Last post defined eating clean as enjoying socially and environmentally conscious food packed with nutrition, rather than processed with unsavory ingredients like antibiotics, pesticides, stabilizers, and artificial additives. We looked at three Hilton Head hideaways—DelisheeeYo, Pure Natural Market and Java Burrito. This week, let’s sink our teeth into three Hilton Head hot spots owned an operated by some of the Island’s leading chefs and restauranteurs.
First order up, Andrew Carmines and Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks. Clean eating is nothing new to Carmines and his family (which is he says includes not only his immediate members but also his staff). Serving Lowcountry mainstays for over 40 years, this family-owned seafood eatery is a local legend.
“Eating items from the wild is clean eating to me. When I was young and growing up on Hilton Head, my family was always hunting and fishing and there is nothing more satiating than a big piece of fresh fish, or a venison tenderloin on the grill,” explained Carmines. “When you eat clean, you feel more healthy and food always tastes better if you grow it, catch it, or hunt it yourself—that’s why we serve more local seafood than any other Island restaurant and all our seafood is 100% organic.”
Carmines is so passionate about giving his patrons the freshest, most flavorful product that (after several years of researching and cultivating) he recently launched Shell Ring Oyster Company—a farm dedicated to harvesting bivalves in South Carolina's waters. If you truly want a taste of the Lowcountry, you have to order a dozen of Carmines’ oysters while lounging outside with an adult beverage and watching the sun sink into the Intracoastal Waterway. Follow that up with some of Hudson’s time-honored menu items like its seafood gumbo.
Next, there’s Chef Clayton Rollison of The Lucky Rooster. Rollison, like his food, is straightforward, dynamic and local. Plus, he puts a tremendous amount of thought in to his menu. “All of our protein-offerings are hormone and antibiotic free. We work really hard on sourcing things responsibly and look for local, sustainable ingredients to cook with,” said Rollison.
Rollison is also an excellent resource when it comes learning about current culinary issues and food trends. While discussing clean eating, he brings up the topic of transparency. “The beef industry is huge. It’s no different than big oil,” began Rollison. “Yet, humanely raised animals that are not farmed like a commodity are healthier and happier and they simply taste better.” Rollison added, “I would rather eat six ounces of tasty meat than a 96-ounce porterhouse that is commodity beef” and “Hudson Valley Foie Gras is a good example of transparency.”
Last—but certainly not least—Price Beall’s Chow Daddy’s gives super foods like kale and quinoa a tasty twist by serving what I call “nutritious comfort food.” “Less is more!” joked Beall. “We try not to alter the natural goodness of our vegetables and proteins by always utilizing fresh natural products (locally sourced whenever possible) without additives, stabilizers or added sugars.”
Chow Daddy’s menu, which includes one of my favorites—the spicy shrimp with brown rice and sautéed kale and tomatoes, reflects Beall’s approach to clean eating. “I believe the cells in our bodies are affected by the foods and liquids that we consume. Fresh and pure is the only way to go.”