March is a great month for pho, a traditional Vietnamese rice noodle soup often made with beef or chicken, because winter is still hanging on a little; having a steaming bowl of pho can take the chill off. The way to correctly pronounce "pho" is as in "do re mi FA so..." I learned this during a kitchen session with Chef Di Wang, owner of Relish Café.
Chef Eric Sayers is the first to admit his story is not the typical sentimental one that involves cooking at his grandmother’s apron strings.
“I'm from Connecticut and started as a busboy at a conference center. I was really wanting to work the back of the house and so the chef put me on salads and desserts,” he said. “Eventually, an Austrian chef with fiery red hair and enormous hands named Hakken Blakken was hired and he made these elaborate food designs on mirrors. He took me aside and showed me his secrets on how to make chocolate mousse and other dishes. I wish I had taken notes.”
Owning a restaurant as a family gives new meaning to the words “family meeting,” but the Whiteheads have a special dynamic that makes it all work.
“Our motto is ‘Friends, family and fun’ because we want people to know that we are all about families, and we welcome them,” says Rocky Whitehead, whose family opened the popular restaurant Bomboras Grille in 2011. Thanks to the recent addition of a new chef and an expanded menu, the family has decided to rename the restaurant Rockfish Seafood & Steak at Bomboras.
Movies and documentaries about food are where real character development takes root. Try “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” about an 85-year-old sushi master who runs a world-class restaurant in a subway station, or “For Grace,” about the challenges one man faces on his way to becoming one of the most lauded American chefs. “Big Night” is about a dinner party to top all dinner parties, starring the inimitable Stanley Tucci; “Babette’s Feast” is a slow-moving and intense look at life in a stoic setting (if you don’t speak Danish, read the subtitles).
JEFF MARTIN, general manager, Red Fish Bluffton
Question: How many years have you been at Red Fish?
Answer: Twelve years as of this past October. I've been at the Bluffton location since June.
Q: How are you liking the Bluffton location?
A: It's great being in Bluffton, just a longer commute. Our "locals to tourists ratio" is a lot higher in Bluffton. I like that.
Q: What makes the Bluffton location different from the Hilton Head Island spot, if anything?
A: We are "the same but different." We have some of the same signature items on our dinner menu, but the menus are not identical. Our lunch and early dining menus are very different from the island location. Two things we have that the island doesn't are our bar menu with great values on food, drinks, beer and wine, and we serve brunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays.
ANDREW CARMINES HUDSON’S SEAFOOD HOUSE ON THE DOCKS
Question: After flooding from king tides in 2015 and then Hurricane Matthew damage in 2016, do you feel your restaurant has some good karma coming its way in 2017?
Answer: We have a lot to look forward to in the future. The challenges brought by Hurricane Mathew made us appreciate what we have and gave us a renewed commitment to making it as good as it can be. That being said, I don’t want to do that again for a little while.
Olives are everywhere: swirling around in crystal martini glasses, pressed into luxurious extra-virgin oil used by Michelin chefs, and even on the coat of arms of the United States: recognizable on the cover of your passport and other official documents, the American eagle clutches an olive branch with 13 leaves, representing the 13 original colonies. Many people also use olive oil on their skin and hair as part of their beauty regimes — a ritual that may have started with Cleopatra. Or whip up a batch of homemade furniture polish by using the least expensive olive oil at the market, some white vinegar and a few drops of essential oil for scent, and watch as your scuff marks polish away. There are so many ways to use this impressive fruit.
There are many celebrated chefs across the Lowcountry. One of the most acclaimed is Lee Lucier. The Hilton Head Island chef, consultant, television producer and food stylist is nationally known for his numerous appearances at prestigious food festivals and on TV shows such as “Good Morning America,” “Fox & Friends” and “Restaurant Impossible.” Locally, he’s best known for his work at the South Carolina Yacht Club and Local Pie, a trendy Neapolitan-style pizza joint.
Like the alligators, oats were here first. Well, not exactly “here” as in the Lowcountry, but they were found in China and Greece as early as 7,000 B.C. This simple understated yet powerful grain is one of the top “go-to” recommended foods for heart health and other benefits. Among oatmeal aficionados, steel-cut oats and whole oat groats are the true status oats, and those who eat them with a cult-like following will look down on your bowl of microwaved quick-cooking, pre-flavored oatmeal.
[Question] What’s your take on the food scene on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton?
[Answer] The food scene on Hilton Head Island has always been a few steps ahead of anything else in this area. It is a large part of what made the island so popular. It's nice to have a big beautiful house on the beach or a place to play golf, but unless there are great restaurants, then it’s just not the same. What is going on in Bluffton, meanwhile, is nothing short of amazing. So much good food is popping up there. It’s no surprise, really, with the number of people moving there. I'm even hearing about restaurants in Savannah expanding to Bluffton. That will tell you how they feel about the area.