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Think of the Children, and Eat This!

on Sunday, 02 March 2014. Posted in Magazine, Chefs, LOCAL Bites, Do This!, Follow This!

by: Collin Clark
Photos: Bailey Clark


Chef Robert Carter, currently of Carter’s Kitchen and Rutledge Cab Company, hosted the first Chefs' Feast fifteen years ago. Driven by the desire to help end childhood hunger close to home, Carter has watched the event grow from just nine participating chefs in its first year to an impressive roster of over thirty chefs from some of the area’s most successful restaurants. With so many chefs in attendance, the event serves not only as a very successful fundraiser for a noble cause but also as an excellent showcase of the Charleston culinary scene. Eat This! was in attendance this year with the goal to try them all, and at the suggestion of Lowcountry Food Bank’s Dana Mitchel, a plan of attack was formulated and a worthy effort was certainly made.

  • Welcome!
  • Ice sculpture.
  • Ice sculpture.

Bryan Lindsay of Rutledge Cab Company, with exceptional support from Chef Carter’s youngest sous chefs, treated attendees to a pepper-seared cold prime rib and truffled egg salad sandwich served with a crispy waffle-cut potato chip. From Lana, John Ondo presented a crispy pork confit with red peas, roasted root vegetables, and potato gnocchi in a smoky ham broth. Craig Deihl of Cypress was located a few booths away from Lana’s contingent, and as always, he could be counted upon to offer some porcine competition. Deihl was serving roasted pork belly over Edisto Plantation peas, garnished with a fennel jam. Where Lana’s confit was meaty and crisp, the roasted pork belly from Cypress was smooth and rich.
There was certainly no shortage of pork fat, but several fresh seafood options were also available. Jeff Miller of The Sea Island Grill at Wild Dunes prepared a raw scallop crusted with toasted quinoa and dressed with a leche de tigre emulsion, avocado nori puree, and green tea pearls. While the dish was visually striking and certainly fresh, the texture of the toasted quinoa gave the scallops a certain grittiness that distracted from the flavor. At a nearby booth, McCrady’s chef Daniel Heinze offered sweet calico scallops with a hominy puree and field peas, finger lime, and watercress. Chef Patrick Owens was representing Langdon’s and Opal with a buttery wild salmon crudo dressed with a spicy onion-ginger marmalade.


  • Jeff Miller, Sea Island Grill at Wild Dunes Resort
  • Craig Deihl, Cypress
  • Chef Robert Carters Mini-chefs

  • Bryan Lindsay, Rutledge Cab Company
  • Chef Robert Carter
  • Jaques Larson, Wild Olive and The Obstinate Daughter

Jeremiah Bacon of The Macintosh and Oak Steakhouse paired beef bratwurst with caramelized onions and cabbage for a take on classic German pub fare. With a new restaurant called The Obstinate Daughter in development on Sullivan's Island in the old Atlanticville space, Jaques Larson of Wild Olive and his crew were dishing out satisfyingly crisp empanadas filled with Carolina shrimp and sausage. A very convivial Kevin Johnson of The Grocery was ladling a Moroccan wedding soup that was representative of his restaurant’s own version with Border Springs lamb and plenty of roasted vegetables, and John Zucker of Cru Cafe plated a pecan smoked duck breast over chopped baby kale salad. Michael Perez of Indaco had prepared short rib and bone marrow agnolotti with pickled garlic and Pecorino Romano, and while short rib is usually rich enough, the decadence of the bone marrow and the excellent texture of the pasta really set this dish apart.


Tristan’s days may be numbered, but that did not stop Chef Nate Whiting and company from joining the feast. With a savory twist on a typical breakfast food, Whiting was plating a Holy Smoke Olive Oil oatmeal with mushroom misoyaki and puffed rice. Fear not, as Whiting’s work will continue at a new restaurant on King Street later this year. Frank Lee, Executive Chef at Slightly North of Broad, represented Maverick Southern Kitchens with another unique ingredient. Serving a Lowcountry oyster chowder, Lee topped his dish with a light and earthy parsnip cream that balanced the smoky saltiness of the lardons and brininess of the raw oysters.


  • Tim Richardson, Hanks Seafood
  • Patrick Owens, Langdons and Opal
  • John Zucker, Cru Cafe


Emily Cookson, Executive Pastry Chef at Charleston Grill, arranged a chocolate cake alongside espresso cremeux. Cookson garnished the cake with an English toffee, but the espresso cremeux was the confectionary highlight of the event. Lightly sweet with a balancing acidity from the coffee, this would have been a fine dessert even when left to its own devices. Blossom, Cypress, and Magnolia were represented by pastry chef Andrea Lever Upchurch who prepared a Southern Eclair filled with bourbon brown sugar mousse and topped with salted sorghum caramel and candied pecans.


Chefs' Feast benefits the Lowcountry Food Bank, and while the organization is responsible for outreach throughout the community, money raised through this particular event is dedicated to its efforts to ease childhood hunger. Kids Cafe, one such effort, helps to provide healthy meals to children in after-school programs, and with meals provided to over twenty different sites, Kids Cafe has the potential to reach over a thousand children across lowcountry. Thanks to Robert Carter, participating chefs, and all event sponsors and attendees, programs like Kids Cafe will have a greater chance to reach as many children as possible for the coming year. Eat This! applauds the efforts of the event organizers and attending chefs, and we certainly look forward to next year’s Chefs' Feast!
  • Michael Perez, Indaco
  • Kevin Johnson, The Grocery
  • Charles Arena, Fish House at Charleston Harbor Resort

  • Nate Whiting, Tristan
  • Kelly Wilson, Culinary Institute of Charleston
  • Dan Doyle, Poogans Porch

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