A LA CARTE 

And the Nominees are....

Mike Lata of FIG garnered the James Beard nomination for the Best Chef: Southeast category while the Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook received a nomination for Food of the Americas book award. Matt and Ted Lee also received two nominations in the International Association of Culinary Professionals awards, which recognized their debut cookbook in the American category and in the Julia Child First Book category. The nominations were announced on Monday. The James Beard House in New York recognizes chefs and writers for their contributions. This year, Lata and the Lee Bros. join fellow nominees Ruth Reichl, Martha Stewart, Thomas Keller, Tom Collichio, and Michael Laskonis, the pastry chef at Le Bernardin who was just in town for the BB+T Charleston Food + Wine Fest. Congrats. The winners will be announced in May. --Stephanie Barna

More Merry Times at Meritäge

The food and beverage gods have parted the clouds and resurrected Meritäge, the tapas restaurant that closed down at the beginning of the year. The F&B friendly venue at 235 East Bay St. is once again serving its triple dip to those who've missed the tapas and attractive bar staff. New owner Mike Heggar is running the show now and the menu is roughly the same as it was before it closed in January. A few additions like lobster rolls and corn soup fill the laminated menu. Sunday nights are still F&B night, but now the half-off food deal is only from 10 p.m.-1 a.m. --Lindsay Sainlar

No Bait, No Tackle, No Bait & Tackle

No more bluegrass music and Moon Pies in this good-time, nonsmoking neighborhood bar. Too bad. The blue cinderblock building that is West Ashley Bait & Tackle is closing shop. Owners Andrew Hollowell and Yates Dew ran the show there for a year and a half while working other jobs, and their labor of love became too much to handle. Wisconsinite Chef Craig Thompson, whom Yates says was overqualified for B&T, is packing up and moving to Hilton Head to dabble with fine dining, where he can fully utilize his talents. Good luck guys, and thank you for the cheese curds. --LS

Get Some Bacon at Carolina's

Jeremiah Bacon missed home. He went off to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and later to New York City to learn from other chefs who knew what they were doing, and he's bringing his culinary education back to his hometown at Carolina's Restaurant, where he's the new executive chef. He knows Carolina's is a landmark in regards to Charleston's culinary history, and he plans to keep in line with its current menu while adding a little pizzazz, a little bam, and a little thank you ma'am. Go try out his local-produce-infused recipes and see if he learned a thing or two up North. --LS

Don't Study It, Cook It

Can't figure out what to do with your undergraduate degree in biology? If you're Erin Ragon, you can just go to culinary school instead. Ragon, a recent biology graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology, has been selected out of a pool of worthy applicants to receive the first Nathalie Dupree Scholarship for Advanced Culinary Studies at the Trident Technical College's Culinary Institute. Ragon will receive tuition, books, and fees for one semester, a paid apprenticeship with Dupree, and the opportunity to participate in a culinary-related study abroad program. Sounds like a sweet deal. The BB&T Charleston Food + Wine Festival established the scholarship in 2006 to honor Dupree, a notable culinary author and TV personality. For more info about the Institute, visit www.culinaryinstituteofcharleston.com or call 820-5090. --Ashley Lewis

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