Editor's note: The Southern Foodways Alliance delves deep in the history, tradition, heroes and plain old deliciousness of barbecue across the United States. SFA oral historian Amy Cameron Evans wrote this remembrance of pitmaster Ralph Parker.
It saddens us to share news that the barbecue community has lost another legend. Ralph Parker, the last surviving original founder of Parker’s Barbecue, passed away on July 4 at the age of 89.
Editor's Note: Kelly English is the chef/owner of Restaurant Iris in Memphis, Tennessee. English was named one of Food & Wine magazine's Best New Chefs in 2009. In 2010, he was named a James Beard Award Semifinalist for Best Chef: Southeast.
At three o'clock on a Friday afternoon, like clockwork, my phone starts to ring. It is one of my friends from college; he forgot his anniversary and needs a table tonight. I am forced to tell him one of my least favorite things: No. It's not in a chef's DNA to tell people "no" - we hire front-of-house people for that.
“We have known each other for years, you must be able to put me somewhere,” he said.
I really wish I could.
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