Alabama for Foodies: Part I Episode: Travels with Darley

Chef Scott Peacock biscuit making with Darley Newman in Alabama's Blackbelt
Chef Scott Peacock biscuit making with Darley Newman in Alabama's Blackbelt

Explore food, culture, and history as Darley embarks on a culinary journey through Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, and Marion in Alabama’s Blackbelt in “Travels with Darley: Alabama for Foodies Part I.” She meets James Beard award-winning chefs in Birmingham and discovers the favorite spots of Crimson Tide coaches, athletes, students, and fans on game days. Darley also visits the restaurant that inspired “Fried Green Tomatoes” and concludes her trip in Marion, where Civil Rights history, biscuit making, and organic farming converge.

Chefs, entrepreneurs and restaurants featured in Tuscaloosa include Sharon Thomas and Michael Thomas at Thomas’ Rib Shack, Dreamland BBQ CEO Betsy McAtee, Seth Wright at Druid City Brewing Company, Rama Jama’s with Dr. Margaret Stran of the University of Alabama’s Adapted Athletics program and The Crimson Tide Women’s Wheelchair Basketball team, Jeanie Brown at City Cafe in Northport and Carla Moltz at Nick’s in the Sticks.

Next, Darley visits Birmingham, where award-winning chefs put an emphasis on sourcing quality ingredients from local farmers they know and trust, like Chef Chris Hastings of Hot and Hot Fish Club, a James Beard Award winner for Best Chef South. Chef Hastings takes Darley to The Market at Pepper Place to source more local ingredients. You have to try seafood if you’re traveling in Alabama. At Automatic Seafood and Oysters, housed in an old sprinkler manufacturing plant, Chef Adam Evans introduces Darley to oysters from the southern and eastern United States coastlines.

Honored as an American Classic Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation, The Bright Star in Bessermer was founded by Tom Bonduris, who came to Bessemer from Greece in the early 1900s. The Bright Star’s Andreas Anastassakis introduces Darley to his family’s legacy, their famous snapper throats and where football legends dine at this family-run and popular restaurant. Darley then travels outside of Birmingham to Irondale Cafe, made famous by author Fannie Flagg in her book, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, which was later made into a major movie starring Kathy Bates, Jessica Tandy and Mary Louise Parker.

In Alabama’s Blackbelt in Marion, we make biscuits with Chef Scott Peacock, named “”Best Chef in the Southeast”” by the James Beard Foundation. His biscuits have graced the cover and pages of numerous publications, including the New York Times and Gourmet. We learn about the First Congregational Church of Marion, which Mary Moore helped get on the National Register of Historic Places. It was established in 1869 at the Lincoln School by freed slaves and representatives of the American Missionary Association.

Outside of downtown Marion, Darley heads to BDA Farm to explore regenerative farming with Mark Harris, a fourth-generation farmer who works to make food healthier and tastier through natural means.

Learn more about this episode at and watch it on PBS and streaming. Follow and subscribe to the new “”Travels with Darley”” podcast on iHeart, Spotify, Audible, Amazon, Google, Apple and wherever you listen to your favorite podcast.”