New Executive Chef at Carolina Inn Continues Sustainable Dining

New Executive Chef James Clark Continues Sustainable Dining Traditions at The Carolina Inn’s Carolina Crossroads Restaurant
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (June 2012)  – The award-winning Carolina Crossroads Restaurant at The Carolina Inn – one of only three Forbes Four-Star restaurants in North Carolina and a AAA Four Diamond-rated restaurant – has named James Clark as its new Executive Chef.

Raised in Elizabeth City, N.C., Clark returns to his North Carolina roots having previously worked at Five-Star, Five-Diamond, Four-Star and Four-Diamond restaurants in various cities well known for innovative restaurants and exceptional cuisine like Washington D.C., Charleston, New Orleans and Atlanta, among others.

“I am honored and humbled to come to The Carolina Inn,” said Chef Clark, who officially started on June 18. “Carolina Crossroads is a venue I have been working towards throughout my career. I have many family and friends in the Triangle area and knew the great reputation of the hotel and restaurant. This was certainly one of those defining opportunities that I had to bring my ‘A’ game when cooking against the final candidates to get the job.”

“We received overwhelming interest from many stellar chefs across the country,” said Jonathan Campbell, Director of Food and Beverage at The Carolina Inn. “James Clark impressed us during his interview and cooking demonstrations. We can’t wait for him to start showcasing his considerable culinary talents to our long-time patrons and new guests at the property and Carolina Crossroads Restaurant.”

Most recently Executive Chef at Marina Inn at Grande Dunes in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Clark specializes in sustainable dining serving locally grown “Farm to Table” seafood, meats and vegetables. His individual style is inspired by local, Southern influences infused with modern techniques.

He is as meticulous about leaving carbon footprints on the environment as he is about the unique dishes he creates. He concentrates on three or four ingredients for each dish, focusing on them to maximize their flavors using proper cooking techniques.

“I am all about simple food and great flavor by letting the ingredients speak for themselves and acquiring great local products,” said Chef Clark, an avid outdoorsman.  “I am really impressed with the North Carolina agricultural scene connecting chefs and farmers. I can’t wait to get out into the community and meet all the farmers.

“The entire sustainable route, being close to the beach, securing and procuring great fish and seafood, is what I brought to the Marina Inn at Grand Dunes. I created that restaurant’s identity and it was the same mentality about always trying to buy local back to my days in Charleston while being mentored by (Chef) Louis (Osteen). Though times have changed, sustainable local foods are also very much a part of Carolina Crossroads Restaurant and I look forward to building upon those storied traditions.”

Chef Clark is a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, where he met his pastry chef wife Marcey. After graduation, he further honed his expertise in several renowned restaurants across the country:

·         Worked with well-known Chef Jeff Tunks at the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans
·         The Dining Room in Atlanta’s Ritz-Carlton
·         Four-year association in Charleston, S.C., with Chef Louis Osteen, at Charleston Grill and then at Louis’s
·         Executive Chef at the Palette Restaurant in the Madison Hotel, a high profile restaurant in Washington, D.C.
·         Chef De Cuisine at the renowned D.C. Coast Restaurant where he created and executed seasonal menus utilizing fresh, local produce and in season seafood
·         Executive Chef of the Isle of Capri and Colorado Central Station in the mountains of Colorado

Chef Clark has received several recognitions and awards including: 5 Star Award from the National Restaurant Science Association; featured in Bon Appétit Magazine for cutting edge cuisine in “Places to Eat Now”; Santé Award Winner for Sustainability; guest chef at the St. Michaels Food and Wine Festival; featured chef for the March of Dimes Celebrity Chef event in Washington, D.C.; and received rave reviews from the Washingtonian Magazine, Roll Call Magazine, Where Magazine, Washington Flyer, The Hill, Washington Business Journal and the Washington Times.

Warmly, Carolina Mama

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