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. Tix are limited and can be purchased here.
This is the third in a 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 Sean Hart
His bio in a nutshell: Sean owns Exmore Diner, where his mother, Evelyn Pruitt, once waitressed. She went on to manage, lease and buy the Eastern Shore landmark that has since passed to him. Longtime customers of the Diner favor Sean’s homestyle cooking, particularly his plump crabcakes full of only the freshest crab and vegetable beef stew that he makes 16 gallons at a time. Last February, Sean and his wife, Crystal, opened Salt and Sand Family Restaurant in Cape Charles, where the simpler menu includes wings with accompanying sauces dependent on the season, peach habanero or pumpkin spice among them; shark bites; and fried string beans.
What Sean loves about Eastern Shore food, culture: “When I first came to the diner, we have a lot of old school ladies that worked in here who cooked. I was 27 year old, working alongside them and that was pretty cool. They had worked in the kitchen their whole lives. Bernie Herman interviewed a few of them for his book ‘A South You Never Ate.’ I like the Shore because we have so many offerings as far as fresh seafood, fresh vegetables and local produce.”
A morsel about his dish for A South You Never Ate: “I know I’ll be doing a twist on clam fritters. I’m going to keep it old, old, old school with chopped clams, egg, flour and salt and pepper. I may try to get creative with some chopped jalapeños. There will be a twist!”
His favorite Eastern Shore ingredient is . . . sweet potatoes and fresh turnip greens
Etc.: “I’m really excited because I know a lot of these names and I’ve read about many of the chefs who are coming. I’m excited to be surrounded by them and working beside them for this event. I feel like a kid in a candy store.”