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The Jockey Club

Story and photos by Kathleen Walls

Dining at the Jockey club

If you want true Southern cooking then the Jockey Club located on the square in Washington, Georgia is the place to go. Now lots of restaurants brag that they have "The Best Southern Cooking" but the Jockey Club can back its statement up with some pretty convincing proof. They have their very own celebrity chef, Joe Barnett. Joe beat Bobby Flay in a recent Throwdown cooking his famous Shrimp and Cheese Grits. When I asked him why he was so sure he would win, Joe replied, "It's not a good idea to bet on a New Yorker cooking grits against a Georgia boy."

Joe and Kathleen at Jockey club
Photo credit G.W. Tibbits

Especially a "Georgia boy" who has appeared on the Martha Stewart Show and charmed both his hostess and the entire crew. Explaining his famous recipe, he told Martha, ?It will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, Sugar!?

In addition to these television appearances, Joe is the three time champion of the Georgia Wild Shrimp Festival in Jekyll Island.

 

Joe prepares his famous dish at the Jockey Club

In spite of his fame, Joe is easily mistaken for just another "good ol' Georgia boy." His boisterous laugh is infectious. it's impossible to feel down when you are around Joe. It's impossible to not enjoy his cooking also. The secret is Joe enjoys cooking so much it's fun not work for him. Actually, he is not the official chef at the Jockey club although his Shrimp and Cheese Grits dish is served exclusively there. However, if he is around he frequently gets back in the kitchen and cooks up some fun for all involved.

Last time I was at the Jockey club, Joe was there and cooked up some of his famous dish for us. I have to say it beats any New York cooking I ever tasted.

The famous Shrimp and Cheese Grits

He has recently begun hosting The Southern Heritage Culinary Experience held at the Livery beginning in May 2010. John Horton, owner of the Livery and The Jockey Club, collaborated with Joe to create a cooking weekend to promote Washington. Joe's celebrity status and his passion for the history behind food made him perfect for the event. He feels, ?There are three parts that are important to this town and that's food, the history of the food and the history of the town,?

The Jockey Club was founded in 1798 for the horse racing set to meet and discuss the races so the restaurant( not nearly as old) has a serious reputation to live up to. With Joe's help it does just that.

For more information:

Jockey Club
5 East Sq
Washington , GA 30673
706-678-1672

Provided by American Roads Travel Magazine - Visit American Roads Travel Magazine website.



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