“With Bittersweet Pride,” The Grocery Announces Hallie Arnold’s Departure

hallieThe Grocery’s Hallie Arnold, who last fall memorably created a Post and Courier cocktail for StarChefs.com’s Charleston event (OK, it looms large in our memories), has accepted a position with Bombay Sapphire.

According to The Grocery’s Facebook page, tomorrow night is Arnold’s last shift.

Arnold, a member of the last graduating class at Johnson & Wales’ Charleston campus, racked up a series of awards while bartending for The Grocery. She was a finalist in Bombay Sapphire’s national search for the “Most Imaginative Bartender,” and her vodka cocktail was chosen as the official cocktail of this year’s Charleston Wine + Food Festival.

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.

Frank Lee’s Band of Tamed Male Chefs Gathers for Tribute Dinner

FrankLeeTickets are still available to the Charleston Wine + Food Festival’s dinner honoring Frank Lee, the chef who sits atop Charleston food tree.

The festival on Dec. 9 is assembling 11 chefs (six from Charleston; five from out-of-town) to pay tribute to Lee with a five-course dinner at The Grocery. The chefs will be joined by two “culinary experts,” longtime Columbia chef Malcolm Hudson – who festival events director Randi Weinstein credits with converting Lee from “vegetarian to a meat-loving fool” – and Justin Hammerstrom, a former sous chef and mixed martial arts fighter who now serves as corporate trainer for a kickboxing franchise.

Although Hammerstrom last cooked professionally in a high school cafeteria, his participation in the program is fitting, since the featured chefs say they’re indebted to Lee for much more than kitchen know-how. Continue reading

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

Pix From the Prix Fixe Front

Charleston Restaurant Week kicked off last week, and local eaters are documenting their three-course dinners on Twitter and Instagram. Here, a few early visual reports:

Checked off another spot on foodie bucket list on 1st Day of Charleston Restaurant Week

@l8nrfan “checked off another spot on (her) foodie bucket list at Peninsula Grill.” She reports she was sorry a slice of coconut cake wasn’t included.

Charleston Restaurant week... Dinner at The Grocery: seafood bouillabaisse (top), roasted pork shoulder w/ corn and butter bean panzanella, & lemon semifreddo w/blueberries #3for30 #ieatwell #irecommendit

At The Grocery, $30 bought @theewillmill1 seafood bouillabaisse, roasted pork shoulder with corn and butter bean panzanella and lemon semifreddo with blueberries. His conclusion? “#irecommendit”

Have you had a Restaurant Week meal yet? How was it? Let us know in the comments section.

TV Host Chuck Hughes Likes Charleston, Plain and Simple

If Chuck Hughes, host of Cooking Channel’s Chuck’s Eat the Street, had his druthers, an upcoming episode focused on King Street would have dedicated a segment to The Ordinary.

www.dominiquelafond.comThe filming marked Hughes’ first visit to Charleston, and he chose Mike Lata’s newest restaurant — recently named one of the South’s best new restaurants by Southern Living – for his maiden meal. “Looking at the restaurant, I didn’t think it could be as good as I thought it was going to be,” he recalls. The restaurant surpassed his expectations, but since the shooting schedule couldn’t be adjusted, the Charleston-themed show doesn’t feature any Ordinary footage.

Still, Hughes found plenty to prepare and eat on air, including frogmore stew at Charleston Grill; a chorizo sandwich at Butcher & Bee; goat cheese doughnuts at Glazed and soft-shell crabs at The Grocery. Continue reading