Living in a place overflowing with delicious food, incredibly talented chefs, and new restaurants popping up on the daily has trained my taste buds to set a very high standard when it comes to determining whether or not food is good. Yes, I admit it. NYC has turned me into a total food snob. I have a list, that I can count on about 1 1/2 hands, of food or meals that I've deemed to be the "best of my life". Very rarely does it get added to. Currently making the cut is my wedding meal, basically everything in Santorini, the meal from this amazing French restaurant, my favorite bacon, and of course my Grandma's spaghetti and meatballs. But today, I'm making room for a new spot on the list, Zero Cafe + Bar, located in Charleston.
But before we talk about Zero Cafe, let's start back a few weeks, shall we? As some of you may remember, I attended the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Competition. As luck would have it, the chef from Zero Cafe & Bar (where I was scheduled to be taking a cooking class while in Charleston) not only happened to be competing, but Chef Vinson also happened to win (Yay!). Two weeks later, I somehow find myself lucky enough to be sitting in his kitchen, at his restaurant, at a cooking class taught by none other than himself. I felt incredibly honored, and based on the work of art I'd seen him win the contest with, I knew my taste buds were in for a treat.
As the eight of us settled in for our cooking class, I excitedly looked over the menu. Beets, yes! Chevre fondue, double yes! My newest obsession, honeycomb?! Ummmmm, YES! I thought life couldn't get any better....until I put the food in my mouth. And I died! Like literally. I died and went to beet heaven. Amazing was an understatement. Pickled & roasted beets, chevre fondue (I thought I was obsessed with chevre before, but this stuff made me like obsessed obsessed), and, you guys, beet meringues!! Did I mention, I die??! I managed to revive myself in time for the main course, Berkshire pork cheeks served on toasted farro, with all sorts of delicious veggies, kabocha squash, and homemade apple butter. I mean....I have no words. YUM!
And then dessert. Ohhhhh dessert. A deliciously creamy and decadent chocolate cremeux with the afore mentioned honeycomb and some sort of magical creamy banana sauce (I don't even like bananas and I wanted to eat this sauce by the bowl). I think I died, again.
And just in case, you couldn't tell, this isn't your average cooking class. While Chef Vinson is sharing a few recipes as well as some of his tips, the cooking class is much more of a culinary experience as opposed to just learning some new kitchen skills.
The food alone had me ready to set up shop in Charleston for at least another week, but after the class, we took a quick tour of the property, and well, suffice to say, I was ready to move in for life. I'm pretty sure I even texted Mr. RC saying something along the lines of "Honey, I'm home!", to which he abruptly reminded me, I can't live in a hotel. Whatevs. But seriously, the property is beyond-words gorgeous, and since nothing I say could do it (or the food) justice, I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.
If you happen to find yourself in Charleston, you absolutely must stop by Zero George. Like seriously. Number 1 priority. Whether it's for a meal, for the cooking school, or for a stay, you will not be disappointed. It was, hands down, the highlight of my trip and I know it would be of yours, too.
A huge, huge thank you to Chef Vinson for the delicious class as well as Zero George for allowing us to partake in such an incredible experience.