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JACKSON, Miss. — This state’s capital city is an unusual location for a seven-course tasting-menu restaurant. So much so that Zacchaeus Golden made the news when he opened one called Southern Soigné in December. But it turns out he wasn’t such an outlier.

Mr. Golden is among a growing, nationwide cohort of chefs who have embraced tasting menus while rejecting the most grandiose conventions of the tradition. They are mostly young, first-time restaurateurs who are attracted to a format they say unlocks creativity and cost savings. Their restaurants are nimble, lower-cost affairs, and they’re not catering to globe-trotting millionaires.

You could say these chefs are saving from itself a dining style so synonymous with pretension and excess it inspired a horror movie (“The Menu,” due out in November). But their goals are more personal than that.

Somewhat unexpectedly, what Mr. Golden calls the “higher style of dining” was the most direct route he

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