Trend spotting: Three NYC chefs might be opening Charleston restaurants

In our minds they’re going to Carolina

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Chef Michael Toscano of New York City’s Perla, Montmarte, and Jeffrey’s Grocery is moving to Charleston to open a new restaurant - TWITTER
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  • Chef Michael Toscano of New York City’s Perla, Montmarte, and Jeffrey’s Grocery is moving to Charleston to open a new restaurant
Culinary watchdogs are always looking for food patterns. For instance, Charleston’s 2012 bánh mì boom had us writing headlines faster than you can say “Banh Appetit.” And the latest proliferation of fried chicken places, a chicken pox if you will, has us equally mesmerized.

Now there’s a new trend we’re watching: Northern chefs moving to Charleston. Here’s who we’re following:

New York City's Fat Radish co-owner and chef Ben Towill took up residence in Charleston last spring. (We know thanks to DesignSp*nge. The blog featured Ben and girlfriend Kate Dougherty’s charming Hampton Park flat.) Towill’s publicist told us the chef has no plans for a Charleston Fat Radish (a Fatter Radish if you will), but we’re thinking was just a bluff.



Then there was the news last week of Chef Michael Toscano. Hanna Raskin confirmed in The Post and Courier that Toscano of New York City’s Perla, Montmarte, and Jeffrey’s Grocery has left the Big Apple for Charleston. The chef visited the Lowcountry for the 2014 Charleston Wine & Food Festival and again in October to join Chef Ken Vedrinski for a Wild Dunes dinner and, apparently, fell in love with the area. Toscano told Raskin he plans to open a restaurant here, but not immediately. “I want to meet the people of the community and build relationships with purveyors, farmers, peers, and chefs,” he said.

And then there’s Chef Damon Wise. The former chef de cuisine of Andrew Carmellini's New York City French brasserie Lafayette — dubbed “The Super-Bistro” by The Wall Street Journal — departed the restaurant back in August. It was Eater.com who first speculated Wise might be making a go of it in the Lowcountry, and while we can’t confirm his intentions, we’ve heard whisperings that he’s scouted a possible restaurant location near the Charleston Children’s Museum.

And finally there’s our wish-list chef: NYC’s Amanda Cohen of Dirt Candy. Here’s why we’re pulling for a veggie-focused Dirt Candy South. Cohen’s husband Grady Hendrix is from Charleston. In fact Hendrix, the author of Horrorstör — and co-author of his wife’s wildly successful comic book cookbook — was just in town for a book signing at Blue Bicycle Books. Cohen is currently expanding her NYC restaurant, so why not open a Charleston outpost in the process? We can dream, right?

For now, it’s all just wishful eating.  

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