Farm to Table Dining at the Beach

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As foodies who own a Bed & Breakfast, we enthusiastically follow the local restaurant scene.  We seek out eateries that use fresh, locally sourced ingredients as much as possible.  Simply put, the dishes just taste better that way.  As such, we recently attended an event, “The Art & Soul of Sustainable Cuisine” at The SurfHouse Café, our favorite restaurant on the Island.  What an eye-opener!

There are so many buzzwords being tossed around interchangeably in the food industry lately; organic, local, fresh, sustainable.  What do they all mean?  What is the difference?  What it boils down to is understanding the source of the ingredients in our food.  The website says it best:

Understand the source of the ingredients – the way they have been grown, raised or caught. Reconnect with the source of your meal. It’s not just about “food miles“. It’s also about knowing the source of your food, and community building.”

So, with that being said, we have sought out the chefs and restaurants in our area who go the extra mile to ensure true farm to table dining in their establishments.  Let us share some of their thoughts and inspirations with you.

  • Surf House Café: Chef/Owner Craig Love says of his restaurant, “Sustainable food is our mantra. Simply put, it is food sourced from farmers, fishermen, purveyors, and individuals who share a common philosophy of providing food that in harvesting, does the least harm to our environment, with minimal impact to other species of fish or animal, and is done in the most ethical manner possible.”  Love goes on to say, ” I know which waters the Mahi was caught; I know where the goats graze, and often what they eat, of the goat cheese on your salad; I know the farmer and the farm who provides the beef for your cheeseburger.”
  • Rx Restaurant and Bar and its sister restaurant Pembroke’s: Executive Chef Jeff Doss changes the menu at both restaurants daily.  Dishes are based on what is fresh and available each day.  He describes his food as “seasonally driven, ingredient based, Southern cuisine”.  The dishes created for each restaurant are made from local, freshly grown, hand chosen ingredients.
  • Sealevel City Gourmet: Owner/Chef Nikki Spears serves “local, fresh, handmade” food using only seasonal seafood and shellfish.  She was inspired in the early ’90’s working for Chef Jim Noble, a pioneer of the North Carolina farm to table movement.  He grew his own produce and contracted directly with local farmer’s for ingredients to use in his restaurant kitchen.  Spears says of herself, “if I wasn’t a chef, I’d be a farmer.”
  • Catch was founded by Chef Keith Rhodes and his wife Angela with the idea to serve the “best local seafood with a modern twist.”  His standard for the ingredients used in his dishes is “local, local, local”.  Catch uses only farm raised vegetables and herbs from a regional area. Rhodes says it is “crucial” to know where the seafood he prepares is coming from and is a stickler for using only “wild caught” and “sustainably raised” seafood.

These local chefs, along with others, are part of a great movement that is changing the food scene in Wilmington. We have a flourishing group of chefs who understand our growing palates and our desire for fresh ingredients used in creative ways.   We would love to see Wilmington become a foodie destination and it seems that perhaps we are finally on our way.


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