Chef Graham Dailey, who has already been making his mark since his elevation to the top position at Charleston’s acclaimed Peninsula Grill, made his debut at the prestigious James Beard House on February 22 with a sold-out dinner for more than 80 members of the James Beard Foundation. Dailey was assisted in his efforts by his Peninsula Grill culinary team, including Pastry Chef Claire Chapman, Chelsea Wright, and Sommelier Dennis Perry as well as Chef Frank McMahon of sister restaurant Hank’s Seafood. The team then followed up with a private luncheon for top national media today.
Dailey’s menu included a range of dishes showcasing low country cuisine, including Heirloom Pumpkin-Butternut Squash Bisque, Carolina Yellowfin Tuna Tartare, Seared Coastal Carolina Triggerfish and Peninsula Grill’s famed Ultimate Coconut Cake.
The events represented a New York City homecoming of sorts for both Dailey and McMahon. Dailey worked under Chef Anthony Bourdain early in his career while McMahon was the former sous chef under Eric Ripert and Gilbert Le Coze at the famed Le Bernadin.
According to Dailey, the event was an ideal opportunity to showcase Charleston’s growing culinary scene while also receiving some inspiration from cooking in the
“James Beard was an incredibly passionate advocate for the culinary world so it was a tremendous honor to be invited to cook in his house for a group of truly knowledgeable food aficionados,” said Dailey. “It was a great experience for both me and my team and having the support of Frank McMahon, who had cooked there previously on many occasions, made it a truly fun and rewarding night.”
Following the James Beard House event, Dailey, McMahon and Chapman each presented a course at an exclusive lunch on February 23 in midtown Manhattan for 10 members of the New York media, including Smart Money, Travel + Leisure, Town & Country, Cigar Aficionado and Worth magazines, among others.
During the event, McMahon showcased his first-ever cookbook, Cool Inside, to the media attendees and discussed the culinary journey that the cookbook prominently captures.
Hank Holliday, owner of the two restaurants along with Planters Inn, promoted Charleston as a top destination for not only its food but its arts and culture. “This is a destination on the rise,” he said. “It’s a testament to Charleston that such outstanding talents as Graham and Frank, along with our entire team, can cook in the capitol of the world and provide a world-class experience that reflects extremely well on the destination.”