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Another issue of Charleston has shipped to the printer so I have a chance to catch up on some e-mails and other recent news. On Sunday, May 4th, I should have blogged immediately when I was alerted that Charleston's own Mike Lata—chef and coowner of FIG—was named "Best Chef: Southeast" by the James Beard Foundation. If you’re not familiar with these awards, TIME magazine dubbed them "the Oscars for the food world" and the awards ceremony in NYC is quite the party. (I attended in 2001 when former Charleston Grill chef Bob Waggoner was up for the same award and let me just say that the Bacardi afterparty in Grand Central Station was something else....)

Chef Lata is well-loved in Charleston, both for his culinary prowess and his personality. I think at last half of the magazine staff, and perhaps at least half of the female population of Charleston have had a crush on Mike at one time or another. Well, apparently Martha Stewart loves Mike, too!

A belated congratulations Mike!