One of the most anticipated parts of the Georgia Organics Conference may indeed be the Farmers Feast – a gathering that reminds us that at the end of the day, the organic food we work so hard all year to cultivate, harvest, and promote tastes really, really good.
The feast is always prepared by a wonderful group of gourmands, and this year Chef Dave Snyder is among them. A cook for twenty-eight years and a Georgia resident for more than a decade, Chef Snyder is the Owner/Executive Chef at Halyards Restaurant and Tramici, both on St. Simons Island. He is also an avid fisherman. I was able to ask him a few questions about cooking in Coastal Georgia.
You can find out more about Chef Dave Snyder and Halyards Restaurant group at their website, or you can come out to the Farmers Feast and taste for yourself!
On Halyard Restaurant Group
Tramici is neighborhood Italian with very casual atmosphere. Halyards is a bit dressed up, with contemporary American food and an emphasis on seafood. We are about hospitality, not just food and service. We pride ourselves on the experience our staff provides. Our service is about attention to detail and our food is about great ingredients with careful preparation without overdoing anything.
On Cooking in Coastal Georgia
There is a bigger mix of people, therefore food, than one might imagine. Certainly traditional Southern food is prominent, but we like having fun with other foods to keep our locals guessing what will be next and the tourists entertained with foods they might recognize from their previous travels. We are lucky to have an abundance of cultures move through our little town.
On the Value of Fresh Ingredients
I remember the first time I brought in 200 lbs. of whole fish for my Chef, who was from Ohio. He would admit much later that he was very upset because he didn’t want to clean that much whole fish. But after he cut open the third or fourth fish he admitted that, even in big towns like Cincinnati, he had never in 15 years of cooking seen “real” fresh fish. One- or two-day fresh is a world of difference that 90 percent of Americans never see. This keeps me very humble about how lucky I am and reminds me to do very little to the fish when preparing so guests can truly appreciate the quality of the meat. Fishing also gives me an appreciation for the commercial fishing industry – one that provides me a living and one that I never will want to work, it is much more demanding than cooking.