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Chef Frank Stitt of Birmingham, Ala.

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"American food has been on an incredibly fast track. Thirty years ago, I found it essential to go to Europe and study to find out what was going on in food, and I think that's no longer essential. That's a real radical change. And Southern regional food was not thought of in a positive light. It was mostly inferior ingredients that were sought after because they were cheap."

— Chef Frank Stitt of Birmingham, Ala., from a recent interview with the industry publication Nation's Restaurant News, reflecting on changes in the dining scene since he opened his Highlands Bar and Grill in 1982.

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