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THE BIG FESTIVAL ABOUT SMALL CITIES
Tom Tom champions civic innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship in America’s hometowns.

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avatar for Curtis Shaver

Curtis Shaver

Hamilton's
Executive Chef
“Many young chefs flair up like a meteor flashing across the sky,” says Craig Hartman. “But a chef that spends a lifetime toiling in the kitchen has to have everything it takes to run a marathon of consistency.”

According to Hartman, Curtis Shaver of Hamiltons’, at 31, has what it takes.
Hartman first met Shaver when he hired him as a cook at Cornell University. Years later, Hartman recruited Shaver to come to Charlottesville to join him in the kitchen at Fossett’s. Shaver eventually moved on to become a sous chef at the beloved Duner’s restaurant, a position he held until earlier this year, when he took his first head chef job, at Hamiltons’.

There, Shaver is letting loose, using what he calls “a modern Southern approach to good honest food,” with some Mediterranean and other worldly flavors thrown in, like the ancho chili, one of his favorite ingredients.

“It is a staple in a lot of my recipes,” says Shaver. “I like the dark roasted flavor it has, and the subtle sweet-to-heat ratio.”

Shaver sees the Charlottesville food scene as one that’s gaining momentum alongside the local food movement, with simple preparations of ingredient-driven food, freshly sourced from the area’s rich agricultural tradition.

He thinks that lends itself well to a customer base that wants dining to feel casual and comfortable.
“I think that the general public isn’t eating as much or wanting to sit down for hours at a time,” he says. “Good quality food that’s not very hard to explain to the customers”—that’s what he is striving to make. “I’m not trying to do anything too overly sophisticated for anybody.”



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