December 20, 2009
Ms. Liz Williams
Mr. Joe Sunsere
Southern Food and Beverage Museum
1 Poydras Street, #169
New Orleans, LA 70130
Dear Ms. Williams and Mr. Sunsere:
Re: Donation In Honor Of Chef Richard Alan Myrick (12/20/1964 to 5/7/2009)
The Family of Richard Alan Myrick wishes to donate his large and extensive culinary collection of cookbooks including first and second editions and collectibles to the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. We decided to donate to your museum because you lost your cookbooks in Hurricane Katrina. Chef Alan Myrick wanted to share his collection with culinary students and we understand that students from several culinary schools in your area will have this library available to them.
Chef Alan is an Atlanta, Georgia native, lived and went to high school in Marietta, Georgia, attended the Art Institute of Atlanta, School of Culinary Arts and became a member of the American Culinary Federation (ACF). After graduation, he worked with the Buckhead Life Group, Stouffer Renaissance Waverly, and the Marriott. Chef Alan was the Lead Pastry Chef, Chef de Cuisine, and Catering Chef for Kroger Corporation in the Atlanta area. He opened his own restaurant called Chef’s Café in Powder Springs, Georgia. Chef Alan managed the Main Street Bar and Grill in East Point, Georgia where he further trained in Cajun cuisine which became his favorite style of cooking. His teacher was a New Orleans trained chef. He also worked short-term assignments in restaurants setting up and organizing their kitchens, rewriting menus, assisting with their efficiency and bringing in revenue.
Local artist, Don Dougan, sculpted a Georgia Cherokee marble picture frame with Alan’s picture and an engraved brass plate to donate to the museum in Chef Alan’s memory with the culinary book collection. Don Dougan’s website is www.dondougan.com and his email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Richard Alan Myrick has a large family and the immediate members who participated in the cookbook project are: his mother, April Myrick; his brothers, R. Michael Myrick, Jr. and R. L. (Bobby) Myrick; and his sons, Richard Greyson Myrick, Joseph Alan Cundiff, and Christopher Shriver.
Chef Alan follows the family tradition as a Collector. His family is glad that his culinary collection is in a museum as his grandparents’ collections are in two other museums in the south (Joseph Alan Sellars and Louise S. Sellars’ antique tool collection is in the Funk Heritage Museum at Reinhardt College in Waleska, Georgia and the Sellars’ collection of art and paintings is in the Huntsville, Alabama Museum with a grand opening to be in the Fall of 2010).
His grandmother passionately helped him with his cookbook collection. Alan first fell in love with the art of cooking when he was a teenager. His grandmother trained him after she attended several French cuisine classes and he loved French cooking.
Thank you for allowing us to honor our loved one in this way. We love him; we miss him and we want him remembered for his talents and accomplishments.
April Myrick, Louise Sellars and Family
Additional Collection Donation received by
Meaghan Reid, Southern Food & Beverage Museum, New Orleans, La.
Chef Richard Alan Myrick
Heritage, passion, creativity and art are words used to describe the way Chef Richard Alan Myrick cooked. Few chefs are able to celebrate food in the way the Myrick became accustomed to. Family, friends and a loyal following of diners could sense his excellence for cooking when they tasted his dishes. His mother described his cuisine as incredibly “heavenly” and that eating the food could “heal your soul.” He achieved success in the culinary world that newbies to the food industry would envy. The repertoire that Myrick established for himself began much earlier, learning the art of cooking from generations before him.
As a teenager, Chef Myrick spent many hours in the kitchen with his grandmother. She was trained in French cuisine and passed her knowledge of French cooking on to her willing grandson. Thanks to his grandfather, Myrick developed a love for the outdoors and soon started his own strawberry, asparagus and herb garden. He tended to the garden with the utmost care. Chef Myrick and his grandmother began to spend time canning and drying the foods that he had grown. His grandparents taught him the art of older culinary traditions and the joy of what nature could provide. Being gifted with immense creativity, Chef Myrick used these talents towards a degree in the culinary field with the Art Institute of Atlanta, School of Culinary Arts.
Myrick gained several culinary accolades with his degree and passion for cooking. Only in his early 30s, Myrick quickly made a name for himself in the fast paced world of cooking. Chef Myrick was the lead pastry chef, chef de cuisine and catering chef for Kroger Corporation in the surrounding Atlanta area. He was the proud owner of Chef’s Café in Powder Springs, Georgia. The local police department and fire department were regulars at the café. They came not only for the food, but also for the creativity and energy that transferred from Myrick to his cooking.
Along with his restaurant, he managed the Main Street Bar and Grill in East Point, Georgia. During this time, Myrick was trained in cooking Cajun cuisine. . A trained New Orleans chef, who knew the true taste and quality of Cajun food, taught him the art and style of cooking it. With all of the uniqueness and history that Cajun cuisine possesses, it is easy to see why it became his favorite style of cooking. Chef Myrick took the knowledge he had gained from others and began helping those in need of direction. Because of his passion for food and generosity, he set out to help upcoming and older restaurants that needed guidance. He would work with restaurant staff to organize the kitchens, rewrite menus, update pricing and overall motivate the restaurants to work their hardest and please customers. Chef Myrick tended to the art of cooking just as a painter would tend to his creations.
Yet another accomplishment includes working with the cooking staff for the Atlanta Olympics in 1996. This specific group of outstanding chefs came together to create dishes for cooking competition held during the Olympics. Although this competition was separate from the Olympics, it was just as important and meaningful as winning the coveted gold medal.
Chef Myrick’s mother was able to learn from her son in his later years. He taught her how to keep a kitchen organized, properly cook specialty dishes and tell her about the love that goes into what you do. His mother will forever cherish the knowledge that he passed. He was led to cooking by heritage, mastered the art with his creativity and left a legacy because of his passion.
We are lucky to have items from his personal collection at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. The cookbook collection he acquired was carefully put together with the help of his grandmother and took a great amount of time and energy to obtain. His family wanted his treasures to be cherished just as Myrick had cherished them. April Myrick generously donated them to the museum for the safekeeping and opportunity for fellow foodies to view them. Our collection includes recipes that were collected over the years, books, cooking medals and degrees, antique cooking tools and a portrait of the chef. More donations are to follow in the months to come.
He will be featured in the museum’s donations wall with a few of his personal items. The donation wall will be used as a way to thank donors for their contribution to our museum. Our future library will have a memorial section dedicated to Richard Alan Myrick and display his cookbooks and cooking items. With such rich heritage and enthusiasm, the collection is one to be read through thoroughly. Chef Richard Alan Myrick is truly a chef to be celebrated and one to be missed.
By Meaghan Reid, Collections- Southern Food & Beverage Museum, New Orleans, La.