Chef Jim Shirley Receives FRLA Torch Award 2022


Chef Shirley Jim received the 2022 Torch Award presented by the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) at the organization’s Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show in Orlando. The award was presented during the FRLA fall board meeting Nov. 3 at the Caribe Royale Resort.

Shirley owns the Great Southern Café, The Meltdown on 30A, The Bay, Farm & Fire, North Beach Social and The Chicken Shack in South Walton and is co-owner of Great Southern Restaurants, which owns The Fish House, The Atlas Oyster House, The Fish House Deck Bar and others in Pensacola.

A Pensacola native, Shirley uses his knowledge of local waters and family farming histories to promote “New Ruralism,” a movement to champion sustainable agriculture at the urban edge. He is chair of the state board of directors of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association and a past president of the association’s Northwest Florida Chapter, founder and president of the Society of Great Southern Chefs, and a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance. He is also one of the five distinguished Celebrity Chefs of Pensacola and has cooked at the James Beard House numerous times.

“To join the ranks of previous recipients, including Thomas Keller, Geoffery Zakarian, Curtis Stone, Michelle Bernstein and more, is a great privilege,” Shirley said. “I am in good company and can’t thank the FRLA enough.”

This award comes on the heels of Shirley’s Great Southern Café being a recipient of the 2022 Wine Spectator Grand Awards—the iconic Seaside restaurant’s 10th year on the list honoring restaurants with extraordinary wine programs. Great Southern Café was also recently named the winner of the Best Mojito in the 2022 Best of the Emerald Coast awards by Emerald Coast Magazine, while Jim Shirley’s North Beach Social won the title for Best Outdoor Bar.