Wednesday, November 28, 2012

CIC Grad Opens New Restaurant

Were you in school with Nathan Conkle? Perhaps you'll want to visit this CIC grad in his new resto, The Gathering Cafe.

Kristin Hackler wrote in The West Ashley News: "According to Conkle, the menu comes from a variety of inspiring source...s. From Wolfgang Puck to Jamie Oliver, Conkle also drew from his training at the Trident Technical Culinary School and his experience working in area restaurants from Magnolia’s downtown to the Sanctuary on Kiawah Island....

“'I’d say my greatest inspiration recently has been the menu at the River Cottage in England. Overall, I try to keep it simple and health conscious but still in the comfort food style.' ... 'I try to do as much local and organic produce as possible,' says Conkle. 'A lot of the produce comes through GrowFood Carolina, the sausage comes from Kingstree, the eggs are local through Limehouse, the grits are Adluh grits, and the chicken and bison are both from North Carolina.' Even the bread is baked just up the road at Pane di Vida, a bakery that currently sells exclusively to area restaurants.

"The sides, Conkle noted, will also change with the seasons and with demand. Right now the menu features winter favorites such as Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Acorn Squash with Honey and Sea Salt, and Potatoes Au Gratin, but as the weather warms up again the sides will switch out for whatever is ready to pick in local fields."
Check it out. The Gathering Café is located at 1124 Sam Rittenberg Blvd. in the Orange Grove Plaza. For more information, call 297-8380 or visit

UPDATE: The Charleston City Paper notice Nathan's restaurant. Read what they had to say, plus see a picture of the interior.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

TTC Signs on to Participate in Food Composting

According to an article in the Nov. 24th Post & Courier, TTC, MUSC, The College of Charleston, and the Citadel  will be recycling their food waste thanks to a contract with Koeckeritz’s Food Waste Disposal. "So far, only MUSC and the College of Charleston have begun collecting the waste. And they’re doing it on a limited basis. The other two schools are expected to roll out their programs soon. ... To participate, the schools receive 64-gallon containers, which Koeckeritz collects several times a week so that it doesn’t pose a health hazard." Charleston County's food composting facility at Bees Ferry Landfill is the only DHEC-approved commercial facility in the state.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Chef Wilson's Petits Fours Class Offers Clever Final Presentations

Monday, November 19, 2012

Chef Carmel Teaches Healthier Holiday Dishes to Louie's Kids

On behalf of the Louie's Kids organization, on November 3rd., Chef Carmel, and three CIC student assistants, went to Zucker Middle School on Dorchester Road to teach twelve to fourteen year-old students healthier holiday dishes. Chef Carmel selected a chicken or turkey pot pie with a phyllo pastry top and colorful dish of Spaghetti Squash Provencal.

Louie’s Kids is a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization that raises funds to help treat childhood obesity, which afflicts 25 million American children today. Louie’s Kids works to find the best treatment options to meet the needs of each child.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Chef Kevin Mitchell Attends World of Flavor Conference at CIA

Chefs Kyle Connaughton, Max Bilet,
Mourad Lahlou, and Gunnar Gislasson.

The Culinary Institute of America held its 15th World of Flavors Conference & Festival at its Greystone campus in the Napa Valley. The conference brought together over 700 industry people and chefs for a three day exploration of  the "Arc of Flavor" which spanned through the Mediterranean and the Middle East to Asia. Seminars, demonstrations, and panel discussions familiarized the attendees with the importance spices have on the  cuisines of today. The 2012 Conference & Festival represented more than twenty cultures and cuisines, including Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, Spain, Morocco, and Indonesia. Each day was capped off by a Marketplace dinner where attendees were able to taste the food from the visiting chefs. 

Seminars that Chef Mitchell attended included Destructing Curry: Mapping Flavors and Spice Mixtures for American Menus; From Mekong To The Markets of South India: Mastering Aromatics in the Asian Kitchen; and Savory and Sweet: Layering Flavors in the Indian Spice Kitchen. Some of the presenters that he heard were John T. Edge, Southern Food Scholar and Author, Director of Southern Foodways Alliance, Oxford, MS; Maxime Bilet, Modernist Cuisine Co-author, Director of Culinary Arts and Sciences, The Cooking Lab/Intellectual Ventures, Seattle, WA; Jehangir Metha chef/owner of Graffiti and Mehtaphor in New York and Next Iron Chef contestant; and Mourad Lahlou, Chef-Owner, Aziza; San Francisco, CA.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tryouts for San Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition

Left: back Will D'Erasmo and  front Michael Wilhite
Right: back Mitchell Cooper  and front Shamona Dunmeyer

On Nov. 2nd, four CIC students tried out for the San Pellegrino Almost Famous Competition: Will D’Erasmo, Mitchell Cooper, Shamona Dunmeyer, and Michael Wilhite. Will was the winner of the competition. Michael was the runner up and first alternate. Chef Instructor Joe Branton (in the photo above left), a former San Pellegrino Almost Famous Competition People's Choice Winner was also in attendance and acted as one of the Chef Judges for the competition. The next step for Will is to compete in the SouthEast Regional on January 27 and 28th at the Art Institute of Atlanta. The finals are in Napa in February. In the meantime, you can keep up with how other teams are doing across the country at 

Friday, November 2, 2012

CIC chefs worked toward advanced certifications through American Culinary Federation

L - R: Chefs Miles Huff, Richard Nickless, Bruce Ozga (ACF Trainer), Kevin Mitchell, M. Kelly Wilson,
Ward Morgan, Greg Mueller, and Robert Murray.

On a dark, cloudy day, with Hurricane Sandy churning 350 miles off the coast of Charleston, the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Greater Charleston Chapter hosted the first of two annual practical examinations, where hopeful chef candidates from as far as Bluffton, South Carolina, braved the weather for an opportunity to earn advanced culinary certifications.
ACF is the leading accredited organization in the United States operating the most comprehensive certification program for current and future chefs and pastry chefs. Depending on the certification level, chefs are required to demonstrate expert knowledge in food safety and sanitation, menu development, cooking technique, taste and plating skills. In addition to the cooking practical portion of the exam, candidates must also pass a separate 100-question written exam.
The examination was proctored by ACF chef evaluators Michael Carmel, CEC, CCA, M Edu. (lead); Kimberly Brock Brown, CEPC, CCA, AAC; Elena Clement, CEPC; and Ron Andrews, CEC. The Greater Charleston Chapter celebrated the following passing members: Chefs Charles Arena, Tim McAuliffe, Chad Billings, and Scott Stefanelli, Certified Executive Chef® practical exam; Chef Joe Branton, Certified Sous Chef® practical exam; and Evelyn-Zale-Brown, Certified Chef de Cuisine® practical exam. All six candidates must now pass the written exam in order to obtain their respective certification levels. Congratulations to all!
On the day before the practical exam, a group of ACF chefs came together for Approved Certification Evaluator (ACE) training.  Lead by Bruce Ozga, CEC, AAC, ACE, from Johnson & Wales University, Robert “Mile” Huff, CCE; Ward Morgan, CEC, CCE; Richard “Nick” Nickless, CEC, CCA, AAC, CDM, CFPP; Kevin Mitchell CEC; and Greg Mueller CEC, CCA, CDM, CFPP participated in and passed an intensive eight-hour instruction and mentoring session and next-day exam observation. The group will separately observe three additional ACF practical exams throughout the year before obtaining their ACE status, providing the Greater Charleston Chapter with five additional ACE chefs.
For more information about ACF certifications or ACE training, visit For information regarding the ACF Greater Charleston Chapter, membership and meeting dates, visit