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Bar Julian’s Knead to Know series invites industry talent to collaborate on pizza — and philanthropy

NEARLY A YEAR after joining Thompson Savannah as executive chef, Rob Newton has launched a new food series at the riverfront hotel, this time with a charitable, community-focused twist: Knead to Know is a monthly collaboration that invites local chefs to share their take on a longstanding crowd pleaser — pizza — for worthy causes.

“I’m the new guy in town, and I thought it would be fun to hang out with and get to know other chefs in town, and see what we could do through a level of collaboration and camaraderie,” Newton says of the inspiration behind the idea. Each month, he invites a local chef to Bar Julian, the Thompson’s rooftop bar, to create a specialty pizza, with a portion of proceeds going to a charity of the guest chef’s choosing. “Chefs by and large all love pizza, but not everyone has a giant pizza oven in their kitchen.”

Bar Julian // Photography courtesy of Thompson Savannah

In May, Newton welcomes Meredith Sowell, pastry sous chef at the Perry Lane hotel, who plans to bring a dessert pizza inspired by nostalgia for the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches of childhood, created with one of her favorite sweets: homemade Nutella. “I’m excited to be a part of this because I love working with other chefs and being inspired by their work,” Sowell says. “The industry is a pretty tight-knit community in Savannah, and we’re always excited to cheer on each other’s new openings and concepts.”


“ I’m the new guy in town, and I thought it would be fun to hang out with and get to know other chefs in town, and see what we could do through a level of collaboration and camaraderie.” — Chef Rob Newton


Knead to Know launched in February with chef Joseph Harrson of Common Thread, who kicked off the series with his interpretation of a clam pie, topped with littleneck clams, pecorino, chicories, tomato vinaigrette and lemon. March saw chef Chris Hathcock of Husk Savannah offer a pizza with pork salume, Georgia shrimp, sea beans, caramelized onions and ricotta. And in April, chefs Cody Taylor and Jiyeon Lee from Heirloom Market BBQ in Atlanta debuted a Korean-style short rib pizza topped with kimchi tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil.

To date, the series has brought in more than $1,500 for organizations including Rootstock Community Foundation, Renegade Paws Pet Rescue and the World Central Kitchen’s Ukraine relief efforts.

Total funds raised are a heartening metric, but so, too, is community involvement, Newton says. “Seeing people turn out month after month and really rally behind each chef’s organization has been a pleasant surprise,” he says. “It’s been a great way to say hi to and get to know the local community.”