Scotty Schwartz, Executive Chef and Owner of 29 South, interest in cooking was sparked at a young age by helping his mother in the kitchen. He entered the University of Georgia intending to focus on psychology and Spanish literature, but soon realized that, for him, cooking was more than a hobby. His change of career plans led him to the School of Culinary Arts in Atlanta, where he graduated valedictorian. As a student, he apprenticed at Carbos Café, one of Atlanta’s oldest fine dining establishments, and it was there that he gained an appreciation for the finer side of the culinary arts. "I became passionate about food and this passion has provided the drive that has led me to success."
Early in his career, Chef Schwartz’s culinary accomplishments included serving as executive chef at many of Atlanta’s best restaurants, as food stylist for National Pork Producers Council during the 1995 World Expo, and as a featured chef during the 1996 Olympic Games festivities. In 1998, he was ranked by Gourmet magazine as one of the top 25 chefs in Atlanta. Chef Schwartz was featured in 1998 on ABC World News Tonight in a report about cultural tourism and is a member of the prestigious Les Toques Blanches. In 2001, Chef Schwartz became a Regional Chef Specialist for ClubCorp based out of the Buckhead Club in Atlanta. In 2004, Chef Schwartz cooked for the James Beard House and Foundation as chef for the American Express Celebrity Chefs Tour. In 2006, Chef Schwartz left Atlanta to build 29 South, his award-winning restaurant located on Amelia Island in Fernandina Bch, FL.
Throughout his career, Schwartz has earned several culinary awards. In 2006, Folio Magazine awarded 29 South “Best New Restaurant Jacksonville.” He was twice awarded Folio Magazine’s “Best Chef Jacksonville” in 2007 and 2008. The following year, 29 South won the “Spirit of SlowFood Award” and a “Snail of Approval” from Slow Food First Coast. Florida Trend Magazine has awarded 29 South the coveted “Golden Spoon” from 2010 to present, recognizing it as one of the best restaurants in Florida. In 2011, his Coffee and Doughnuts dessert was given the title of one of the “South’s 50 Best Dishes” in Garden and Gun magazine. 29 South has been featured numerous times in Conde Naste Traveler magazine as a destination dining hotspot on Amelia Island. His recipes have been featured in a number of cookbooks including Cooking with Intuition (2010), The Southern Foodie: 100 Places to Eat in the South (2012), Southern Living’s Off the Eaten Path, On the Road Again: More Unforgettable Foods and Characters from the South’s Back Roads and Byways (2015), and The Chef’s Canvas (2016).
Chef Schwartz served on the International Advisory Board for the Florida WineFest as Culinary Chairman. He is also a Co-founder and Chef of the popular Legend Series, exclusive underground dining events in Northeast Florida.
He is involved in numerous charities and community events and is considered one of Jacksonville’s pioneers in the region’s farm-to-fork movement. His philosophy about cooking is to “baby” everything. Schwartz says, “When it comes to food, everything you smell, touch, or do has to be handled carefully because one act of carelessness can destroy the final product.” He adds that he always mindful that he is cooking for others and not his ego. “If I start with a perfect product, take care of it, and present it in a way that glorifies it, the least people can expect is something great.”