Lowcountry Cuisine in the Spotlight at MenuDirections

Conference looks at unique flavors & foods of the Carolinas.

Any visitor to Charleston, S.C., is likely to be exposed to the region’s celebrated Lowcountry cuisine. Attendees of MenuDirections got a full immersion, starting with an overview of the signature ingredients and flavors from chef Mike Ellis, followed by an actual taste at his restaurant, A.W. Shuck's, one of three standout local places included in the conference’s Dine-Around.

As Ellis explained to the 250 foodservice professionals in attendance, Lowcountry cuisine is “perhaps the first true regional cuisine,” extending back to colonial days. It reflects “many early influences, including Indian and European,” he noted.

Those cooking styles and flavors were further influenced by the West African touches and techniques that slaves brought with them to the New World, yielding dishes that remain the cuisine’s staples.

Ellis provided a quick overview of commonly used ingredients, which include rice; corn, served both on the cob and ground into flour or grits; oysters, “so plentiful in the low country that oyster roasts have become as common as the backyard barbecue”; fried green tomatoes; and “the holy trinity” of peppers, onions and celery.

Attendees sampled a number of those components during the Drive-Around. Ellis, for example, served a gumbo made with local creek shrimp and other seafood.

Fleet’s Landing provided hefty samples of shrimp and grits, a traditional breakfast now served by many Carolina restaurants and households for dinner as well. It also served a hush puppy stuffed with seafood.

High Cotton, part of Charleston’s Maverick Southern Kitchens restaurant group, provided what one chef-attendee described as highly refined southern specialties, like pickled cauliflower and pork rillettes, a pate-like dish.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Amherst-Pelham Regional School District in Amherst, Mass., is updating its lunch debt policy to no longer single out students, MassLive reports.

Under the new policy, students with lunch debt will be given the same meals as their peers, regardless of how much they owe. School officials will also be communicating directly with parents of students who have accumulated debt instead of through the students themselves.

The updated policy comes just before U.S. school districts will be required to publicly list their lunch debt policies, per new USDA requirements starting July 1...

Menu Development
eureka

Since California’s state motto is “Eureka!” it seems fitting that a recent conversation with the director of hospitality at San Diego’s Palomar Health led to the biggest aha moment I’ve had in a long time.

I called Jim Metzger in late April with the purpose of discussing Palomar’s recent commitment to the goal of making 60% of its total menu plant-based by this summer. It seemed a lofty number, and I was curious how the public health system planned to get there.

But my personal eureka didn’t come while we were talking about how Palomar had cleaned up the impulse-buy zones...

Industry News & Opinion

Labeling foods with indulgent buzzwords such as “sweet sizzlin’” and “crispy” can lead consumers to make healthier food choices , according to a recent study out of Stanford University .

In the fall 2016 study, researchers labeled vegetables in one of the school’s dining halls using terms from four categories: basic, healthy restrictive, healthy positive or indulgent.

The green beans, for example, were listed as “green beans” for basic, “light ‘n’ low-carb green beans and shallots” for healthy restrictive, “healthy energy boosting green beans and shallots” for healthy...

Ideas and Innovation
sparkling water

Our carbonated soft drink sales at Earls.67 reflect a national trend; we’re continually down on carbonated soft drink sales by 8% to 9% on an annual basis,” says Cameron Bogue, beverage director at the contemporary-casual chain Earls Kitchen + Bar.

The issue with spa water

Many operators are intrigued with the offering, but they are learning that infused water can’t be offered at a cost to guests unless there is added value beyond cut-up fruit. Bogue says, “I was adamant that I didn’t want to charge for spa water.”

Agua fresca alternatives

At the original location of

...

FSD Resources