Augusta native Jeremy Miller is one of those people who just knew what he wanted to do in life. After graduating from Davidson Fine Arts in 2000, he set out to achieve his dream of becoming a chef. He got his start in local kitchens like French Market Grille, where he worked as a busboy and dishwasher before graduating to peeling shrimp and cooking hot appetizers. “The high stress and energy of that kitchen was something that captivated me,” Miller shares. He attended culinary school at The Art Institute of Atlanta, including a study abroad stint in Italy, and traveled across South East Asia, exploring places like Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
Armed with his degree, globe-trotting experience and passion, Miller set out to work at some of the finest restaurants in the country. In New York City, he honed his technique and developed a keen appreciation for flavors under the tutelage of chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, first at Nougatine and then at the Michelin-starred Jean-Georges. On the West Coast, he learned how to cook from the mind as well as the heart at The French Laundry, chef Thomas Keller’s hyper-seasonal Napa Valley restaurant. After these seminal experiences, he went on to top jobs in Alaska, San Francisco and Atlanta, before returning to Augusta where he now serves as the Executive Chef at Champions Retreat, a 27-hole private golf club, where he oversees the Grille House, private events and in-cottage dining. He’s thrilled to be back home, saying, “My experience outside of Augusta has allowed me to experience food elsewhere, to take those experiences and translate them to the food that I know Augustans enjoy.”
You likely recognize braised pork shank, but for his winter menu, Miller took the Southern staple on a detour through South East Asia by braising it in a mixture of molasses, soy, Asian pears and lemongrass, and garnishing it with cilantro and a refreshing apple, celery and jalapeño salad. For the special prix-fixe Masters Week menu, he’s pulling out all the stops, including a stunning seared halibut served with an earthy truffle purée and fresh peas, and a show-stopping soufflé that’s finished tableside with raspberry crème anglaise. Arguably one of the best parts of his job is tasting his creations, but at home, Miller and his family follow a vegan lifestyle. While the perennially popular Wednesday burger night will remain a Grille House fixture, he’s developing more vegetable-forward dishes for spring, like vegetable flatbread, crispy baby artichokes with dips, and warm grain salads.
Korean BBQ Carrot Wrap with Vietnamese Herbs
This wholesome veggie wrap recipe is a favorite in the Miller household. Chef Miller relies on a Korean pepper paste called gochujang to deliver flavor that he describes as a “spicy umami bomb!”
6 whole baby carrots
Korean BBQ Sauce (recipe follows)
Korean Short Grain Rice (recipe follows)
1 large raw collard green leaf
1 cucumber, cut into matchsticks
Cilantro, mint and Thai basil, roughly chopped
White sesame seeds, toasted
Blanch baby carrots until a bit under cooked, still crunchy. Dry with a towel and season with salt, pepper and oil and grill until charred.
While hot, toss carrots with sliced shallots and Korean BBQ sauce.
On top of the large collard green leaf, lay down warm Korean short grain rice and top with BBQ carrots.
Add the cucumber matchsticks, herbs and sesame seeds. Wrap like a burrito and enjoy!
Korean BBQ Sauce
1oz rice wine vinegar
1oz low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp sugar
6 Tbsp gochujang paste
1.5oz sesame oil
Mix all ingredients except sesame oil in a bowl until sugar dissolves. Add to blender and slowly add sesame soil
to emulsify the mixture. Strain and set aside.
Korean Short Grain Rice
11.5 cups short grain rice (or sushi rice)
1.5 cups plus
4 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp salt
Rinse rice until water runs clear. Add rice and water to a pot, bring to a boil and immediately turn down heat to low. Let simmer until cooked, roughly 15-17 minutes. Fluff with a fork and season with rice wine vinegar and salt.
This article appears in the April 2017 issue of Augusta Magazine.