Thursday, October 20, 2016

Is Chef Emily Hahn going to be Top Chef: Charleston's crazy contestant?


Posted by Kinsey Gidick on Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 2:03 PM

You know how reality TV is, each show has to have a villain and a hero, a hottie and a certifiable crazy. Based on the latest clip released from Bravo's Top Chef: Charleston, our own Chef Emily Hahn of Warehouse may have been pegged as the latter.

In the latest clip, released on People magazine's website, right at the get-go Hahn comes out saying "I'm not a rookie chef. I'm ready to prove that I'm fucking good at it." 

From there we see the contestants fly through Whole Foods, race up the Confederate Museum steps, get greeted by Darius Rucker and Mike Lata, stand on a shrimp boat, then the camera cuts to Hahn sobbing, "You fucking insensitive people!"

In addition to Hahn stealing the sizzle reel, we've learned who the eight veteran contestants are, according to People:

Sam Talbot (Season 2: Los Angeles — who I interviewed for CP way back when), Casey Thompson (Season 3: Miami & Season 8: All-Stars), Amanda Baumgarten (Season 7: Washington, D.C.), Brooke Williamson (Season 10: Seattle), Sheldon Simeon (Season 10: Seattle), John Tesar (Season 10: Seattle), Shirley Chung (Season 11: New Orleans), and Katsuji Tanabe (Season 12: Boston).

So is Hahn going to be this season's lunatic? Stay tuned for Top Chef: Charleston's premiere at 10 pm E.T. on Thurs., Dec. 1.

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Holy City Brewing and COAST say 'no more dogs'


Posted by City Paper Staff on Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 11:32 AM

You used to be able to bring your dogs into COAST to catch a concert. As of yesterday, you no longer can. - MARY SCOTT HARDAWAY
  • Mary Scott Hardaway
  • You used to be able to bring your dogs into COAST to catch a concert. As of yesterday, you no longer can.
Last month Holy City Brewing announced that they would no longer allow dogs onsite. In a Facebook post head brewer Chris Brown said "We love dogs. Most of us have dogs. I have three myself, but over the past six months we have had employees bit five different times by dogs visiting the brewery. The latest incident, which occurred last week, consisted of a guest's dog biting one of our bartenders in the face. I have to look out for my staff."

In an email Brown clarified the no-dogs rule, saying, "When everyone is packed in, dogs get nervous or anxious." Just yesterday COAST Brewing Co. joined HCB in its no more dogs rule, with an Instagram post that reads, "Due to an incident, we unfortunately cannot allow dogs at the brewery anymore. Yes, it stinks, but that's life. Thanks for your support." 

While your four-legged friends are no longer allowed at COAST and Holy City, you can still take them to most area breweries. Here's that list:

Cooper River Brewing Co.
Dog-friendly with outdoor seating.

Frothy Beard Brewing
Dog-friendly, with a small grass field in the back.

Ghost Monkey Brewery
Dog-friendly as long as the dog is on a leash (which is the case for all breweries unless otherwise noted). They have dog treats and water bowls.

Low Tide Brewing
Dog-friendly with outdoor seating.

Palmetto Brewing Co.
Dog-friendly on deck.

Revelry Brewing Co.
Dogs allowed on outside patio.

Tradesman Brewing Co.
Dogs are welcome on the patio.

Freehouse Brewery
Dogs allowed.

Westbrook Brewing
Pets (except service animals) must stay on the patio.

Two Blokes Brewing
Dogs are welcome on a leash.

Snafu Brewing Company
They don't have a tasting room on the premises yet, but when they do it will be open to dogs.

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Steve Palmer and Mickey Bakst start F&B support group for drug and alcohol addiction

Sober Support

Posted by Kinsey Gidick on Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 9:46 AM

Steve Palmer wants to help others struggling from addiction to get help - JONATHAN BONCEK
  • Jonathan Boncek
  • Steve Palmer wants to help others struggling from addiction to get help
At the height of his addiction, Charleston Grill General Manager Mickey Bakst would wake up, pour a tumbler of Stoli Vodka, top it with grapefruit juice, and do a five-inch line of cocaine. "Then I'd go to work," he says. That was 34 years go. When his heart had to be resuscitated after a binge, it seemed like he might clean up his act, but Bakst fell even further. "I woke up in a straightjacket in an insane institution in Detroit," he recalls. It was after that, that Bakst finally sought help.

"AA saved my life," he says.

Steve Palmer, Indigo Road restaurants' managing partner, echoes Bakst's sentiments. "It definitely saved my life too," he says.

For Palmer, life in F&B in Charleston in the early '90s was a never ending party. "Bars stayed open until 6 a.m. and I was there until 6 a.m. — drinking, doing a lot of ecstasy and cocaine," Palmer recalls. A sommelier for Peninsula Grill at the time, Palmer's playboy lifestyle eventually caught up with him.

"Hank Holliday sat me down one day and said, ‘You can either go to rehab or you can clean out your stuff and leave,'" says Palmer. "Everything in me wanted to say ‘Screw you' and go get loaded, but for some reason I agreed to rehab." Holliday loaned him $30,000 and five weeks later Palmer was clean. But it wasn't an easy transition from user to sober.

  • Katie Gandy
  • Bakst
"I remember the day after I got out, I was on a boat with my buddy and he was trying to convince me that I wasn't an alcoholic," remembers Palmer. The friend then took Palmer to a restaurant opening. "We walked in and it was like a record had scratched and everyone stopped and looked at me." Palmer says at first he felt like a pariah, but eventually he navigated his way, finding a balance between staying sober and working in an industry surrounded by alcohol.

That's the choice Bakst and Palmer want to share with the Charleston F&B community and to show them that you can can overcome addiction and continue to work in the restaurant industry. They know because they're living proof. Palmer has been sober 15 years and Bakst has been sober 34. That's why they've started Ben's Friends, a Sunday support group designed to encourage people in F&B struggling with addiction to seek help.

"We're not here to point the finger at people," says Bakst. "We're just here to be a place to go to provide greater awareness and acceptance of sobriety."

The impetus for the group came after Palmer's long-time friend and chef Ben Murray, who struggled with alcoholism, shot himself in August. "He was working with five other sober people and he didn't talk to us," Palmer says. He doesn't want to see the same thing happen to others.

According to 2015 data by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, individuals working in the food and beverage industry have the highest rates of illicit drug use by industry and a 12 percent higher rate of heavy alcohol use.
Bakst and Palmer say they see it every day.

"Last Friday I had to fire three employees for coming to work drunk," says Palmer. But neither Bakst nor Palmer are ones to preach. They say they can both identify an addict, but until an individual recognizes they have a problem, there's little anyone else can do. However, when an addict is ready to reach for help, Bakst and Palmer want Ben's Friends to be a safe place to go.

The support group is designed similarly to AA, but not affiliated with the organization. "It will be completely anonymous," says Bakst. And there's no pressure to stand up and talk. Rather the group will simply be a space to meet others who are working on or have overcome their addiction.

"We can connect people to therapists and recovery programs," says Bakst. "We want to show people that you can still work in this industry sober."

Ben's Friends will meet every Sunday beginning Oct. 30 in the Cedar Room at 11 a.m. For more information, reach out to Mickey Bakst at or Steve Palmer at

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Leftovers: When it comes to AMS' tuna niçoise, there's no chicken of the sea here

Greater Tuna

Posted by Kinsey Gidick on Tue, Oct 18, 2016 at 2:54 PM

AMS oil cures 2+ graded tuna from Cypress for its Tuna Nicoise - JONATHAN BONCEK
  • Jonathan Boncek
  • AMS oil cures 2+ graded tuna from Cypress for its Tuna Nicoise
It's no joke that Artisan Meat Share’s Italian Sub can be put up against any sandwich in the city. Did I say the Italian? I meant the breakfast sandwich, err, the roast beef. Yeah, that sandwich is one of the best in the city.

The minds behind AMS know their way around the butcher block, meat slicer, whole hog, and bovine. Craig Deihl has been the charcuterie torchbearer for Charleston at Cypress, the parent restaurant to the Artisan Meat Share. Bob Cook, long time Chef de Cuisine to Deihl, captains the ship at the 23-seat luncheonette.

Many folks visit AMS to taste the craftsmanship that goes into properly cured meats. Take the pastrami, Cook and his crew cure strip loin 21 days just for one sandwich. From porchetta, pate, to pickles, almost everything is made in-house.

Now, I love a good hearty sandwich as much as the next guy, but being constantly on the go, I lean toward eating light. With AMS’ closing time at 7 p.m. their business is lunch, and I have no time for a siesta. Because of my perpetual movement, I look for light portable lunches on the go. Insert Meat Shares’ tuna niçoise sandwich here. This isn’t your grandmother’s tuna salad. No mayo, no celery, and no relish. There's nothing about this masterpiece that resembles anything that comes from the can or might be deemed chicken of the sea.

AMS takes the trimmings from 2+ graded tuna from Cypress and oil cures it. Then garlic aioli, flat leaf parsley, tarragon, chives, chervil, oil cured black olives, chopped egg, tomato, arugula, and a red wine vinaigrette get sandwiched between a fresh ciabatta from Normandy Farms. I love this this sandwich. It packs enough protein to keep your gas tank full, without weighing you down.

As with most eating establishments, it's all about what your order. Sure, some places you can’t go wrong with the majority of the menu, (ahem...cough….AMS), but sometimes if we look past the obvious, we can be pleasantly surprised. In some cases, it's those lesser known items where the creativity of a place shines.

While Webster defines meat as animal tissue considered especially as food: flesh of a mammal as opposed to fowl or fish, one can’t argue that AMS’s tuna niçoise isn’t meaty. And this sandwich is certainly one that the men behind the menu want to share with all of the people of Charleston.

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Bill Murray signed The Alley's 'Ghostbusters' pinball machine, because of course

Just another Bill Murray sighting...

Posted by Sam Spence on Tue, Oct 18, 2016 at 12:02 PM

If you've ever been privileged enough to be sitting at your favorite Charleston bar and witness Bill Murray walk in, you know the sound of a dozen hushed glances toward the Holy City's adopted comedian-laureate.

You can imagine the scene at The Alley when Murray, the man who brought Dr. Peter Venkman to life, stepped up to the Ghostbusters' pinball machine and made his mark.

Murray is a regular at The Alley and has shown up for a few frames and a few bites since the bowling alley sports bar (voted Best of Charleston in 2015 & 2016) opened a few years ago.

Murray has kept a residence in Charleston for years and is known for dropping in at bars and restaurants around town and disappearing like Kaiser Soze. Coincidentally, the Marlon Wayans Netflix series that's filming in town this week is a remake of a Swedish film from 2000 which was inspired by Murray's Groundhog Day. No word if there's a relationship there.

Pinball pro-tip: Pinball Map is advising me that The Alley is currently hosting the Ghostbusters Premium game. So, if you stop by and master that machine, Recovery Room has the slightly modified 'Pro' version of the machine.

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