“New York, is cold, crowded, and so people crave comfort food and a little hospitality,” says Chef Jeff McInnis of Root & Bone in Manhattan’s Alphabet City. “That’s what Root & Bone offers—extremely approachable food and Southern hospitality.”
McInnis knows of which he speaks. Born in Niceville, Florida, he is as comfortable on a fishing boat as in a kitchen, and he makes some mean fried chicken (he was famous for it during his stint at Yardbird in Miami, and Root & Bone’s version is getting some serious love, too). He trained at Johnson & Wales in Charleston, South Carolina. Then, of course, there is the stint on Season 5 of Bravo’s Top Chef.
So we are proud to say he is our ambassador to introduce The Local Palate to the Big Apple, and we can’t wait to take the city by storm with another one of our favorite partners, the Food Film Festival.
On Saturday, November 1, Chef McInnis will be representing TLP during Night Aquatic, an exclusive event of the NYC Food Film Festival. He’ll be serving another of his specialties—shrimp and grits—which will accompany the film Head On—Shrimping in the Lowcountry by George Motz.
“Shrimp and grits are on the menu at Root & Bone, and it’s one of those dishes that is going to stay on it forever,” he explains.
This iconic dish is greater than the sum of its parts, but the highest-quality results start with high-quality ingredients. Here’s a shopping list for your shrimp and grits from Chef McInnis, a man who is an expert on building Southern flavor:
- Buy quality grits, not mass-produced, instant or anything like that. I had a hard time finding good grits in NYC, but I found a local mill in Trumansburg, New York, that mills them every week. You have to buy good grits.
- Buy wild-caught shrimp. We are using South Carolina shrimp for Night Aquatic. Farm-raised is never an option.
- Buy Southern-made country ham. I purchase my ham from Surrey, Virginia.
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