Keeler, Johnson and Bacon Named James Beard Semi-Finalists

Three Charleston chefs are in the running for finalist status in the Southeast division of the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef awards.

Josh Keeler of Two Boroughs Larder, Kevin Johnson of The Grocery and Jeremiah Bacon of The Macintosh are semi-finalists for the prestigious prize, which will be awarded this May in New York City. Bacon is a semi-finalist for the third year running; Keeler was also a semi-finalist last year.

Other local semi-finalists include McCrady’s for Best Service; Sean Brock for Outstanding Chef, a national award, and FIG for Best Wine Service. “Greatest honor to date,” FIG’s sommelier David McCarus tweeted. Continue reading

The Chew to Air Coverage of Kevin Johnson’s Farm Dinner

Outstanding in the Field

Outstanding in the Field

If you missed Kevin Johnson’s turn at the helm of Outstanding in the Field, the roving supper party that first popularized upscale on-farm dining, you can catch up on his performance via The Chew next Tuesday.

The Chew, ABC’s afternoon cooking and lifestyle show, will screen a lowcountry segment centered on Johnson’s Oct. 3 meal at Thornhill Farm. The menu from The Grocery’s chef included braised tilefish with Carolina gold rice Hoppin’ John; lamb with okra and tomato gravy and a salted peanut and sorghum swirl ice cream.

The Jan. 21 show airs at 1 p.m. After its televised debut, the episode will be available online.

Farm Dinner Hosts Raising Their Game, Kevin Johnson Says

oitfkitchenDiners have become accustomed to on-farm eating since Outstanding in the Field popularized the concept, but Kevin Johnson of The Grocery says cooking outdoors still poses serious challenges for chefs.

“You’re not only outside of your kitchen, you’re outside of any kitchen,” says Johnson, who last week guest starred as chef of an Outstanding in the Field event at Thornhill Farm, the culinary roadshow’s first area appearance since 2010.

According to Johnson, The Grocery’s crew was confident about its Thornhill set-up until organizers made a last-minute decision to stage the reception and dinner on different parts of the farm, requiring two mobile kitchens. Continue reading

Check Out the Menu for Kevin Johnson’s Outstanding in the Field Late Lunch This Thursday

Jeremy Fenske

Jeremy Fenske

There are still tickets available to Kevin Johnson’s imminent Outstanding in the Field appearance at Maria Baldwin’s Thornhill Farm, a situation which confounds the organization’s spokesperson.

“I’m not sure why it’s not sold out (yet),” Lisa Supple writes. “Maybe it’s because it’s a Thursday and folks are waiting until the last minute to see if their work schedules allow them to come?”

Outstanding in the Field (OITF) was founded in 1999 by California chef Jim Denevan, who aimed to deepen eaters’ connections with the land and its cultivators by hosting a series of farm dinners. The group held its first event beyond California in 2003, and now annually stages as many as 90 meals on farms from Maine to Oregon. OITF last visited Thornhill Farm in 2010, when Sean Brock’s dinner was nearly disrupted by a tornado. (The chance of rain on Thursday is 10 percent.)

Despite charging triple-digit prices, OITF has a knack for selling out its events: Of the 21 events scheduled through the end of November, only nine still have available seats. Continue reading