Gwen Fowler



Edwin McCain, chefs delight Euphoria crowd

Posted 9/25/2010 4:36:00 PM

On the same Greenville stage, musician Edwin McCain played his guitar and sang some favorite tunes while acclaimed Chef Kevin Rathbun cooked up a favorite scallop dish.

That was just part of Euphoria on Saturday, held in downtown Greenville in South Carolina's Upcountry. The festival, in its fifth year, celebrates great food, wine and music, and that was certainly true as four nationally recognized chefs demonstrated how to cook something special.

McCain, who founded Euphoria with Table 301 owner Carl Sobocinski, performed “I Could Not Ask for More,” while Rathbun began preparing Sea Scallops Benedict, county ham grits and Tabasco hollandaise.

The recipe, shared with the audience, is “not fat-free, not for Weight Watchers,” Rathbun said.

He shared tips on making the perfect hollandaise sauce, and his philosophy on using salt: “Most food needs a little pinch of salt. They do call me a little heavy-handed.”

After Rathbun declared his love for butter throughout his session, McCain performed “I’ve Seen a Love,” a song that refers to “that kind of love.”

“That kind of love needs butter,” McCain said. Now, he said, whenever he sings that song, he’ll be thinking of butter.

McCain also sang “Walk with You,” from his new CD, “The Best of Edwin McCain.”

Before Rathbun and McCain teamed up on stage, Charleston Chef Mike Lata of FIG (Food Is Good) demonstrated how to make an heirloom eggplant caponata and Chanterelle mushrooms served over a swordfish filet.

The recipe calls for quite a few ingredients in addition to eggplant and mushrooms – celery, onion, fennel, banana peppers, garlic, pine nuts and more. To be successful, it’s important to prepare early and have ingredients measured and chopped, a technique called “mise en place,” he said.

Most eggplant recipes call for the vegetable to be salted in advance to draw out bitterness. Latta suggested choosing a better eggplant instead.

Latta, who was the 2009 James Beard Chef of the Year for the Southeast, talked about the popularity of “farm to table” meals these days, which is basically the way he has cooked for years.

He said he cooks “by the seasons,” buying as much as possible of the best local produce when it is at its peak.

Saturday’s activities also included cooking demonstrations by Bryan Voltaggio, executive chef of VOLT Restaurant, Frederick, Md.; and Justin Bogle, executive chef of GILT in New York City.

Voltaggio, Bogle, Lata and Rathbun also were among a group of guest chefs joining local chefs to prepare wine dinners at six downtown restaurants.

Three master sommeliers present wine seminars Saturday, and a large tent was full of distributors pouring wine samples during the Grand Wine Tasting.

Euphoria continues Sunday with the jazz bunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and a culinary cook-off.