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Holt    Clif Holt 
  Little Savannah Restaurant and Bar,
Birmingham, Alabama

Chef and Co-Owner Clif Holt brought a thick scrapbook of experiences before his leap into creating Little Savannah. Clif grew up in Cullman County, Alabama, a grower’s dreamland of fall sweet potatoes, watermelons, and summer squash gardens. Memories of folding meringue into pancake batter and dipping candies into dark chocolate with grandmother began his culinary history. After high school, Clif launched his world travels as a gunner’s mate and certified diver for the U.S. Navy before returning to North Alabama for a career in structural design. But, throughout his early adult years, he kept cooking for friends. He kept buying farm fresh produce. He kept returning to one thought: one day owning his own restaurant.

His break came from another Cullman kid, the world-acclaimed chef Frank Stitt. After a meal at Stitt’s Highlands Bar and Grill, Clif spoke to Frank and landed a kitchen audition within the month. Knowing this was his chance, he left a financial security for a $7.50 chance at following his vision.  Those Highland years fostered a natural talent with flavors and coached Clif on running a busy kitchen. Thousands of tartlets later, he felt alive and ready to continue the journey. Luckily, this time, he’d not be venturing solo. His partner in restaurant imagination and married life, Maureen, brought her food business savvy and Maitre D’ poise into the Little Savannah experiment. They said “I do” in Southern France, and four months later, moved into their second home, the shotgun space on Clairmont that continues to light up the neighborhood five nights a week.

Up until now, the chef’s working life has been like a slow simmering pot on the stovetop, where travel, home, and dreams have boiled down into one hell of a restaurateur.

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