One of the best parts about traveling is the food. Going somewhere new means getting to experience the local culture through authentic dishes and regional cuisine. From culinary trails and cooking classes to food festivals and guided food trips, food plays a significant role in the world of travel. Food is such a driving force behind travel, that the “global culinary tourism market reached a value of more than 696 billion in 2021.”
South Carolina’s culinary scene is famous for its quality ingredients, originality and thriving farm-to-table movement. Every year, chefs are nominated to serve as the state’s culinary ambassadors. These chefs embody the best of South Carolina’s culinary scene and have made their mark with signature dishes that define the cuisine of the Palmetto State. The Greatness Grown video series was developed to highlight and promote South Carolina’s Chef Ambassadors, their restaurants and their commitment to sourcing local.
We Are Storytellers
A large portion of the Discover South Carolina leisure marketing campaign for South Carolina Parks, Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT) revolves around the state’s unique culinary offerings. To bring Greatness Grown to life, the creative team turned to 9Rooftops Studio to bridge the gap between creative imagination and technical precision with their talented team of photographers, videographers, producers and editors.
The overuse of phrases like “farm-fresh,” “wild-caught” and “farm-raised” can make it difficult to know what the buzz words really mean—or if they still mean anything at all. At its heart, farm-to-table means the food on the table came directly from a farm without going through a store or distributor along the way.
Part of what we wanted to do was show that these chefs aren’t just using farm-to-table as a catchphrase or hashtag. Theirs is the story of the enduring relationship and ongoing collaboration between farmers and chefs, and how it’s making dining better in the Palmetto State. The name of the series—Greatness Grown—underscores the idea that greatness must be achieved and applies to both the skillset each chef hones during their career and the food each farmer grows.
Through on-site shoots at each chef’s restaurant and a local farm they work with, 9Rooftops was able to capture the hard work and craft that goes into creating their seasonal dishes. The videos and photos produced from these shoots have been used for digital and print ads, including social media posts, YouTube videos and articles for the Discover South Carolina website.
Rooted in Partnership
Partnership is at the root of this video series—there’s the partnership between SCPRT and the South Carolina Department of Agriculture that created the South Carolina Chef Ambassador program, the partnership between 9Rooftops and SCPRT to craft the stories behind the state’s iconic locations and unique culture and the partnership between chef and farmer that helps crafts seasonally inspired menus.
With a reputation for crafting unique menus inspired by the seasonality of South Carolina’s Upstate, Chef Haydn Shaak transforms and showcases local ingredients in creative ways at Restaurant 17, the on-site restaurant for Hotel Domestique.
“We’re able to sit here and have this relationship where we’re basically planning our entire year out,” says Shaak. “If you want to talk about hyper-local, this is basically as good as it gets right here. It’s an honor to be able to showcase these ingredients and to get to support and bring awareness to local farms.”
Along the coast, Chef John Ondo draws upon the food traditions of the Lowcountry and his close-knit relationships with farms and fishermen to craft memorable dining experiences at The Atlantic Room at Kiawah Island Golf Resort.
“I worship the sea and the salt and the marshes—anything that comes out of there. It’s in the DNA in the food here. To be able to put that on a menu now, and to represent South Carolina—I think it’s a duty,” says Ondo. “I feed a lot of people that are vacationing here, and it makes me proud to tell them that these were grown here in South Carolina, that they’re 20 minutes away, or that you drove right by their farm on the way to get here. When you visit South Carolina, you’re not only visiting a beach resort or a golf resort, you’re visiting their farms with every bite of local produce.”
Greatness grown, indeed.
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