A la plancha: Innovative Cooking Techniques

The North Charleston Coliseum is typically swarmed with ticket holders to the next big game or concert but this weekend, the campus was overflowing with white coats. The *American Culinary Federation of the Southeast Chapter held a it’s annual conference in Charleston this past weekend and on Monday, April 28th regional chefs met our Aussie! Executive Chef Brendon Bashford of The Sanctuary lead the Innovative Live Action Station “a la plancha” presenting EVO America.

The Sanctuary chefs at the American Culinary Federation food demo.

A la plancha is the action of grilling on a metal plate. EVO America is a fresh, new cooking concept which connects dining audiences to freshly-prepared food while providing entertainment value. An EVO machine is basically equivalent to a hot skillet, but this is equipped with a larger surface to be working with. Chefs can cook virtually any meal on an EVO from delicate appetizers, eggs, vegetables and fish to seared steak and stir-fries. After many months of Kiawah’s chefs getting acquainted with these machines, Dennis Francis with EVO America reached out to Chef Bashford and his team about demonstrating what they love so much about the equipment. Of course right away, Chef replied back ‘Cheers, mate. I’d be honored to.’

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Example of what an EVO looks like.

Chef Bashford and his team from The Sanctuary prepared a few dishes using these EVO grills, demonstrating their versatility. Chef Jason Rheinwald of The Ocean Room put together a beautiful Wattleseed Crusted Palmetto Beef with Mepkin Abby Mushrooms (recently served at the 2014 Charleston Wine & Food Festival). And while Chef Jason recreated that beautiful prime dish, Chef Matthew Fitzgerald of Sanctuary Banquets worked up a beautiful Perloo. For those who are not aware, perloo is a southern dish that incorporates either chicken, pork, ham, sausage or seafood (frequently, a few of these ingredients are used at one time) which is combined with rice and some local spices. Today, Chef Fitzgerald has a pulled pork and shrimp perloo.

From left to right: Wattleseed Crusted Palmetto Beef and Perloo.

During this live demo Chef Bashford talked a bit on the culture of Kiawah Island Golf Resort and how it reminds him so much of Australia… “how vibrant and alive produce is here in the lowcountry, it’s almost as if I had just returned home,” exclaims Chef Bashford. While the afternoon was driven to introduce this new equipment towards fellow culinarians, Chef Bashford painted a beautiful picture of what standards and practices Kiawah holds so strongly to and how “picturesque” (to use his own words) the island truly is.


*The Standard of Excellence for Chefs:  The American Culinary Federation, Inc. (ACF), a professional, organization for chefs and cooks, was founded in 1929 in New York City by three chefs’ organizations: the Société Culinaire Philanthropique, the Vatel Club and the Chefs de Cuisine Association of America. Since their inception, little has changed in their principal goals. They are an organization based on promoting the professional image of American chefs worldwide through education of culinarians at all levels.