Photo Credit: Heidi Harris

A very long and colorful road led Chef Jared Hucks to open his namesake restaurant just a few short miles from where he grew up.  Not only did that road wind through all corners of the globe – from across the States to South America, New Zealand to Australia, Southeast Asia to Africa and Western Europe to Scandinavia– but the cultures and culinary training he was exposed to along the way, gave him the next level culinary sensibility he showcases nightly at his restaurant, The Alden.

Growing up in the Atlanta suburb of what is now Brookhaven, Chef Jared was immediately drawn to restaurant work while working at the family owned La Strada Restaurant in Marietta. After graduating High School, his love for alpine sports and the outdoors drew him to Colorado, where he worked at several restaurants, working his way up to Sous Chef at both LaTour and the Vail Cascade Resort & Spa. During his time cooking at these restaurants, Hucks realized he wanted the foundation of formal culinary training to cultivate his passion, and he enrolled in The French Culinary Institute in New York City, where he later graduated with honors. 

While studying in New York, he had the opportunity to work for the Pellegrino family in their highly acclaimed Baldoria Restaurant in Midtown Manhattan.

With a strong culinary foundation, Hucks returned to Vail, where he was Chef de Cuisine at the four diamond, Chaps Grill and Chophouse.  In 2006, looking to broaden his palate and experience, Chef Hucks made the life changing decision to sell everything he owned and take off on what he thought would be an 18-month gastronomic adventure around the world.

His first stop was Latin America, where he immersed himself in the culture and food, talking to everyone he met, trying spices, ingredients, and dishes he’d never heard of before.  After a brief expedition of Central America, Hucks went on to tour and cook in South American and New Zealand, then landed a year-long tenure as Chef de partie at the acclaimed restaurant, Guillaume at Bennelong, at the Sydney Opera House.

He then made his way to Southeast Asia, with extensive travel through Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, learning about the people and their cultures. Hucks was then recruited by the Baan Rim Pa Restaurant Group to become Head Chef at Da Maurizio Restaurant in Phuket, Thailand. He spent the next two years playing an integral role in the advancement of the quality of Da Maurizio’s award-winning menu.

His time with Da Maurizio included a trip to Italy for training in the kitchen of Zi Peppe Restaurant outside of Rome, as well as a gastronomic tour through the northern region of the country. Having always dreamt of working and living in Europe, it was during this time in Italy that Hucks began planning his return, with a goal of working in one of the world’s most celebrated restaurants.  Exactly a year later, Hucks left Thailand to fulfill his ambition to work in a 3 Michelin star restaurant in Spain.  Just a few months later, he was invited to work for one year at Restaurant Arzak, in San Sebastian, Spain under internationally celebrated Chefs Juan Mari and Elena Arzak.

Hucks spent the following year soaking up knowledge and honing his craft under Chef Juan Mari Arzak, known as the Godfather of New Basque cuisine. Arzak was impressed with his talents and was instrumental in helping Hucks obtain the stage he had been working his way towards, cooking at the #1 rated restaurant in the world, NOMA in Denmark.  Hucks apprenticed, working in all areas of the kitchen, for two months, before the restaurant closed for their annual break.  From there, he went on to cook alongside one of Scotland’s preeminent chefs, Jim Cowie, known for his sustainable seafood acumen.

What was supposed to be an 18-month trip, turned into a seven-year global gastronomic education that molded Hucks into the thoughtful, artistic chef he is today.  When he returned home, he launched Dogwood Table, a pop-up brand focused on “artful dining in artful spaces,” where his conceptualized artistic food drew a devoted following.

In 2016 he signed a lease for a space in Parkview on Peachtree, a brand-new multi-use development in Chamblee, just a short distance from the Brookhaven home where he grew up. In 2018 Hucks opened The Alden, which he designed himself with the help of his Architect/friend Andy Amor and his mother Emily, with fixtures and blown glass crafted by his brother, internationally acclaimed glass artist Rob Stern.

Since opening, Chef Hucks has obtained his own following, with guests coming from all parts of the country to experience his inspired seven-course tasting menu. Guests gather around his Chef’s Counter and are immersed in the theatrical experience, watching, and savoring one artistic masterpiece after another.

He has taken several chefs under his wing, much like Chefs Guillaume Brahimi and Juan Mari Arzak did for him. Huck’s fundamental passion for fostering talent and providing a stage for chefs to experiment and grow in their craft is also on full display at The Alden.