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Charleston is blessed with an amazing food scene, and I have been blessed to witness and cover its evolution over the last 16 years, from my first bites of Southern barbecue and collard greens (remember Mr. B.’s on Coleman Boulevard?) to the gradual appearance of some ethnic flavor (the late Mama Rose Durden’s My Tho was ahead of its time)—all alongside a consistently strong fine-dining scene (I’ll never forget my first “waiter ballet” at Peninsula Grill). These days, there are seemingly endless opportunities for dining out—noodle bowls, tacos, oysters of every ilk, and barbecue galore—and that doesn’t even touch upon the explosion of artisanal purveyors crafting all manner of sauces, spirits, mixers, and more.

Over the years, we have regularly surveyed the Holy City’s culinary landscape, asking area food writers, gourmands, and other F&B pros to share their “Foodie Faves” in myriad categories. But for this issue, we wanted the city’s top taste-makers—the chefs—to have their say. For “Chefs’ Food & Bev Faves”, Charleston toques not only offered their picks for everything from cocktails to condiments, sweets to down-home seafood, they weighed in with entertaining and insightful commentary. I loved reading about their guilty pleasures for eating out (Michelle Weaver, we’re meeting at The Glass Onion for fries and Bearnaise, stat!) as well as light-hearted condemnations, such as Short Grain food truck’s Shuai Wang to Craig Deihl: “For a while I was eating at Artisan Meat Share twice a week... Damn you, Craig!”

I came away from this fun feature with some old favorites validated, a long list of tasty products and places to try, and a reaffirmation of the genuine camaraderie and respect among these culinary creatives—not every food city can claim that. I look forward to personally thanking them all during the five-day culinary showcase, Charleston Wine + Food, next month.

Until then, enjoy this Food & Drink issue, but grab a snack before diving in—you’re going to get very hungry!

 

dshankland@charlestonmag.com