Chef: Christopher Carge
Restaurant: The Black Marlin Bayside Grill
Town: Hilton Head Island
What is the best seafood you've ever had?
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Honestly, aside from traveling and trying things I've never had before, the best seafood comes out of our proverbial backyard. We have an awesome variety of local clams, grouper, wreckfish, cobia ... the list goes on. I would feel confident putting our local oysters up against any others. They have a perfect size and crispness and have a great briny, clean ocean flavor. We are so fortunate as an area to have the coastal cuisine that we do.
What is your proudest cooking moment to date?
It doesn't matter if it's a large party or a small intimate dinner, if I successfully change someone's perspective on food, I am a proud chef. I love being able to introduce people to something new that they would normally never try. Hearing things like, "I'm so glad I tried that," or "I never knew it could taste like that," makes me feel like I did what I am supposed to do: Cook.
Do you listen to music while you cook? If so, what's on your playlist?
At home I almost always cook to music and it can vary from day to day or vary in some ways by dish. I can just as easily jam out to classic rock as I can to bluegrass. Work is a different story. Before dinner service, the radio is fair game for the staff, but during service the only music we hear is the ringing of the ticket machine and the clanking of pots and pans.
Do you prefer to use recipes or wing it?
There is something very comforting in the classic recipes. They are classic for a reason. We have been cooking as long as we have been eating, so that's a lot of time and recipes to cover. There is, however, always joy in jumping in and creating something from scratch with nothing to go on but your instincts as a cook. And you don't have to work in a restaurant to have that ability.
Follow reporter Erin Shaw at twitter.com/IPGB_ErinShaw.