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WALTON COUNTY, Fla. ­­— Feb. 8, 2021­—The Walton County Tourist Development Council will name Chef Jim Shirley as the winner of the Van Ness Butler Jr. Hospitality Award at a TDC Advisory Council Meeting on Feb. 9. 

“The TDC is proud to recognize Jim Shirley’s commitment to improving our community, whether by lending a helping hand to those in need or to employing and training the next generation of hospitality professionals,” says Jay Tusa, Executive Director for Visit South Walton. “Whenever there’s an opportunity to showcase the best of what South Walton has to offer, Jim never fails to step forward, ready to help out in any way that he can."

The annual hospitality award was established in 2003 by the Walton County Tourist Development Council to recognize excellence in hospitality service, travel/tourism marketing, advertising, promotion and contributions to the local community.

“It’s an incredible honor to get the Van Ness Butler Jr. Award,” Shirley says.  “I mean, how does that happen to a chef in South Walton? I’ve seen all the great work done by the people that have received this before and it’s amazing when you achieve something like this.”

Shirley opened his first South Walton restaurant in 2006 with Great Southern Café. Since then, he’s continued add to the local culinary experience with restaurants like 45 Central Wine & Sushi Bar and The Meltdown on 30A in Seaside, in addition to The Bay and Farm & Fire Southern Pizzeria in Santa Rosa Beach.

“I think naturally in my heart, I love to entertain people. I want them to be happy and I’m a natural host,” Shirley says. “Then as I got older, there’s this deep love of cooking that grew deeper and deeper, so when you mix them together you’re at where I am right now.”

Photos available at: https://platform.crowdriff.com/m/s-Ko-2ZPiWu2NNozoG


For more information about the Van Ness Butler Jr. Hospitality Award visit: https://www.visitsouthwalton.com/community-programs/van-ness-butler-jr-award/

For more information about Chef Jim Shirley: https://www.visitsouthwalton.com/community-programs/van-ness-butler-jr-award/jim-shirley/