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Follow my journey from Charleston to Savannah and learn about the culinary wonders that await.
Do you long to go beyond the traditional travel experience and learn more about a destination’s culture through their cuisine? Culinary travel is right up your alley.
If culinary experiences are what come to mind when you think of Charleston and Savannah, you wouldn’t be the only one! Charleston is home of the famous she-crab soup, amazing oysters, and arguably the best fried chicken this side of the Mississippi (I know everyone has her/his favorite!). Savannah might argue with you on that one as a matter of fact. Theirs is pretty delicious, too! So is their shrimp and grits. Down home cooking is the name of the game in Low Country, and the many incredible eateries take this very seriously.
To many, Rodney Scott has become a household name. He grew up cooking whole-hog barbeque for his family’s store in a little town outside Charleston. Now, he’s an award-winning pit master with an up-and-coming barbeque empire. He owns restaurants in Charleston as well as where I live in Birmingham, and another one is in the works in Atlanta. Check him out on Netflix’s Chef’s Table to learn more about his story. If you’re not familiar with Chef’s Table yet, where have you been? Start with Season 1 and work your way up to the BBQ in Season 7!
I couldn’t forget Savannah, now could I? Mashama Bailey grew up in Savannah, though she moved to New York when she was 11 years old when her mom wanted to look for better work opportunities. After a detour to France (think cooking in a French chateau), she ended up moving back Stateside, and eventually made her way back to Georgia where she had a culinary epiphany, and started expressing the area’s history through her food at The Grey. Bailey on the restaurant: “When I’m in this building, I can’t help but understand the historical impact that it holds. My family members would not have been able to walk freely in this space, and now to be the executive chef here, to be a partner in this restaurant, you understand that change is willing to happen in a place like Savannah. And at the same time, there’s so much to do, I’m just getting warmed up.” Where do you think you can find her? On Chef’s Table (Season 6), of course!
Also, don’t forget about the annual Charleston Wine + Food festival. Although the event has been cancelled this year, hopefully they will relaunch in 2022. Fingers crossed!
Check out Stanley Tucci’s new show on CNN every Sunday night at 9pm ET/8pm CT
Each Sunday, Stanley showcases some of the best food in one particular region in Italy. I love how he doesn’t go just to the tourist traps, but really takes a deep dive into off-the-beaten path culinary experiences. Think seeing how fresh buffalo mozzarella and limoncello are made, and Michelin-starred Carbonara. I, too, will take you to Italy in a future JST Snapshots edition…you can count on that!
Sheila Johnson is a leading light in the hospitality industry. On top of being an entrepreneur and philanthropist, a powerful influence in the entertainment industry and partner in three professional sports teams, she is also Founder and CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts. She oversees a portfolio of luxury hotels from the green hills of Virginia to the blue waters of Jamaica. Ms. Johnson’s hotels are one of her passion projects, and they all offer authentic and immersive experiences in each destination. Sheila on travel and hospitality: “The way I travel is the way I like to describe my hotels: comfortable luxury.” In Charleston, you will find Hotel Bennett, a jewel box of a hotel. Hotel Bennett feels like a grand hotel which was picked up in Europe and placed right on Marion Square. Try as many tasty macaron flavors as possible in the hotel’s La Patisserie, then stroll over to Camellias for a glass of bubbly before heading over to Gabrielle for elevated Southern cuisine. After all, we are talking culinary this month, right?
Now, back to Sheila Johnson! She has used her prominent voice to call attention to the need for more diversity within the hotel business. Ms. Johnson was the keynote speaker at this past August’s virtual Virtuoso Travel Week (see my site for more details on the Virtuoso network). During her outstanding speech, she had this to say: “Because the hospitality industry already employs such a diverse cross-section of people, people of all different colors, cultures, languages, backgrounds and religions, we have a gigantic head start in learning how to fix this country’s single most burning social issue today, namely race, or racism, in America.”
See why Sheila picked the name Salamander–and more about this remarkable pioneer–in this clip from Good Morning America: https://www.goodmorningamerica.com/video/gma3
(“Pioneering billionaire entrepreneur Sheila Johnson” – Friday, February 26, 2021)
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We are a luxury travel design studio specializing in once-in-a-lifetime experiences brought to life through a creative planning process. No two travel styles are the same. We specialize in life-changing experiences and are committed to going above and beyond to delivering the exceptional. Whether you are a multi-generational family, couple, or solo traveler, we can tailor a trip specific to you and what makes your eyes light up when you talk about travel.
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