The South has always been a region renowned for her cuisine. Southerners figured out long ago how to make food taste really good. Places like Charleston, Atlanta, Chapel Hill, and New Orleans have become destinations for food lovers roaming the South, but one city that is rarely listed amongst these culinary kings (until now) is Charlotte, North Carolina.
Charlotte is a vast and wealthy city, home to many sports teams, corporations, and a bustling airport. However, its growth and success has led the Queen City to gain a reputation as culinary wasteland, choked out by chain restaurants and devoid of any culinary substance. If this was once the case, it is certainly a different story today, and that is one reason The Local Palate selected Charlotte as the April issue’s “City Spotlight.”
How a city changes its reputation when it comes to food is something that gains momentum over time, and in Charlotte, part of that “fueling fire” has been Piedmont Culinary Guild (PCG), Charlotte’s Rebel Alliance (yes, Star Wars reference!) fighting back against the chain restaurants and their strangling omnipresence.
The Guild, active for about a year now, is comprised of chefs, farmers, teachers, and food artisans in Charlotte and the surrounding areas who all share a collective focus: connecting and strengthening the local food chain to improve all aspects of what we eat. To accomplish this, the PCG employs a three-pronged attack.
First, they band together to share resources, using forums and social media. This ensures that the chefs have easy access to anything they might need to make the best food possible. Next, they share knowledge and skill virtually and physically to educate and elevate the local cuisine. Finally, the PCG aims to establish regional recognition through events, fundraisers, and social media. It is important to see that there is a culinary culture emerging. Chefs are crafting dishes using flavors unique to Charlotte, not just generic meals under the umbrella of Southern Food.
Editor’s Note: We agree John! Check out the April issue for some of the best the Queen City has to offer!