Chef Brandon Carter of Bluffton’s FARM has been selected as the Lowcountry representative in the prestigious 2019 South Carolina Chef Ambassador Program. Each year, chefs from across the state are nominated to serve as culinary ambassadors; five were selected this year by Gov. Henry McMaster in honor of the program’s fifth year.

“At the end of the day, I think it just boils down to a lot of hard work from a lot of people who see the value in making something that’s special for our community,” Carter said of his success — and of FARM’s. The restaurant opened in October 2016 and has earned a reputation as one of the finest dining spots in the South.

Carter is also quick to highlight the culinary contributions of others — the growers, fishers, harvesters and other local food purveyors whose products are featured on FARM’s meu, built around the farm-to-table philosophy.

It’s that attention to local growers that the Chef Ambassador program hopes to promote, putting a spotlight on South Carolina’s culinary heritage by sending its ambassadors out on guest appearances and to host cooking demonstrations and educational programs.

“South Carolina’s food has deep roots,” said S.C. Department of Agriculture commissioner Hugh Weathers. “Our chef ambassadors are not only culinary stars, they teach us about the diversity of food and flavors in South Carolina. These chefs connect with local farmers and other producers to put the freshest Certified S.C. foods on our tables.”

Other chefs selected as ambassadors for the 2019 program are Marc Collins of Circa 1886 and Kitchen 208 in Charleston; Tania Harris of The Lazy Goat in Greenville; Jessica Shillato of the Spotted Salamander in Columbia; and Kelly Vogelheim of Town Hall in Florence.

To some Lowcountry foodies, Carter’s selection comes as no surprise given Bluffton’s rising culinary star on the state’s food scene.

“The town of Bluffton just added another notch to its culinary belt. It’s a huge honor and one that will go a long way toward promoting Bluffton and coastal South Carolina as a culinary destination beyond what we already know about Hilton Head Island,” said Jesse Blanco, host of the “Eat It and Like It” television show.

The S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism and the S.C. Department of Agriculture hosted a Chef Ambassador Hometown Dinner on July 14 at FARM. For his part, Carter is excited about the opportunities.

“There’s a sense of pride for me, both professionally and personally, to representing the Lowcountry,” he said. “It has also been great marketing for the restaurant and has exposed us to an audience that otherwise might not have known that we were here. As ambassadors, we are responsible for spreading the gospel of South Carolina grown and produced food and to showcase the unique foodways that set South Carolina apart.”

Straight from the Source

FARM in Bluffton puts local growers front and center on its menu, including products from the following Lowcountry farms and producers:

  • Adams Farm
  • Anson Mills
  • Bio Bertolini
  • Border Springs Farm
  • Bulrush Gin
  • Brasstown Beef
  • Canewater Farm
  • Georgia Olive Farms
  • GrowFood Carolina
  • Keegan-Filion Farm
  • May River Oyster Company
  • Middleton Made Knives
  • Rainwater Mushrooms
  • River Dog Brewing
  • Savannah Bee Company
  • Southbound Brewing Company
  • Tuten Farms
  • Virgil Kaine Lowcountry Whiskey