What is our ultimate local dish? Find out by dining out during September and October at one of the restaurants participating in the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America Local Dish Challenge.

The idea is for a chef to create a dish that reflects the “best of their local food scene.” Order up the item and $1 of the price will go to the JBF Taste America Education Drive. Instagram the dish with #JBFTasteAmerica and help a local Charleston food charity win $10,000 or 10 percent of the overall nationwide proceeds (whichever is higher). The most Instagrammed city wins. Charleston has a good chance of winning — 11 restaurants are taking part.

At the Wild Olive on Johns Island, Jacques Larson is featuring his Arista Tonnato, a scrumptious version of the classic Italian dish Vitello Tonnato that is all Lowcountry. “Because pork is more accessible and synonymous with Southern cuisine, we substitute it for veal, while adding the butter beans to give it a country charm and added creaminess to the dish,” says Larson.  

Local means pork for Cypress‘ Craig Deihl too. He’s highlighting a roasted heirloom pig dish, while over at Fish, Chef Nico Romo is keeping it simple with a beautiful bowl of Clammer Dave’s Steamed Clams.

Tristan’s Nate Whiting is also highlighting local seafood with his dish: Tarvin Family Shrimp poached in beef fat and served with crushed lemon potatoes that have been cooked in sea water. Sounds deep.

Not surprisingly, Chef Jeremiah Bacon is also putting the focus on seafood at his restaurants. He’s made it easy for you at Oak Steakhouse, with two choices. The market catch or the wedge bibb salad. At the The Macintosh, opt for the grilled fresh wahoo served with butter beans, sunchokes, mushrooms, puffed farro, and whey dashi. 

Other participating restaurants include The Grocery, O-Ku, Fleet Landing, Indaco, and Poogan’s Porch. 

Get out there and eat, and don’t forget to Instagram. We’d love to see your food porn (and see a local food charity win some money). #JBFTasteAmerica.  

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