Friday, January 6, 2017

Three weeks and counting until Rodney Scott's whole hog goodness opens on King

Bracing for Cronut-level lines

Posted by Kinsey Gidick on Fri, Jan 6, 2017 at 3:07 PM

  • Sam Spence
Like a pack of hungry wolves circling their prey, the Instagram feeds of known Charleston food fanatics have been blowing up with snaps of the exterior of forthcoming Scott's Bar-B-Que (1011 King St.). Today painters were delicately putting the final coat on signage, but we still have a hot minute before the whole hog goodness hits our mouths.

"We're hoping to open the third week of this month," Scott says. The pitmaster adds that construction is coming along well, but weather and material deliveries will play a role in meeting his opening date goal.
  • Sam Spence
Then, of course, there's the issue of staffing. Scott also runs his original Hemingway, S.C. location and will have to divide his time between the two to get things up and running. But he brushes off any suggestion of that being a stressful predicament.

"I’m kind of Superman at times," explains Scott. "In the beginning, I’ll be there a lot myself and eventually train some staff members working with me." Scott's team in Charleston will have to cook through the night as each day the pigs come off the six pits promptly at 11 a.m. when the restaurant's doors open.

  • Sam Spence
Hopefully staff can work in some rest between pulling all-nighters and unlocking the doors because lines are expected.

"I hope that I have a line to Rutledge," say Scott. "I hope to feed every human being, every single individual — from Charleston, Goose Creek, Mt. Pleasant — every person with a heartbeat in the entire Charleston Lowcountry at least once."

Careful what you wish for, Rodney.

Scott's Bar-B-Que will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Nathalie Dupree and Toni Tipton-Martin talk Top Chef's ode to Edna Lewis, the 'Mammy' stereotype, and celebrating the invisible

'The Julia Child of Southern Cooking'

Posted by Kinsey Gidick on Thu, Jan 5, 2017 at 9:17 PM

  • Edna Lewis Foundation Facebook
If you watched tonight's Top Chef: Charleston, you know the episode was an ode to Edna Lewis (April 13, 1916 — February 13, 2006). The famed African American chef and author, known as the “Julia Child of Southern Cuisine,” was the executive chef at Middleton Place in the 1980s, and left a lasting legacy on chefs with her books and wisdom. In the words of Jemima Code author Toni Tipton-Martin, "Her words strengthened my resolve to celebrate the invisible women who fed America."

That being the case for so many, it only made sense that Top Chef would honor the legend on this week's episode which, of course, took place at Middleton Place. And for the occasion, both Tipton-Martin and Charleston's current culinary grande dame, Nathalie Dupree, were both on set.
Dupree would often have lunch with Lewis when visiting New York - PAUL CHENEY
  • Paul Cheney
  • Dupree would often have lunch with Lewis when visiting New York

The two joined Gail Simmons, Art Smith, BJ Dennis, Irv Miller, Glenn Roberts, Hugh Acheson, Mashama Bailey, and Alexander Smalls on the plantation's lawn for a meal (way too close to the swampy alligator pond) dedicated to Lewis.

But who really was Edna Lewis and what was she like? We reached out to Dupree and Tipton-Martin for their firsthand accounts.

"Edna was a lovely person. She was a very kind thoughtful person. I guess I met her in the '70s or '80s, somewhere in there. I drove to see her once when she was at Middleton Place. We had the same book editor," says Dupree.

Lewis cut a striking figure and Dupree remembers how the chef, who was many years her senior, always caught attention whenever they met up.

"She was way before her time. She was very elegant. She had been a model, a seamstress, and she was ambitious. Edna left the farm and home when she was 16," says Dupree. Lewis grew up in Freetown, Va., a community started by her grandfather, an emancipated slave. "She married a great intellectual — a communist — and she socialized in rarified circles and started cooking for this restaurant Cafe Nicholson in New York City. Then they hired her to do all the cooking. It was kind of a place that included a lot of writers and intellectuals and so forth" — the likes of Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote were regulars. "Most of them were Southern," adds Dupree.

And the patrons loved Lewis' cooking which Dupree describes as comfortable and non-threatening. "She was not a fancy cook that intimidated you, but she certainly had a good presentation and all those things as well," says Dupree.

But above all, Lewis represented the under-represented. She was a woman who Tipton-Martin writes was an "affirming example of real, professional empowered, beautiful black chefs who helped me re-think the link between African American women and the jarring portrait of the South’s “old black Mammy.”

Lewis continues, "She went against the Mammy stereotype. First the obvious is she was this statuesque gazelle. She looked nothing like the depiction typically portrayed to disparage black women cooks."
Lewis also added an intellectual quality to those women. "She helps us see grace associated with their cooking," says Tipton-Martin.

Dupree, who met Lewis  adds that Lewis was one of the first chefs to really articulate the need for local food and also to articulate the black experience. "There weren’t very many then who were writing about cooking within the black experience then," says Dupree.

And her writings and recipes continue to inspire both women. “Do I have a favorite Edna recipe? Oh gee. Let me see. I loved her turnip greens and collared greens. She put a lot of fatback in them. She had them seasoned them perfectly," says Dupree.

For Tipton-Martin it's Lewis' blackberry cobbler (something that so many Top Chef contestants tried to incorporate in their dishes on the episode) that stands out. But more than lasting recipes or flavors, for Tipton-Martin it's Lewis' legacy that endures.

Says Tipton-Martin, "Edna Lewis stands in the gap for all of the generations of African American women who worked on a plantation or were recorded in a negative and disparaging way."

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Chef John Ondo shutters Lana; La Fourchette's Perig Goulet to open Poulette in its place

Little Chicken > Li'l Cricket

Posted by Kinsey Gidick on Thu, Jan 5, 2017 at 9:48 AM

Lana sits at the corner of Cannon Street and Rutledge Avenue - GOOGLE STREET VIEW
  • Google Street View
  • Lana sits at the corner of Cannon Street and Rutledge Avenue
Chef John Ondo has sold Lana. After a 12-year run at the corner of Rutledge and Cannon Street, the chef posted the following on Facebook yesterday:
"We've rolled our last gnocchi, served our last bolognese and poured our last glass of wine. We'd like to thank our staff and loyal customers who've become family over these past 12 years. We've accepted an offer and must kiss our beloved Lana goodbye. It's bittersweet. We wish the new owners the best of luck and hope that you all visit Perig and his new venture Poulette. You might see some familiar faces.
Toodles Y'all
John & Drazen et all"
Ondo will open Kairos in Mt. Pleasant later this year - FILE
  • File
  • Ondo will open Kairos in Mt. Pleasant later this year
Ondo tells City Paper that he has new plans in the works. "I've been working on a new concept called Kairos, very fast casual Greek/Mediterranean. We should be open in April," says Ondo. Kairos will open in Mt. Pleasant.

In the meantime, Goulet, beloved for his former King Street French spot La Fourchette, says his new restaurant, Poulette, will be a casual, not entirely French restaurant. Goulet has been trying to get a foothold in the neighborhood, specifically on Bogard Street, since last May, but the deal fell through. Now with Lana secured, he's working fast to open. However, Goulet was hesitant to share too many details. "We have a saying in France, 'only idiots don't change our minds,'" he says. But he did reveal a few things about the upcoming restaurant.

"I chose that name not because it means little female chicken," he says. "I did because La Fourchette and Poulette rhyme. It's easy for people to remember. I'm not doing 100 percent French. It will be less upscale than La Fourchette. Something fun, relaxed. But I promise the French fries will be there."

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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Colicchio addresses Top Chef: Charleston's controversial Boone Hall plantation episode on Esquire


Posted by Kinsey Gidick on Wed, Jan 4, 2017 at 11:35 AM

Tom Colicchio says Top Chef deals with issues every season - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • Tom Colicchio says Top Chef deals with issues every season
Tom Colicchio told me he was preparing a statement following the Twitter blowback from the Top Chef: Charleston Boone Hall episode we first reported on Dec. 5. After taking heat on Twitter from viewers who believed the cooking contest didn't treat the history of the plantation and its use of slavery with enough sensitivity, Colicchio said in an email that he would have a statement on Dec. 7. So I waited. But when I emailed him the next day asking for it I was told, "We may have a misunderstanding. I am not writing a response to your piece. I'm working on a general statement about the episode." A month later, no statement has yet to be published, however, today on Esquire's website the Top Chef judge addressed the controversy.

"You filmed the current season of Top Chef in Charleston, which was home to large slave markets in the 1800s. Were slavery and race inevitable issues to wade into?" writer Alyson Sheppard asked Colicchio.  "Most people are forgetting we deal with these issues every season," he responded. He went on,
"In the California season, we married 40 gay couples. That was really emotional. The Supreme Court was still debating whether or not people were going to have that right. We decided to take it on and we felt we did the right thing.

What was interesting was that some people thought we did a pretty good job of handling [filming on a plantation], while others were angry because they thought we were using the location for entertainment. People weren't upset that we were there, but that we were there as a cooking show. Well, [Boone Hall Plantation] has also been the site of the Charleston oyster festival for the past 34 years, and we were doing an oyster roast competition. That's why we were there. I know from going there and having these conversations that they're tough to have."
Suggesting that he thought maybe some of the backlash came from African American Chef Gerald Sombright being in the Sudden Death Cook-Off on a plantation, Colicchio added, "I don't know what the reaction would have been if there were two white chefs. But I told [someone who asked about the episode], it's not like we realized a black chef was on the bottom and we picked a plantation. C'mon. Watch the rest of the season; we still deal with it."

Whether the show, in fact, does do that remains to be seen, but Colicchio went on to say that he'd like to see the bigger conversation pivot to the problem of white chefs co-opting traditional black Southern cuisine.
"The idea that food should be divorced of any cultural or historical context is kind of what I was trying to respond to as well. There is place for food and cooking in history and culture. Maybe if you're not cognizant of some of these issues that are already being discussed, and you watch this food reality show, you think this is out of left field. Well, it's really not. Maybe we're just closer to it, and maybe our producers are closer to it.
Read the full interview over at The next Top Chef: Charleston episode airs Thurs. Jan. 5 at 9 p.m. on Bravo.

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Second Charleston Callie's Hot Little Biscuit opening in the market

Queen B

Posted by Kinsey Gidick on Wed, Jan 4, 2017 at 9:45 AM

Callie's Hot Little Biscuit will open in the market this spring - INSTAGRAM
  • Instagram
  • Callie's Hot Little Biscuit will open in the market this spring

It happens every January. We get hit with a sad bunch of emails alerting us to restaurant closures. But with those emails comes a handful of alerts to new spaces and that includes a second Callie's Hot Little Biscuit opening on the peninsula this year.

Carrie Morey's biscuit empire is expanding to the market. Callie's is slated to open in the former Food for the Southern Soul kiosk — directly across from the market's Caviar & Bananas — this spring.

The new location is a longtime coming says Morey. "I actually went to Hank Holliday when they were first remodeling the market, probably four years ago, when I first started dreaming of the Callie's concept," says Morey. But Holliday informed her that spaces were all full. "I was bummed, but I kept looking for a space. When the space came available, he called me and said you're first on the waiting list." 
Carrie Morey now has three Callie's locations - JONATHAN BONCEK
  • Jonathan Boncek
  • Carrie Morey now has three Callie's locations

Morey admits she was apprehensive about having two locations so close together on the peninsula, but says, "I feel like it'll be good for us to have representation in such a historic part of Charleston, and I hope we can do our city proud by being a good first impression for the people who come to Charleston."

Plus, the market holds a special place in Morey's heart. As a kid, she grew up biking around a much sleepier version of the tourist spot we know today. "That's where we hung out and we rode our bikes through there and followed the boiled peanut man. I love the market and have great memories of it growing up," she says.

Callie's Hot Little Biscuit market location will offer the same menu as the King Street spot with the occasional special. But to help the traffic flow — it can get crowded in the air conditioned hall where the kiosk will sit — Morey has developed a Callie's Hot Little Biscuit app that will work at any of her three locations including Atlanta.

"While we love the tourists coming in, we want our locals to have a space as well. So you just download the Hot Little Biscuit app, and you can order and pay online and come right to the front and get your order," Morey says.

The new Callie's Hot Little Biscuit is expected to open as early as March.

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