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Chef Spotlight on Evelyn Ling

For the cover story of our most recent print edition, we are excited to again be working with our sponsor San Pellegrino to shine a spotlight on nine talented men and women who are moving and shaking the Atlanta dining scene with new restaurants, concepts, and flavors. Their passion and creativity are setting new trends that are sure to elevate your dining experiences. In this post, we feature Chef Evelyn Ling who is currently creating memorable dining experiences at Pancake Social in Poce City Market.

Everyone in Chef Evelyn Ling’s family was in the restaurant business, including her parents who owned a small American- Chinese restaurant in Forsyth. It was part of the family routine for her and her siblings to help out after school and on weekends. While her brother and sisters preferred to work in front of house, Evelyn gravitated toward the kitchen. This is where it all started. Chef Ling pursued cooking seriously after high school, enrolling in The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and after, working for a short amount of time at The Greenbrier in West Virginia. When she returned home, she was incredibly eager to jump into Atlanta’s food scene. At that time, Bacchanalia was considered among the best restaurants in the city, and lucky for Ling, Chef Anne Quatrano was willing to take a chance on her. Five years later, Chef Ling finds herself opening Pancake Social at the ever-popular Ponce City Market.

DiningOut Magazine: What sets Atlanta’s dining scene apart from other Southern cities?

Chef Evelyn Ling: Other than a few Atlanta staples, there aren’t a lot of restaurants that come to mind that only focus on those traditional Southern classics. There is so much cultural diversity in the city now, that you can find just about anything.

Why choose Atlanta as the home for your culinary career? 

My family lives about an hour south of the city, so that played a big role for me at first. But Atlanta is also one of the fastest growing food cities in the country. New restaurants and cafes are opening every year, and the options are truly endless. There is something for everyone, whether you’re craving Korean barbeque, Malaysian curry and roti, a crawfish boil, a high-end steakhouse, late night tacos, the list goes on.

What seasonal ingredients can you find in Atlanta that you cannot find elsewhere?

Atlanta is home to some fantastic produce and fruit that, when in season, you’ll see on almost every menu. Peaches from Pearson Farm are a must from May to late August. The plump sweet flesh just can’t be beat. Muscadines and scuppernongs grow wild in Georgia, as well as a variety of mushrooms often harvested by a local forager. Highlighting fresh produce at its peak is a must, and we are excited to see what comes available in the upcoming months.

What food trends do you think are next to arrive in Atlanta? 

I see a rise in showcasing produce from small local farms. More people are venturing into urban farming now. People love the intimacy and connection you get, and the quality is fantastic. Also, grain and rice bowls, non-alcoholic beverage options, whole vegetable utilization, more Eastern and Middle-Eastern flavor profiles, and simplified plating.

Read the full article featuring “Chefs To Watch” in DiningOut Atlanta Magazine online.

By Denise Romeo, Atlanta City Editor watchlist