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They Came For The Shrimp and Grits: The Life and Work of Bill Neal

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In partnership with Southern Foodways Alliance: The Southern Foodways Alliance documents, studies and explores the diverse food cultures of the changing American South. Our work sets a welcome table where all may consider our history and our future in a spirit of respect and reconciliation.

"They Came for the Shrimp & Grits: The Life and Work of Bill Neal" tells the story of the man who changed the face of southern restaurant cuisine when he opened Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 1982.

Neal's recipes inspired thousands of chefs throughout America who fell in love with southern cooking. By revolutionizing the food genre into something quintessential and easy to access, Neal achieved celebrity chef status very quickly. His cooking showcased the deep roots that southern foods have in Native American, Western European and African cultures.

This documentary offers a peek into the world and legacy of a rising star, who died of AIDS long before achieving his full potential. 

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