Raskin Around: Jeremiah Langhorne leaving McCrady’s for Washington venture
Hanna Raskin – Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Jeremiah Langhorne, who worked his way up from line cook to become a nationally esteemed chef as McCrady’s chef de cuisine, is leaving the restaurant.
Langhorne is planning to open a 45-seat restaurant in Washington next summer.
“We’re going to be doing food that’s very similar (in terms of) attention to detail, but with a much more relaxed atmosphere,” says Langhorne, who’s been lauded by industry professionals and diners alike for ably steering a restaurant that could have been hamstrung by its executive chef’s frequent absences for promotional appearances.
Sous chef Daniel Heinze is being promoted to the chef de cuisine role on Oct. 1. Heinze, a Florida native, got his start in restaurants as a server before studying culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University in Miami. Heinze spent two years cooking under Norman Van Aken before joining the McCrady’s team in 2007.
“I’m really excited to see what he’s going to do, because he’s a pretty inventive guy who knows how to make food delicious,” Langhorne says.
Langhorne is currently negotiating a lease for a restaurant space in D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood. He hasn’t settled on a name.
According to Langhorne, he’s been contemplating a D.C. move for a few years, but was initially discouraged by colleagues who didn’t see much culinary potential in a city best known for expense account steak dinners. But D.C.’s food scene has lately surged, and Langhorne, who grew up in Virginia, says he’s always been drawn to the city’s architecture and neighborhood vibe.
“I’m from Virginia, so I’m going to spend time looking at the history of the region,” he promises. “I want it to be fun.”
Among the envisioned menu items in the “wouldn’t have flown at McCrady’s” category is a Sunday family-style crab crack.
“One of my favorite experiences was having crabs with Old Bay on them,” Langhorne recalls.
“It’s fun stuff,” he adds. “You might get dirty.”
As for Heinze, he suggests the chef de cuisine switchover could be slightly traumatic for the two men involved.
“It’s going to be scary to be without each other,” says Heinze, 30. “Jeremiah and I are very like-minded, but absolutely different people. We’re the yin and the yang.”
Although Heinze declined to reveal which chef identifies with which classical Chinese force, he described the six-year long collaboration in a way that recalls Lennon and McCartney’s songwriting partnership: “There are some things that have always been his, some things that have always been mine,” he says. But the end result was a coherent menu consistent with executive chef Sean Brock’s commitment to inventive presentations of locally sourced ingredients and inspirations.
Heinze says he hopes to develop dishes that reflect the new respect for minimalism he’s forged under Brock’s leadership. “He’s obviously been like a dad to me,” says Heinze, adding that he doesn’t expect Brock will have to put in extra kitchen hours during the transition. “He’s always around as much as he can be, or (available) by e-mail or text.”
Right now, Heinze is hard at work on the fall menu, set to debut Friday. “Hopefully there are a lot of good changes to come,” he says.
Wild Dunes beer fest
Americans tend to associate German beer with October, but Wild Dunes Resort’s food and beverage director, a native of Karlsruhe in Baden-Wurttemberg, says his countrymen don’t wait until fall to hoist their steins.
“I like Oktoberfest, but in summer, every week, there’s a reason to drink a lot,” Thomas McKinney-Stehr says. “One time they call it chicken festival, one time call it fish festival. That’s what I want to bring to Wild Dunes.”
In deference to American expectations, McKinney-Stehr is holding off until October to host his first-ever craft beer festival for tourists and local guests, but the Isle of Palms event otherwise reflects traditional German sensibilities.
“I look at the event as a puzzle,” he says. “Every item has to fit: The beer, the food, the service, the location, the cornhole. Every little thing has to be perfect.”
For the Island Brews and Chews Craft Beer Festival on Oct. 12, the resort is planning to pour two beers each from Holy City, Palmetto, Frothy Beard, Westbrook, Thomas Creek, Coastal Empire, Highland, Lonerider and Brooklyn breweries.
“No, it’s not German beer,” McKinney-Stehr says. “But we will have pretzels. ”
In addition to the beer and snacks, the event will feature lawn games and live music. Tickets to the festival, which runs from 3-7 p.m., are priced at $30. To purchase tickets, call 886-6000.
Brides love biscuit bars
Although not yet as popular as a drippy chocolate fountain, biscuit bars — featuring split buttermilk biscuits and fixings — are increasingly showing up at Southern weddings.
“With a variety of options and toppings, food bars are the best way to let your guests play with their food,” the bridal magazine The Knot earlier this year decreed in an online story titled “12 Surprising Food Bars You’ve Never Seen Before!” The post endorsed taco bars, doughnut bars, mashed potato bars, grilled cheese bars and biscuit bars, illustrated with a photo supplied by Charleston planner A Lowcountry Wedding.
After Charleston Grill chef Michelle Weaver staged a biscuit bar for June’s Bon Appetit Grub Crawl, Charleston Place added the amenity to its list of available event services.
“We wanted to represent the South and be interactive,” Weaver explains. “We had four different kinds of biscuits and 20 things you could put on top.”
Although the Grub Crawl bar was especially baroque, with hot-smoked wild salmon and shrimp gravy among the offered trimmings, Weaver says a more modest biscuit bar could work with as few as four or five toppings.
“You want sweet, salty and savory,” Weaver says, adding that vegetarians and meat lovers alike should be accommodated. She suggests setting the bar with sausage gravy, sliced tomatoes, “some kind of fun butter” and jam. “Everyone wants to see who comes up with the best biscuit.”
Dominique Ansel already has moved on to the “magic souffle,” a sturdy, Grand Marnier-filled brioche which sold out within 15 minutes of its debut earlier this month, but Charleston’s now catching up with the treat that made the New York City pastry chef a national sensation.
Kaminsky’s Baking Company last week issued the city’s first “KronutZ,” a play on the croissant-doughnut cross that briefly sold for upwards of $20 on the NYC black market. Ansel imposed a two-cronut-a-person limit on rabid fans who started lining up outside his bakery two hours before opening.
Kaminsky’s is borrowing that tactic, meting out its daily supply of 25 KronutZ on a first-come, first-serve basis, limiting customers to a two KronutZ maximum. KronutZ will be available only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, starting at noon. According to a release, the KronutZ are “four-inches square, sugar- and cinnamon-coated, creme filled and topped with a vanilla glaze.” They sell for $3.
Middleton Place farm
When Middleton Place late last year hired a pair of farm managers to work its fledgling one-acre production garden, the site didn’t just hire somebody with organic farm experience: It hired somebody with organic farm certification experience.
Partly because Amy Talarico knew the ropes and partly because the garden was located on an unmolested patch of land, Middleton sped through the certification process, last month earning its official organic designation. The certification came as good news to the farm, which this spring coped with the same drenching storms that destroyed crops across the region.
“We got absolutely murdered by the rain,” co-manager Frank Beaty says.
The farm’s now at the start of its second growing season: The beans, peppers, okra, eggplants and other crops are destined for the Middleton Place Restaurant, where chef Brandon Buck hopes to eventually strengthen his menus’ historical dimension by using heirloom varieties appropriate to the site’s interpretation period.
Surplus produce will be donated to food banks, but the farm serves a purpose beyond production, according to spokesman Warren Cobb. “We’re a plantation, and we’ve been growing stuff for hundreds of years,” he says. “This furthers our educational mission.” Before Middleton can stage extensive programs at the farm, Beaty says he and Talarico need to get the area cleaned up — “I’m about to attack this field with a manicurist’s eye.” — and its plants thriving.
Reach Hanna Raskin at 937-5560.