Birdies & Bubbles: Memphis chefs bring their best bites to FedEx St. Jude Championship

Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 6:27 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Two of the Bluff City’s most celebrated chefs are cooking up something special for this week’s FedEx St. Jude Championship.

Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman are the best friends behind some of the best restaurants in Memphis, and they’re bringing some of their “best bites” to TPC Southwind for one week only.

The Gray Canary, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Bishop, Catherine & Mary’s, Eight & Sand, Hog & Hominy are six restaurants owned by two fun-loving guys, with one shared passion: A love for the kitchen.

Lifelong Memphians Andy and Michael have been best friends and foodies since they were kids. We caught up with them, aprons off, to stir up a mix of memories and more.

“We started hanging out in like 7th, 8th grade,” said Ticer. “We played sports against each other.”

As their childhood bond grew, so did their love for cooking.

“Having Sunday suppers at Maw Maw’s house on both sides of our families was very important...kind of opened up a world of there’s another group of people that did the same thing we did growing up,” said Ticer.

Andy, a Hotty Toddy alum, and Michael, an Auburn Tiger grad, say “Maw Maw” gets the credit for inspiring them to create their own special recipes.

“It was watching our grandmothers cook in the kitchen at a very early age, like freshman in high school we were talking about opening a restaurant in Memphis one day,” said Ticer.  “We had put a game plan together like going to college, then going to culinary school, then going to school in Italy, so we just started checking off goals.”

One of those goals was met in 2008 with the opening of Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen in east Memphis. A half-dozen restaurants later, and these best buds are checking off another item on their bucket list: bringing back birdies and bubbles to TPC Southwind.

“The birdie is the sandwich that we debuted at Birdie’s & Bubbles 2 years ago,” says Hudman. 

He adds it was such a big hit, they decided to debut it again.

The eight-time James Beard Award finalists are thrilled to bring their Italian-inspired, southern soul dish back to the links, and to help raise money for the Mid-South’s only children’s cancer research hospital at the same time, is par excellence.

“St. Jude is like such an amazing place and as a Memphian growing up, having our own family and our own kids, it really hit home how important that place is,” said Ticer.

As a special treat this year, for the first time, the BFF chefs are expanding the Birdies & Bubbles menu with a fan favorite typically prepared only in the kitchen of Hog & Hominy.

“We are gonna bring the John T burger to the golf tournament,” said Hudman.

It’s a perfect mix of onion, cheese, pickled lettuce and mustard -- a burger like no other.

Tournament goers will have a bit of “Andy Michael” garden variety to choose from as well.

“You get the birdies, the John T, the hushpuppies and shishito peppers,” said Hudman.

As for those birdies, you can find them year-round on the menu at Eight & Sand in the lobby of Central Station Hotel in downtown Memphis, and for five glorious days in August, you can take a swing at snagging one at FedEx St. Jude Championship.

Hudman describes The Birdie as “a chicken sandwich with spicy honey, a little bit of herb slaw, mayo and pickles.”

The chef best buds promise it’s going to a hole-in-one.

Birdies & Bubbles is open to the public with shaded seating and can be accessed off the No. 16 fairway, immediately across Tournament Drive.

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