CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Chef and owner Richard Arbaugh of the South Hills Market and Café is participating in the James Beard Foundation's Taste America Local Dish Challenge, which explores America's culinary diversity.
Winning the challenge could result in a $10,000 donation to Manna Meal. And winning depends on how many online votes the dish he created receives by Oct. 31.
Arbaugh has chosen to feature Honey Lacquered Chicken with Hand Foraged Chantrelle Purée and Fricassee of Kanawha County Vegetables. He described the vegetables as "Kanawha County green beans, baby patty pan squash, squash blossoms, baby carrots, and chanterelle mushrooms."
"I have composed a dish to showcase the best of our local food scene in Charleston," Arbaugh said.
In addition to voting for his dish, Charleston diners may order it from the menu at the Bridge Road restaurant.
South Hills Market and Café will donate $1 from each dish sold to the James Beard Foundation's Taste America Education Drive, which supports educational programs on topics concerning the country's food system.
"Even if we don't win, the foundation will match up to $500 to the educational drive. The guests are participating as much as we are and we get the enjoyment of cooking for them," the chef said.
"We are lucky to get a lot of local products, and my wife's family has a large garden. When we saw the JBF Challenge, we decided to use vegetables that we have grown right here in Kanawha County. It's great to be able to showcase that. Eat local. Eat fresh. Hopefully, it motivates people to start their own garden. It feels great," Arbaugh said.
Regarding the chanterelle mushrooms, the chef said, "We have local foragers, two particular sources, here in Charleston. The moist summer has helped out a lot with the mushroom production."
South Hills Market and Café opened in November 2007.
"We've been able to balance it out. It's fun. Figuring out staff needs, family needs. We've been fortunate," Arbaugh said, referring to his team, which includes his wife and co-owner of the business, Anne Arbaugh.