JUN 2018

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ J U N E 2 0 1 8 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 32 SOUTHERN FOODIE DESTINATIONS Exquisite culinary experiences depend on the work of expert chefs. Check out these celebrated professionals in destinations across the South: Wilmington, N.C., • Southern Living magazine chose PinPoint Restaurant in Wilmington, N.C., as one of the South's Best New Restaurants in 2016, crediting chef/owner Dean Neff as "a young, talented chef expertly hitting his stride." • BRAVO Top Chef contestant Keith Rhodes offers signature seafood dishes and award-winning crab cakes at CATCH Modern Seafood restaurant and CATCH the Food Truck. • Celebrity Chef Vivian Howard from the Emmy-award-winning PBS show "A Chef 's Life" recently opened Benny's Big Time Pizzeria. Food & Wine magazine has named Vivian Howard one of the 20 Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink. Birmingham, Ala. When considering food options in the Birmingham area, groups will want to sample the creations of internationally renowned chef and Birmingham restaurant owner Frank Stitt. Chef Stitt's Highlands Bar & Grill, one of the best-known dining establishments in the state, features fresh Southern ingredients combined with French sauces and braises. Several other chef-owned restaurants in town featuring locally grown ingredients include Chef Chris Hastings' Hot & Hot Fish Club, and Café Dupont, set in a renovated 1870s store and featuring signature dishes by Chef/Owner Chris Dupont. Fort Lauderdale, Fla. A DoubleTree by Hilton property, Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach restaurants – including Breezes full-service restaurant; Waves Rooftop Pool Bar & Grill; and the catering department – have been reinvented thanks to newly appointed Executive Chef Richard Goldberg. Inspired by the nautical culture of Fort Lauderdale, Chef Rich is introducing fresh, locally sourced ingredients and is also offering interesting fusion dishes that showcase the area's diversity. A great example of this is the "Floribbean" cuisine at Waves. Myrtle Beach, S.C. Chef Michael McKinnon of The Cypress Room in Myrtle Beach describes his style as French-inspired New American cuisine with a devotion to using the finest fresh ingredients and implementing a simplistic, stylish technique with dynamic presentations. He has won numerous awards at the Taste of the Tidelands before proceeding to work in some of Myrtle Beach's finest restaurants, such as The Grande Dunes Ocean Club and the Carriage House Club. Chef McKinnon's goal at The Cypress Room is to provide memorable dining experi- ences through passionately created culinary dishes. n in-house mixologist to celebrate corporate pride or craft tableside cocktail creations, including the Smoked Old Fashion, presented in an aromatic glass globe and made with the restaurant's own bourbon. Lively sushi demon- strations are also offered every Friday with live music. As the Greater Birmingham CVB (GBCVB) proudly proclaims, the Southern city has "more dishes than you can shake a fork at." It also offers a number of foodie experiences that groups will enjoy, according to GBCVB Director Of Sales Steve Pierson. Among the most interactive of these is the Bike & Brew Tour, which offers small groups a chance to ride bikes around the newly in- vigorated downtown, visit local breweries and learn how their beers are made while also en- joying a few samples. For those who want to skip the bike ride and get right to the tasting, local taprooms offer group tours and tastings. If your group prefers wine, the Alabama Wine Trail includes three locations on the outskirts of the city. Groups visiting Myrtle Beach can leverage the expertise of the International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach at Horry-George- town Technical College for cooking demos, classes and interactive experiences. There, up-and-coming chef students train using contemporary equipment in areas such as fine dining, buffet and café service. Through their studies, students create menus using a variety of cooking techniques focusing on taste, texture, color and creativity. In Greenville, S.C., Greenbrier Farms is a short 10-minute drive from downtown and offers unique team-building experiences centered on food. Some group activities include farm tours and farm-to-table culinary experiences, in which attendees learn about the fully working farm and sustainable agriculture practices. After the tour, groups make their own fresh pizza dough and then enjoy dinner and a local beer tasting, along with live music in Greenbrier's barn. The or- ganization also offers private butchering and charcuterie classes, as well as wellness day programs, including hikes around the farm or yoga in the barn followed by a seasonal farm-to-table dining experience. Food tours in Norfolk, Va., allow groups to Chef Spotlight Neff Goldberg

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