. We explore his transition from Sonic to culinary school at Johnson and Wales, and his subsequent work in Birmingham’s distinguished restaurants, where he first met future Alabama First Lady, Diane Bentley. The connections he made set the path for his appointment as the Executive Chef for the state of Alabama.

Smith’s love for local Alabama produce and his culinary expertise led him to be crowned King of American Seafood at the Great American Seafood Cook-Off in 2011. In our conversation, he reveals behind-the-scenes details of the competition, and how the win helped bolster his national profile.

But his journey didn’t stop there. You might recognize Chef Jim from his impressive performance on the hit Bravo show, Top Chef. During his time on the show, he effectively showcased Alabama’s vibrant food culture to a nationwide audience, which undoubtedly helped to further his career.

Today, Chef Jim Smith channels his wealth of experience into his own highly-rated restaurant, The Hummingbird Way, in Mobile. From the story behind the whimsical name, to the creative process behind the ever-changing menu, Smith shares insights on running a restaurant known for its commitment to local and regional ingredients.

We also dive into what it’s like to serve two different governors, his role as Chairman of the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission, and his views on Mobile’s growing recognition as a food town. With fascinating stories and insightful reflections, Chef Smith offers a candid glimpse into his life and career.

Join us for this episode of the Port City Plate Podcast for a delightful and engaging conversation with Chef Jim Smith. Whether you’re a food enthusiast, a budding chef, or simply someone who appreciates a good story, this episode is for you.