About a year ago, minus a day, (that is insane), I wrote up a small interview for Mise paired with Olivia's photos. Not about design or illustration, but about the foodie world in Charleston. Although my culinary feats are hidden behind the kitchen counter of our house, we eat well in this city, so I jumped at the opportunity to throw down the Wacom pen and play food writer.
Q: What does Charleston have that makes it a place chefs feel at home?
Like most major cities around the States, Charleston has been embracing and encouraging localism whole-heartedly. This isn’t anything new anymore, and I doubt the term really comes to mind as a grassroots effort because Charleston is so tied to its producers. We take pride in our producers and the peninsula is surrounded by a wide variety of them, which makes access to organic and fresh food incredibly easy (even for the home cook). From clammers, to salt harvesters, and gristmills to incubator farms, Charleston chefs take advantage of all there is to offer in the Lowcountry before considering importing goods.
Q: What is it like to be swept up in a culinary zeitgeist?
It is incredibly inspiring, and often times overwhelming because there is only so much time in a day and my stomach can only hold so much food. Getting to know chefs around Charleston opens doors to field trips and foraging forays that I can safely say I wouldn’t be doing as much of in another city. You’re less than 20 minutes away in any direction from a farm, a fishing dock, or a trail...
Q: Most meaningful/memorable experience of late?
Our friends in McClellanville (Bulls Bay Saltworks) introduced us to a neighbor of theirs that owns clamming beds out along the intracoastal. We met them at six in the morning to skim across the waters. I’d watched them clam before, but this time we were harvesting oysters for a roast and I was amazed how easy they were to pluck from the pluff mud. I accidentally broke a shell and could see the oyster begging to be eaten then and there. It was by far the freshest and most delicious oyster I had ever eaten. Romanticizing the situation probably made it taste so good too…
Q: Big-name favorites, and dive-y favorites?
Olivia and I love us some Chez Nous and Minero right now. Fanny and Patrick of Bin 152 opened up Chez Nous with Jill Mathias and Juan Cassalett perfecting plates left and right. It’s an intimate French restaurant off Coming Street with an ever-changing menu and a beautiful wine list. They feature four different dishes each day and two desserts. Minero, Sean Brock’s new baby, has some pretty great fish tacos a frozen drink called El Satanico that we dream of. Dive-wise, our neighbor Matt Lee told us to check out Fish Net Seafood, one rainy day, off the shoulder of 17 heading South. We didn’t know what to expect when we pulled up, but couldn’t have been happier with our $1.50 fried (WHOLE) crabs and our sides of hushpuppies and sweet tea in the car.