Great Southern Cafe, South Walton
Chef Jim Shirley is a restauranteur in South Walton, Florida, owning Great Southern Café and 45 Central Wine Bar in Seaside, Florida, as well as The Bay Restaurant at the southern foot of the Highway 331 bridge over Choctawhatchee Bay in South Walton. He is also co-owner of Meltdown on 30A in Seaside and grocerant Baytowne Provisions in Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.
Jim was previously the president of the Northwest Florida FRLA chapter and previous to that a president of the Escambia County chapter. He is currently the treasurer of the FRLA Educational Foundation, which heads up the Pro-Start Program — teaching high school age kids culinary skills. Jim sits on the board of the Children’s Home Society and the Seaside Neighborhood School.
Governor Rick Scott chose Jim to represent Florida in the 2015 Great American Seafood Cook-Off. Jim has been invited to cook at the James Beard House in New York City four times. He is author of the cookbook, “Good Grits! Southern Boy Cooks,” a compilation of his best recipes along with entertaining stories.
His community spirit has led him to honor governmental relations, education, and training toward championing sustainable agriculture and fishery practices at the urban edge.