Loved and/or reviled, Jimmy Sneed (pictured in 2002) earned the city's first celebrity-chef status at The Frog and the Redneck in the early '90s; Julia Child and other luminaries were drawn to his outsized persona and his skill with seafood, Southern and seasonings. The Frog closed nearly seven years ago but remains a culinary touchstone and a prime resumé-booster for cooks who've gone on to successful chef gigs here and elsewhere.
After experimenting with comfort food and casino fare at an ill-fated Vegas venture, Sneed now partners with Carena Ives, seeking to export her success at the Jamaica House to the South Side. He's glad to see diversity in Richmond restaurants, especially at ethnic standouts such as Edo's Squid, Full Kee and Mekong. But he also believes there's a niche here for emulating the beauty and energy of the high-end dining explosion in Washington.