This month two of the nation’s most well known newspapers, The New York Times and The L.A. Times, wrote articles lauding Charleston as a city with a vibrant culinary scene and a “food lover’s paradise.” It’s about time! While Charlestonian’s know that wherever they turn culinary delights are at their finger tips, the rest of the nation has now been let in on the secret. Case and point, the story that ran in the New York Times, “36 Hours in Charleston,” was one of the most emailed articles that week (9/9/10).
Charleston, widely associated with its deeply rooted history and Southern charm, has also been highly recognized for its lowcountry cuisine, especially of late. For the past three years, the James Beard award winners for Best Chef of the Southeast have all been based in Charleston. The reason not only has to do with the talent of these individual Chefs and their colleagues, but regionally to the overall commitment to quality and investment in the culinary arts. In Charleston, the culinary arts is the largest employer of any of the identified creative industry sub-clusters (*check out the economic report in 8/25/10 post), with 5,782 culinary employees in creative enterprises. A common principle of Charleston restaurants is to buy local and seasonally to ensure quality and freshness. Charleston’s farmer’s market, located in Marion Square was recognized by Bon Appetite magazine as one of the “Top 10 Lunches at Farmer’s Markets” in the October issue (on stands now).
According to L.A. Times writer Jessica Garrison, “we felt that immersing ourselves in the area’s cuisine had given us a deeper appreciation of the place and the culture than can be had from merely sightseeing.” But we already knew that. So make those reservations, explore new restaurants, and continue to embrace and support those that feed Charleston so deliciously well. Oh, and put those lists together for who you think will take home the James Beard award next year!