Louis Osteen, the mythical Charleston chef whose cooking and allure helped persuade the kingdom’s culinary elite to heed cutting-edge Southern cuisine, died Sunday. He turned 77. Osteen’s demise changed into confirmed by John T. Edge, director of the Southern Foodways Alliance, an organization of which Osteen turned into a founding member.
“I think a whole lot of humans have disregarded the South as a desert … However I think the South is pretty important, and it’s greater essential that the majority understand,” Osteen said in 2004 when a Southern Foodways Alliance interviewer asked why he initially supported the group’s paintings.
Called the “spiritual popular” of recent Southern cooks with the aid of The New York Times, Osteen enthusiastically asserted the significance of dishes which include shrimp-and-grits and pimento cheese, a one-time nearby delicacy that appeared destined to survive most effective as a mass-produced comfort meal until Osteen remade it as a stylish bar snack for his Charleston restaurant.
“Under the impact of Louis and Marlene,” Edge said, relating to Osteen’s wife and consistent associate of 40 years, “Charleston has become the transom city for the American food renaissance.” In addition to setting Charleston on a direction toward culinary prominence, Osteen changed into also instrumental in defining a chef’s position at the turn of the 21st century, Edge said. “He set a preferred that a chef is a larger-than-life personality; a chef writes an e-book; a chef spends as an awful lot time in the dining room as he does on the road,” Edge stated. “Louis in lots of approaches codified that.”
Born in Anderson, Osteen moved to Atlanta after college to open film theaters, which become his circle of relatives’ line of labor. As a boy, he changed into in price of the hot dogs and hamburgers at his father’s force-in. But he wanted to prepare dinner, so in 1975 took a job at one of the town’s most revered French eating places, Le Versailles. Four years later, he relocated to Pawleys Island to open Pawleys Island Inn.
Although Osteen wasn’t a native of the Lowcountry, he became extra than a sport to analyze all he may want to approximately it, Edge stated. “He changed into a co-conspirator with folks who arrived to explore the Lowcountry,” Edge said. “And that exploration of the Lowcountry naturally caused an exploration of the larger South because that changed into his global. He changed into a cultural spelunker.”
In 1989, Osteen opened Louis’s Charleston Grill on the Omni Hotel, wherein he served benne seed oyster stew, fried grits, and different dishes, which supplied scrumptious testimony to his discoveries. “Louis’ restaurants have been the portals that writers crossed to discover the South and apprehend the Lowcountry,” Edge said.
Eight years later, Osteen left the Omni to open his own restaurant, Louis’s. In 2007, he moved to Las Vegas to open a pair of restaurants and returned to Pawleys in 2012 to open the closing new release of Louis’s. Over the course of his profession, Osteen acquired six James Beard Foundation award nominations, prevailing the Best Chefs in America award in 2004. “It’s important to recognize in which this Southern renaissance began,” said Edge, recalling the intellectual voraciousness of a person who saved books through Joseph Mitchell and A.J. Liebling on his bedside desk. “And it started, in lots of methods, with Louis.”