Elizabeth Terry

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Elizabeth Terry
Elizabeth Bennett

1942/1943 (age 76–77)[1]
Spouse(s)Michael H. Terry
Culinary career
Cooking styleCuisine of the Southern United States

Elizabeth Terry (née Bennett, born c. 1943)[2] is an American chef who was best known as owner and head chef of the Elizabeth on 37th restaurant in Savannah, Georgia.

Early life and education[edit]

Elizabeth Terry was born in Salem, Ohio,[1] the first of six children of Gordon Flagg and Nanee Gibbs Bennett.[2][3] She remembers the influence her grandmother's Louisiana home cooking from when she was child.[1] Terry graduated with a degree in psychology from Lake Erie College in 1966.[1][2][4] There, she met her future husband, Michael H. Terry, who was attending neighboring Kenyon College.[1][2] They married in 1966, and moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, while Michael studied at Harvard University.[1]


Terry's first jobs before college had been selling bridal clothes and dressmaking in a fabric store.[2] While her husband pursued his studies, she obtained jobs as a probation officer and lab assistant.[2] Following his graduation, they moved to Atlanta, where their first daughter was born. With her husband's encouragement to find something new to do, Terry began working in a cheese and wine shop,[1][2][4] then ran her own lunch shop called Thyme For You.[2] They travelled through France on six occasions, where Terry picked up cooking techniques from many chefs.[1] In 1980, they moved to Savannah where she planned to open a sandwich shop.[1] This eventually became a restaurant housed on the ground floor of a mansion built in 1900, while the family (now including a second daughter) lived upstairs.[2] The restaurant, Elizabeth on 37th, opened on May 14, 1981.[2][4] She had researched historical recipes from families living in the local area at the Georgia Historical Society.[1][5]

The year after opening, Atlanta Magazine described the restaurant as "the finest restaurant anywhere in coastal Georgia."[2] It won several awards, including the 1995 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef Southeast,[6] "in part because she [had] redefined Southern cuisine for the '90s".[2] Terry was featured in magazines including Food & Wine,[7] Lear's,[7] and Delta Air Lines SKY magazine.[6] In 1996, she wrote the cookbook Savannah Seasons with her daughter Alexis.[6][8][9][10] Some of her recipes had previously been published in newspapers,[7] and one, for boned shad, was included in a book by Craig Claiborne after she had cooked it for him in 1987.[1][7] In 1998, the Terrys entered into a business partnership with brothers, and longterm employees, Gary and Greg Butch.[11] In the early 2000s, Terry was a visiting chef at cooking demonstrations in New York[12] and at the Kellogg Center, Michigan State University.[13] By 2005, Terry had retired,[14] and the Butch brothers continued to run Elizabeth on 37th, using some of Terry's old recipes.[5] Following the death of her husband in 2012, Terry moved to live near her daughter on the West Coast.[8]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Claiborne, Craig (May 13, 1987). "Blending Old and New in Savannah". New York Times. Retrieved November 30, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Eddy, Kristin (20 August 1995). "The accidental chef". The Atlanta Constitution. Atlanta, Georgia. p. M3. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  3. ^ "Bennett-Terry Vows Are Spoken In Garden". The Salem News. Salem, Ohio. 5 August 1966. p. 6. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Cooper, Ann (1998). "A Woman's Place is in the Kitchen": The Evolution of Women Chefs. Van Nostrand Reinhold. pp. 131, 212, 252. ISBN 9780442023706. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  5. ^ a b Addison, Bill (June 26, 2015). "Three New Restaurants Change the Game in Savannah". Eater. Retrieved November 30, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d Barnes, Joy W. (20 May 1998). "From cookbook to restaurant, couple travels road of good taste". The Times and Democrat. Orangeburg, South Carolina. p. 1C. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d Nesbit, Martha Giddens (19 March 1990). "Shad's history is as rich as its full-flavored taste". The Atlanta Constitution. Atlanta, Georgia. p. W6. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  8. ^ a b Wade, Kim (November 9, 2013). "Chef Elizabeth Terry returns for Savannah Food + Wine Festival". Savannah Now. Retrieved November 30, 2017.
  9. ^ Rice, William (22 August 1996). "Three female chefs speak volumes with new works". The Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida. p. H2. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  10. ^ Hearne, Jan (11 September 2002). "Overlook chef's pretentiousness; dive into her food". Johnson City Press. Johnson City, Tennessee. p. 21C. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  11. ^ "Elizabeth on 37th – Savannah, Georgia, U.S.A. The Queen of New Southern Cooking". Must See Places. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  12. ^ "Delicate pan-seared catfish in just half an hour". The Bismarck Tribune. Bismarck, North Dakota. AP. 17 January 2001. p. 4E. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  13. ^ Rook, Christine (28 February 2002). "Chefs to go". Lansing State Journal. Lansing, Michigan. p. D1. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  14. ^ a b "Awards". Food Arts. 18: 59. 2005. Retrieved 30 November 2019.