CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Charleston community plans to cheer on a local chef who is nominated for the James Beard Award for a second year in a row.

A watch party for Chef Paul Smith, the owner at 1010 Bridge, Ellen’s Ice Cream and The Pitch of WV, will be held from 6-9 p.m. Monday at Capitol Market.

Smith is vying for the title of Best Chef: Southeast (GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV) at the James Beard Awards, considered to be “the academy awards for chefs,” in Chicago.

Smith said on Friday’s “580 Live” with Dave Allen on 580-WCHS there’s something special about being recognized for his cooking in his home state.

“To be able to be nominated in Charleston, West Virginia versus Nashville, Napa Valley, New York City, the other wonderful places that I’ve lived means so much more,” he said.

Monday night’s watch party will feature music with DJ EJ, heavy hors d’oeuvres, and a curated selection of wine and beer from Capitol Market’s Wine and Cheese Shop.

Other locally acclaimed chefs handpicked by Chef Smith will also create small plates:

  • Andrew Ford and Jay Nelson of Bogey’s At Capitol Market will be sharing a sample of what’s to come at the market including smoked beef ribs, pork belly burnt ends with slaw and wood-fired roasted corn.
  • Jesse Lyons and Chasity Thomas of Coco’s Kitchen & Cafe will be making their own mini crab cakes with specialty sauce.
  • Chase Collier of Ristorante Abruzzi will be handcrafting Hernshaw Farms mushroom arancini – San Marzano tomato sauce, parmesan foam, Smoked Salmon Crostini – smoked salmon, herbed goat cheese, arugula, crispy capers, pickled red onions, spicy citrus honey, toasted Charleston Bread baguette.
  • Chef Evan Wilson, of Ichiban Pan-Asian Cuisine, will be making 3 extraordinary dishes including Japanese Arancini with panko fried rice, beer cheese, pork belly and kimchi with 9 spice and scallions; Beet-cured salmon wontons with wasabi yuzu drizzle and microgreens; and Tuna and avocado maki with aji amarillo and tajin.
  • Mike Medley, of Fernbank Public House, will be crafting marinated mozzarella skewers and a specialty elderflower spritzer.
  • Paul Greco, of Sam’s Uptown Cafe, will be making two dishes including sausage alla vodka: Italian sausage roll w vodka sauce, parmesan, and fresh basil; and melon skewers with mozzarella, prosciutto, and balsamic reduction.

Smith said it was important for him to showcase what other chefs have to offer to make West Virginia a dining destination.

“It’s not just me. The reason why we wanted to include other chefs is because that’s one of my pillars is supporting everybody,” he said. “If I can help make all of our restaurants bigger and busier, if they come because they’re going to the Capitol Market or go to 1010 or go to SoHo’s, that’s the name of the game is getting more people to West Virginia.”

Capitol Market Executive Director Evan Osborn said Chef Paul has helped expand food offerings in Charleston which has kept more young people here.

“It’s so much more than just the culinary scene. I think it’s building a culture and community. It’s giving our next generation a vibrant and thriving area to hopefully remain and call home,” Osborn said.

The event will be livestreamed. Osborn said they’ll have a big screen set up so they can watch the awards ceremony live from Chicago.

Osborn said Chef Paul has a lot of support.

“The emotional connection people have with Paul is linked to those core memories and this was an opportunity for our community specifically to celebrate one of the best people that we all know,” Osborn said.

General admission is $100. Ticket information can be found HERE.

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