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Speaking with Steve Seguin, former Juan Luis manager and pop-up chef

Sweet Marjoram



What's the last thing you fried?

The last thing I fried up was just this morning when I made a big scrambled mess of some twice-cooked Yukon gold potatoes, bacon, mushrooms, and a little cabbage. Topped off with a fried egg, of course.

I'll go ahead and make the assumption that you're an 'Italophile.' You were at Wild Olive a while back and since then there has been a boom in Italian/pizza spots in Charleston. There are enough of those — what does the city need more of?

Yes, I'll admit it. I love Italian food. Pasta, pizza, heroes and hoagies, I'm about all that stuff. The people over at the likes of Slice Co., Wild Olive, Uneeda Sicilian, North Central Deli (Taylor Pork Roll and Italian Hoagies? Um, yes please!) as well as Juliet and the new kid on the block Renzo, keep me a happy boy. I'd really love to see us embracing more cultural diversity in our cuisine. As long as the food is done right, it's well looked after and has longevity in town. Perfect example: Dave Schuttenberg at Kwei Fei. Some may think his food is too spicy, or too bold, or too in-your-face but I say, "To hell with that!" I've seen the attention, the care, and time and love that goes into his food.

Mortadella or hog head cheese?

Mortadella, homeboy. Head cheese is delicious, but there's just something about a thinly sliced, light as a pig feather, deliciously fatty, nutty, creamy and divinely blessed piece of that Italian sausage. Diced pork fat, pistachios and I'm spent. Not even close.

Moving from Michigan to Tennessee at the age of eight, what are some of the Midwest foods you missed when you got down South?

So when I was in Michigan, I can still remember visiting my Grandmother and having the best breakfasts. That smell could wake you from a coma. That was the smell I most remember as a kid. I even recreated her sandwich in a pop-up breakfast I did at Charlestowne Fermentory a year or so ago. Sweet marjoram sausage, apricot jam, soft scrambled eggs, and toasted white bread with muenster cheese. It wasn't as good as Grandma's, but they never are, are they? I'll never forget that smell of Polish sausage with sweet marjoram. It's funny because lately I've begun looking into Polish, German, and even Russian influences in the Michigan area in and around where I grew up.

Speaking of Tennessee, which one is hype and which one deserves the praise — Nashville hot chicken or Memphis style BBQ?

I had some of my first foodie awakenings there in Tennessee. One such occasion was on my taste of some of Prince's Hot Chicken. Now, despite what anyone tells you, this place started it all. It was a place you only really knew about if a friend took you there, because they had just tried it and now wanted to see you pour sweat through a lunch of an Extra Hot two-piece. Nashville Hot Chicken has a special place in my heart. Memphis style barbecue is one of the four pillars of The United States of Barbecue. It's definitely not hype! I can only remember having it once as a kid, when we drove to see Graceland with the family. I don't know where it was at, but I'll never forget eating ribs, licking my fingers, suckling all that meltingly tender meat off the bone and tossing the bones into a nearby trash can ... Dammit Dre ! Now I'm hungry.

"I can still remember visiting my Grandmother and having the best breakfasts. That smell could wake you from a coma. That was the smell I most remember as a kid."



By d.r.e. james

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