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Thomas Hill Joins Drift Fish House and Oyster Bar as Executive Chef

Drift Fish House & Oyster Bar Executive Chef Thomas Hill. Photo by Heidi Geldhauser

Drift Fish House & Oyster Bar has a new executive chef on board: Thomas Hill. Hill has reunited with Drift owner and restaurateur Doug Turbush, with whom he originally worked at Atlanta’s Bluepointe in 2008, to bring seasonal seafood dishes with progressive flavor combinations to East Cobb diners. 

“It’s such a pleasure to be working with Tom again,” says Turbush. “Our guests will really appreciate his passion for seasonality and his ability to bring out the natural beauty of the ingredients he uses.”

“Spending nearly five years on the West Coast shaped how I look at food and the way I think it should be treated,” says Hill, whose culinary career took him to Oregon and Alaska. “I want to introduce our guests to ingredients they don’t normally have access to and show them how a focus on seasonality and ingredient-driven dishes can completely change the dining experience.”

New additions to the Drift menu so far include fall and winter flavors such as roasted pumpkin ravioli with shrimp; New Bedford sea scallops with brown butter cauliflower puree, prosciutto and maple sage vinaigrette; and roasted beet salad with pistachios, pomegranate, fennel and goat cheese.

Prior to Drift, Hill served in the kitchens of Turbush’s other restaurants – Seed Kitchen & Bar and Stem Wine Bar – after moving to Atlanta from Portland, Oregon, where he had been working at Le Pigeon under Gabriel Rucker. Hill credits Rucker for shaping both his culinary style and the way he views his role as executive chef. “Watching Gabe made me realize that I want to be the kind of chef who still works on the line and is part of the entire process of running a restaurant and not just the finished product,” he says.

Hill is a Georgia native who got a taste of the restaurant industry during high school, bussing tables and washing dishes until he worked his way up to line cook. Upon graduating from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Atlanta, he went on to work as lead poissonnier at Rathbun’s before moving to Homer, Alaska, to serve as lodge chef at Within the Wild Adventure Co. In both of these positions, Hill worked primarily with fish, honing his technique and continuously developing new recipes and menus. In 2011, he moved to Portland, Oregon, to work for Little Bird Bistro and Le Pigeon, where creativity was encouraged and no dishes were off limits. From these career experiences, Hill developed a penchant for making fine dining more accessible by injecting familiar home-style dishes with pristine ingredients and exciting flavor profiles to pull diners out of their comfort zones.

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