Oyster ice cream: A surprising scoop of American food history

“People actually ate this...It was once a big deal in Read more

Chocolate, ice cream and N.C. root beer!

In my favorite round, Battle Uncle Scott's Root Beer, Merrell, who runs the tapas restaurant and "cocktaileria" Circa 81 restaurant in Morehead City, prepared one heck of a riff on a Black Cow, that famous chocolate, ice cream and Read more

Cooking lessons learned at 2014 Fire on the Dock

As the contest moves into its final battle tonight, I'm thinking back to the ideas I got during the 2014 tournament, part of the statewide Competition Dining Series that ultimately crowns an overall North Carolina winner from four regional Read more

Southern Collards should be the new kale

Will collards be the new kale, darling of diners seeking farm-to-table fare? If the 2014 Fire on the Dock chef competition is any indication, maybe. Read more

Food touring in Carrboro with Taste Carolina

As I often say, "I'm eat up with it," and Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours fed my obsession quite well this past weekend. Read more

farmers markets

Cooking classes galore!

Making risotto on Culinary Adventures with Liz Biro's Top Chef Farmers Market Tour & Cooking Class.

Back to school is not just for kids. Sharpen your cooking skills with some of Wilmington’s best chefs.

Keith Rhodes of Catch restaurant and Phun Seafood Bar, Roberta Campani of La Gemma Fine Italian Pastries and Kyle Lee McKnight of Manna are among those sharing their skills during various classes at The Seasoned Gourmet, Lumina Commons Suite 105, 1930 Eastwood Road.

McKnight, rooted in local, organic ingredients, focuses on seasonal cooking Oct. 30 with dishes like speckled trout over root vegetable hash with crab, herbs and pecan bacon emulsion.

The $45 class, including food and wine, begins at 6:30 p.m. To reserve seats, call 256-9488 or check The Seasoned Gourmet website at www.theseasonedgourmet.com.

You can also work alongside McKnight during Culinary Adventures with Liz Biro’s Top Chef Farmers Market Tour & Cooking Class Saturdays mornings.

Rhodes, a past James Beard Award nominee, and Campani are among many chefs who regularly teach classes at The Seasoned Gourmet. Campani also offers cooking classes at La Gemma, 2323 S. 17th St.

Kyle Lee McKnight shows students how to plate like the pros during Culinary Adventures with Liz Biro's Top Chef Farmers Market Tour & Cooking Class.

Want to know more about wine and olive oil? Check out Taste the Olive at The Forum, 1125-D Military Cutoff Road.

Monthly, free olive oil classes discuss the history of olive oil, how it is made and how to taste the oil to determine quality. Wine classes range from tasting seminars to training sessions on how to judge wine. For dates and times, call 256-6457 or visit Taste the Olive’s website at www.tastetheolive.com/events.

Margaret Shelton, the woman who many Wilmington chefs consider their culinary mother, opens her Shelton Herb Farm, 340 Goodman Road in Leland, to foodies this fall for classes on cool-season gardening and how to use what’s grown.

Area chefs depend on Shelton’s knowledge to stock their larders. They turn to her when they want specialty herbs (she was the woman behind Wilmington’s microgreens trend a few years ago). They also call Shelton when they are not sure how to use an herb.

Classes for individuals and groups will include home gardens for salad-making and probably how to use herbs in vinegars and other preparations, Shelton said.

“Tentatively, plan for Wednesdays,” she said.

For details and booking, call 253-5964 or sign up for the Shelton Herb Farm newsletter at Sheltonhf1986@atmc.net. Read the newsletter, too, at www.sheltonherbfarmnc.com. Tours of the farm are also available.

Posted on by lizbiro in Cooking classes, downtown Wilmington, Farmers markets, Local food, Recipes, Restaurants Leave a comment

Hog roasting with ‘Top Chef’

Left to right, Eggleston, Mendelsohn and McKnight, have been up all night cooking an Ossabaw hog for Mendelsohn's Class is in Session D.C. fundraiser.

When Bravo TV’s new, upcoming show “Life After Top Chef” airs, look for a Cape Fear cook in the mix.

Wilmington’s Kyle Lee McKnight today helps nationally known ethical farming advocate Bev Eggleston roast an Ossabaw hog during Washington, D.C.’s Class is in Session, a fundraiser benefitting  the Good Stuff Gardens Culinary Scholarship.

Season 4 “Top Chef” competitor Spike Mendelsohn is a Class is in Session organizer and a “Life After Top Chef” star.  The show, air date to be announced, follows some of the most popular “Top Chef” contestants to document their careers and culinary adventures since appearing on the cooking competition program.  

“Life After Top Chef” cameras roll as Eggleston and McKnight fire the Ossabaw.

McKnight also cooks today with Eggleston at D.C.’s Sweetlife Festival, which celebrates local, organic food. Eggleston is supplying 500 pounds of pork and 200 chickens. Pork comes from hogs raised by Duplin County farmer Willie Starling. Starling rears pigs for Eggleston’s EcoFriendly Foods , which supplies humanely raised, pastured meats from small, family farms.

Roasted root vegetables and coleslaw McKnight made with vegetables from Cottle Organics in Rose Hill will accompany the meat. 

A longtime supporter of local, organic, sustainable farms, McKnight has worked with Eggleston before, tapping EcoFriendly Foods for pork McKnight used in dishes he served while working as Circa 1922‘s executive chef.

Lately, McKnight has been competing locally in Fire on Dock, part of a statewide cooking competition, and hinting that soon he’ll be manning stoves at a new Wilmington restaurant, the address and owner of which have yet to be revealed. The project’s working name is Swim with the Fish.

Eggleston’s work with sustainable family farms has been featured in Gourmet, the Wall Street Journal, Village Voice and in writer Michael Pollan’s book “The Omivore’s Dilemma.”




Posted on by lizbiro in barbecue, Local food, New restaurants, Restaurants, ribs, Uncategorized Leave a comment

Poplar Grove farmers market is open, cooking classes coming

The Wilmington Riverfront Farmers Market, which opened March 31,  is a fun and bustling social affair, but the rolling lawn and farmland feel of Poplar Grove Plantation make the market there feel especially connected to the land.

Black radishes are among vegetables you may find this spring at the farmers market.

Poplar Grove, on U.S. 17 in Hampstead, opened its annual farmers market at 8 a.m. today. Vendors selling everything from honey and fresh berries to weathervanes and hand-woven shawls, stay on site each Wednesday until 1 p.m. through Nov. 21.

This opening day, the market features the Wood ‘n’ Wool Show. The display features hand-carved items, including animals, sea life and flowers, by the Cape Fear Woodcarvers Club. The Cape Fear Rug Hookers not only offers an array of work but member are also available to share information and provide advice about the craft.

Next week, cooking classes begin with Alexis Fouros, former restaurant owner and author of the Greek cookbook “Feast for the Gods.”  The 10 a.m. classes, including lunch, cost $40. The April 11 program focuses on strawberries and English peas. During future classes, students will learn how to prepare crab cakes, cornbread and tomato tarts.

Cooking class reservations are required. call 919-969-2430.


Posted on by lizbiro in Farmers markets, Local food, Uncategorized Leave a comment