People

Chef Jim Shirley Honored as 16th Van Ness Butler Jr. Award Winner

In 2020, Chef Jim Shirley received two honors, the first was becoming the 16th recipient of the Van Ness Butler Jr. Hospitality Award.

The award honors and recognizes excellence in the hospitality, service, travel/tourism, advertising and promotion industries, as well as contributions to the local community. Shirley’s contributions to the community throughout the years make him a natural choice for the honor.

Local Craftsman Chris Alvarado Building 50th Anniversary Woodstock Guitar

Chris Alvarado, Owner & Founder of Driftwood Guitars, has a new project to build a one-of-a-kind guitar in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock music festival. The neck of the guitar will be crafted out of wood from the historic Woodstock stage. Alvarado will be breathing new life into the stage wood from many years ago, adding to the musical heritage and legacy of Woodstock.

SoWal People: Gina Shiflett's Soulful Journey Across India

Gina Shiflett, the intrepid owner of Salon Twist in Seagrove, was returning home to South Walton from a three-week journey across India.

Her backpack in tow, bags overstuffed, back aching ... she plopped down beside a petite lady in an overcrowded Indian airport and asked, “Do you speak English?”

The lady replied, “Yes, I do!”

“In ten minutes, I probably knew more about her than I knew about my best friend,” exclaims Gina. “And she’s showing me pictures of everybody and thanking me profusely for my time.”

SoWal People: Jennifer Steele Art Scene Star

Jennifer Steele is a busy woman. Her role as the Executive Director of the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County keeps her busy enough. On top of that, she’s a mother, a partner, and the lead in the upcoming one-woman play “Bad Dates” presented by the Emerald Coast Theatre Company.

After a ten-year hiatus from the stage she’s back. Granted she has been doing other things, like producing the massively successful 30A Songwriter’s Festival and deploying the nation’s first Underwater Museum of Art.

Kerri Parker Named As Executive Director of Communications for Seaside

Seaside Community Development Corporation (SCDC) has named longtime local Kerri Parker as Executive Director of Communications. The new role was established to oversee public relations, commercial leasing, and marketing strategy for SCDC. Parker has two decades of experience in marketing, including commercial leasing. The years preceding joining Seaside, Parker owned a marketing consulting company named doGooD, and held the positions of Director of Marketing for Alys Beach, Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort, and 30Avenue.

Chef Jim Shirley at Forefront of SoWal Culinary Style

SoWal Chef Jim Shirley has imprinted his cooking style across the South Walton landscape with tasty offerings ranging from to-die-for grilled cheese creations to people-pleasing Paella.

The mild-mannered cookmeister sat down with me at his waterfront restaurant, The Bay, on a rain-drenched afternoon to share a little insight about his rise to culinary prominence.

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