August 28, 2015
Bruce Moffett has played an important role in the Charlotte food scene for the last 15 years. As a chef/owner of three successful restaurants in a city once grossly lacking for a independent food movement, Chef Moffett will freely admit that it was no easy task competing with sister cities Atlanta, Asheville and Charleston.
“I think Charlotte sees itself as the little brother,” Moffett says, when asked about how the Queen City’s identity stands up against such high reputations.
He admits that friendly competition and a growing interest in the local movement has really helped push the scene into a fast track to make Charlotte a contender for food in the South. Barrington’s, named after the chef’s Rhode Island home town, has proven itself as the godfather of fine dining in the city. Following with Good Food on Montford, a gamble of a location at the time, to bring the city a strong tapas concept and lovely patio. Stagioni, Chef Moffett’s most recent culinary accomplishment, has created an intimate upscale Italian experience for Charlotteans in our lovely city reminiscent of a villa in San Marino.
Charlotte Cooks Too, Chef Moffett’s latest contribution to the Charlotte food scene is a social media movement bringing awareness on a local, regional and national level to showcase the skill and talent in Charlotte and surrounding areas. Local ingredients, artisan furnishings and an acute attention to the dining experience is the main focus of Charlotte Cooks Too. Using the hashtag #CharlotteCooksToo, Chef Moffett hopes that the Queen City will get on the national radar to bring more recognition to the area as top notch culinary city.
Exciting things have been happening in the Charlotte area as Kindred was recently named one of the ten best new restaurants in the country by Bon Appetit magazine. Chefs are bringing new and exciting ideas to the once heavily saturated chain restaurant scene. Bruce recalls the days when there were only a handful of places where he could get a meal in an independently owned restaurant. With all of the healthy competition in today’s market, Chef Moffett sees an opportunity for our city’s chefs to drive each other to make Charlotte a culinary destination.
Along with the digital campaign, Bruce is hoping that Charlotte Cooks Too will bring more independent Chefs in the city to organize charity dinners, guest dinners and potlucks.
“I think it would be a step in the right direction”, says Bruce, when talking about bringing in organizations such as The Southern Foodways Alliance to Charlotte.
The James Beard-nominated chef admits that there seems to be a bit of a break in communication between Charlotte’s locally owned restaurants and the national media.
“We do have a good food scene here, and I should embrace it, the media should embrace it and the city should embrace it.”
North Carolina is lucky in the sense that we have a community of people who embrace local farms, respect the ingredients and the heritage while chefs strive to create new and innovative dishes.
“It’s a grassroots changing of the mind set”, says the chef, when talking about how the customer has evolved since he opened his first restaurant back in the early 2000s.
“We’ve got great farms. I think it’s kind of an understanding,” says Moffett, “I think its just building awareness of what we do”.
Charlotte Cooks Too is just a way to focus that movement and give it a title.
Having moved here from Boston and creating a life for his family here in the Queen City, Bruce feels an overwhelming sense of pride to the move the culinary culture forward.
“If I could just leave it a better and stronger, more vibrant food community, knowing what I’ve got here, I would feel like I accomplished something.”
Charlotte Cooks Too is intended to help Bruce put the word out on what we do here in this city; on a plate, in a field, at the market; it’s Charlotte. We are a community of food lovers, harvesters and creators. There is a story in every dish. That’s why Charlotte Cooks Too.