A South You Never Ate at Chatham Vineyards on Oct. 28 will celebrate the foodways of Virginia’s Eastern Shore along with the culture and stories behind them. This progressive dinner of all tapas includes an open bar with Eastern Shore beer and Chatham wine and a signature surprise cocktail. Twelve chefs have committed their time to crafting two dishes apiece for the small plates that will showcase some of the Shore’s most distinct ingredients.
This is another in our Meet the Chefs series that will introduce an all-star lineup of creative cooks who have committed their time to make this an unforgettable farm-to-table experience.
The scoop on Harper Bradshaw
His bio in a nutshell: Harper Bradshaw, owner and chef of Harper's Table in Suffolk, holds fond memories of food traditions around the table and delights in welcoming guests with unique Southern fare served in a rustic setting that includes a canopy of vintage pine reclaimed in a family barn from an old Suffolk peanut warehouse. His love and gift for food were passed down from his family's generations in Virginia, gracious mentors Sam McGann and Pete Evans and the blessing to travel and eat at so many great restaurants.
What Harper loves about Eastern Shore food, culture: “I love getting onto the Chesapeake Bay-Bridge Tunnel. There is a feeling of relief the moment the truck tires hit the bridge. I love visiting Tommy O'Connor and all of my friends who live and spend time on the Shore. There are generations of stories from duck hunting and fishing that are told at our little hidden oasis on the Seaside in Capeville. I love our annual rabbit hunt, where we roam the grounds of old homes and farms — some preserved and so beautiful and some falling to the ground and being swallowed into the Shore. I love the art and the artists that have such a unique twang over here. The old guys like Pete Peterson and the younger, ultra-talented carvers like Ryan Dockiewicz. Probably my favorite thing about the Eastern Shore is the many memories with my son where we've explored the bay and the seaside marshes hunting for cobia, speckled trout and the now elusive waterfowl migrating from the Northern states. Sometimes we’re hunting for sea glass and incredible seashells and lightning strikes on the Barrier Islands. After any and all of these adventures, a fire amongst friends and oysters straight out of Magothy Bay are the absolute perfect end to the day.”
His favorite Eastern Shore ingredients: “There are so many perfect foods that come from the Earth and the waterways of the Eastern Shore. Of course, oysters and clams come to mind. There's nothing like popping open wild oysters on the grate over a wood fire on an ice-cold evening on the Shore. That has to be my favorite. But Hayman sweet potatoes are so freaking delicious, and I don't ever see them from any other soil than the Shore. I love to take little Haymans and roast them whole, then split them open while they're screaming hot and slide a fat hunk of butter into the slit, sorghum, perfectly toasted pecans and a generous sprinkling of Barrier Island Sea Salt. There are so many memories of cooking just harvested wild ducks for lunch when we've shredded the waders and put the decoys away but are still in the base layers of soft fleece pants and wool sweaters. Those are some memories from favorite Eastern Shore ingredients.”