• Top Chef: Jeremy Noffke

    Jeremy Noffke, 40, was born in Charleston, Ill., and grew up in Hattiesburg. The Purple Parrot Cafe Chef is father to a son, Ethan, and a daughter, Brooklyn, and is expecting his third child this month. In addition to being a certified professional chef, Noffke received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Southern Mississippi. Chef Noffke was the recipient of Signature Magazine’s Best of the Pine Belt’s 2015 and 2016 award for Best Local Chef, and was featured as a contestant on Season 1 of Food Network’s “Re-Wrapped.”

  • Top Chef: Katie Dixon

    Katie Newman Dixon, 33, hails from Brookhaven where she graduated from Brookhaven Academy in 2001. The personal trainer, nutritional planner, retail associate and chef at Shine Cafe attended Mississippi College before transferring to the University of Southern Mississippi. She graduated from USM in 2005 with a Bachelor’s degree in marketing and business. While at Southern Miss she was a cheerleader on the co-ed squad. The Brookhaven/Lincoln County representative was crowned Mississippi’s Miss Hospitality in 2002. She and husband, Todd, have two daughters, Stevee Kate and Risi.

  • Top Chef: Chris Hackbarth

    Chris Hackbarth, 27, of Hattiesburg attended the University of Iowa. He lived in Italy for 16 months, Japan, New York and San Francisco. He opened SouthBound in 2004 after moving to Hattiesburg from San Francisco. Married to Heidi Hackbarth, they have one killer dog, Indie, and one cuddler, Leia. He is a two-year cancer survivor.

    What's one ingredient that you can't live without?
    My wife, Heidi


    What’s your favorite type of music to listen to when cooking? 
    Classic Hip Hop


  • Top Chef: Ken Strickland, Strick's

    Ken Strickland, 52, attended Sacred Heart, Forrest County AHS and Pearl River Community College. He and wife, Trisha, have three sons – Dustin, Britton and Carrington and their first grandchild was due at any moment.
    Strick’s has been recognized as Best BBQ in the ‘Burg and received the People’s Choice Award at the Downtown BBQ Jam.

    What’s one ingredient that you can't live without?

    What’s your favorite type of music to listen to when cooking?
    Laid-back beach music

  • Top Chef: Roger Bickham, Movie Star

    Roger Bickham, 80,  is head chef and part owner of Movie Star Restaurant. Movie Star is a family restaurant in nearly every sense of the word. Roger took over part ownership when his wife, Ann, passed away in 2004, and his daughter, Lori, and granddaughter, Jordan, both of Purvis, also work with him. With a staff of around 25, Bickham also describes his team as “one big happy family.” Bickham was a former chemist and toxicologist in a Texas crime lab, and also worked for Hess oil, where he blended gas and diesel fuel.

  • Top Chef: Julie May, Asiago Cheese Cafe

    Dr Julie May (age 44) grew up in Baton Rouge, LA with two older brothers and a younger stepbrother.  She received her undergraduate degree from LSUMC in Occupational Therapy and her PhD from USM in Biological Sciences with an emphasis in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience.  She conducted her postdoctoral research at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge in the area of obesity and caloric restriction, and then returned to Hattiesburg where she served on faculty as an anatomy professor at William Carey for 10 years.  She has a popular food blog, Menu Musings of a Modern Am

  • Top Chef: Vinh Dang, Georgia Blue

    Vinh Dang, 34, grew up in Thamesmead, London, with his parents, two brothers and one sister. He attended Westminster Kingsway College in London. While in London, he worked at One Adlwych Hotel, where he won numerous awards for his cooking. He relocated to Hattiesburg after meeting his wife, who is originally from Laurel. They have one son. 


    What’s one ingredient that you can't live without?

    What’s your favorite type of music to listen to when cooking?

  • Top Chef: Tom White, Bianchi's

    Tom White is the chef-owner of Bianchi’s Pizzeria in downtown Hattiesburg. His Italian-immigrant ancestry inspires the menu. In 2002, Tom opened 206 Front, helping jumpstart the revitalization of Historic Hattiesburg where he lives, works and plays to this day. After much success, he was able to open a second restaurant, Bianchi’s Pizzeria, in 2007. While attending Southern Miss, he acquired the passion for the industry working at Chesterfield’s and Purple Parrot/Crescent City.

  • Top Chef: Leo Dopico, Leo's Cuban Kitchen

    Leo Dopico, 58, grew up in Havana, Cuba, where he was an attorney. He and his wife, Carmen, have one son, Leo Jr. After briefly living in Mexico, Leo and his family moved to the United States and made Hattiesburg their home. Leo’s passion has always been cooking traditional Cuban dishes, and he dreamed of opening a restaurant. His dream was realized in November when he and Carmen opened Leo’s Cuban Kitchen. He and his family consider there to be no greater honor than being U.S. citizens in the most wonderful country in the world.

  • Top Chef: Jamie Page, Versus Clean Kitchen

    Jamie Page, 32, is an Oak Grove High School graduate. She graduated from Mississippi State University with a fine arts degree with an emphasis in graphic design. She and husband, Brian Page, have a 5-year-old son, Bishop Page. Brian is a chiropractor in Hattiesburg. I am a coach at Versus Strength and Conditioning and creator of Clean Kitchen, and online nutrition coaching program.

    What’s one ingredient that you can't live without ?  
    It’s a tie… garlic or Parmasean cheese

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