The Taste of Charleston is the Lowcountry of South Carolina’s biggest culinary event of the year, a two-day event that showcases some of Charleston’s finest restaurants and chefs. Set at the historic Boone Hall Plantation, more than 40 casual and fine dining establishments offer sample size portions in a convivial atmosphere.
There is also, thankfully, an emphasis on eating healthy thanks to the South Carolina Hospital Association. For the past four years the Association has partnered with the Culinary Institute of Charleston at Trident Technical College and Sodexo to host the Cooking Well Invitational, a competition among hospital chefs to create healthful, delicious, and affordable food for their patients and communities. The criteria for the contest requires three dishes (an appetizer, entrée, and dessert) that have reasonable nutritional and cost requirements while also using at least two cooking methods and needing less than 90 minutes to prepare.
This year’s winner was the Tidelands Health team, which featured chefs Tom DelSolia, Brian Eubanks, Derrick Grove, Theo Nelson. The four showed off a dazzling level of creativity in their three-course menu, starting with a goat cheese and herb pancake with roasted beet salad, followed by a squid ink pasta with lacinato kale and finishing with a kefir panna cotta with balsamic fennel. 2016 runner-ups MUSC Health and Beaufort Memorial created similarly compelling dishes—the former presented a Muhammara “roll” appetizer alongside a Paleo Salmon Roulade entrée and butternut squash and aquafaba meringue dessert, while the latter offered a fennel and grapefruit salad on arugula, Greek bison falafels with quinoa tabbouleh, and Mediterranean-style banana and strawberry soft tacos.
Each of the competing hospitals, having earned their eligibility to compete because of their Gold Apple status for excellence in creating workplace environments where healthy eating is an easy choice, won praise from the judges. In all, eight hospitals participated, and we congratulate them all: Baptist Easley, Beaufort Memorial, MUSC Health, Palmetto Health, Regional Medical Center, Roper St. Francis, Tidelands Health and Trident Health. Bon Appétit!