During the Southeastern Wildlife Expo (SEWE), the Certified South Carolina tent filled Marion Square with the delicious aromas of chef and farmer demos and local product samples. Fresh on the Menu, a program by the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, celebrates South Carolina chefs who prioritize using local ingredients and supporting our farmers. The demo stage also served as the 2022 Chef Ambassadors’ first debut:
Chef John Ondo from the Atlantic Room at the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island joined the stage Friday and prepared a middlin tabouli with sea beans from Heron Farms. The recipe included locally sourced rice middlin, shrimp, onion, and peppers combined with the “salternative” sea beans grown right in the heart of downtown Charleston, in Heron Farms’ sustainable vertical grow house. Chef Ondo encouraged attendees to try this dish with any local veggies found in their fridge.
Chef Chris Williams of Roy’s Grille in Lexington, South Carolina, wowed the crowd with his bacon potato salad and walked through the curing for his house-cured bacon from Peculiar Pig Farms (in Summerville, South Carolina). Chef Williams credited his mouthwatering bacon to the high quality of the pork sourced from Peculiar Pig Farms. He also emphasized the importance of not overworking the potatoes when making the dish and using the right mayonnaise–Duke’s, of course.
Rounding out the weekend of Chef Ambassadors on the Fresh on the Menu stage was chef Haydn Shaak from Restaurant 17 at Hotel Domestique in Travelers Rest, South Carolina. He prepared an entirely locally sourced seasonal salad with quail legs, including the quail from Manchester Farms (Columbia). Chef Shaak talked through the ins and outs of preparing such a delicate bird like quail and the subtle differences compared to cooking other poultry, like chicken or duck. Chef Shaak enjoys using seasonal products in his dishes because of the creativity it allows for and the adventure of Hotel Domestique’s new farm, just two miles from their grounds.
The Chef Ambassador program is a partnership between the South Carolina Department of Agriculture and the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, highlighting South Carolina’s culinary scene and promoting the state’s culinary arts through the ambassadors.
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