UPDATE (3/5): See Matt’s iPhone photos and menu from last night’s dine around, here.
UPDATE (3/4): Per sous chef Matt: “FIG was great. Michael loved it. Chicken liver pate was a hit. Sweetbread ravioli awesome.”
Michael travels to Charleston, South Carolina today with sous chef Matt Hinckley for its Food and Wine Festival, where they will put out a dinner for 80 tomorrow night and a cooking demo and book signing on Saturday.
Part of the fun of doing events like this in other cities is connecting with their most inspired chefs and eating at their restaurants. In Charleston, Mike Lata is one of those chefs you want to spend time with. Like our Michael, Lata’s food is ingredient driven; he makes a strong commitment to work with local farmers, ranchers and suppliers who are dedicated to natural, sustainable agriculture. Michael and Matt will dine tonight at FIG at 8:30 (join me in a prayer for Michael’s live Tweets so we can all live vicariously,) the restaurant where Lata earned his James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southeast in 2009. More on that later.
My mother and I ate there in 2007 when I was road-tripping my way home to Miami from New York City where I had spent four years living, working, and playing. We had an insane meal. What sticks in my mind still is a fresh vegetable salad he made that compelled us to ask for the chef to touch our table. It was a colorful hill of finely diced garden veggies wading in a white, wide-rimmed bowl of tomato consommé. He was able to get out of the kitchen and come over, and we were able to ask all sorts of questions like, how do we make this amazing salad at home??
Lata is such an A+ that when I wrote him last night at 5:22 p.m., probably right as a dinner service began full of chefs in town for the Festival – asking for a favor no less — he came through. Here it goes (and Mike you have an open invitation to visit us, and we’ll take you around to some of our South Florida farms — and get you that MGFD meal, too.) Continue reading