Gwen Fowler



FIG Chef cooked "The Best Thing I Ever Ate"

Posted 8/30/2010 10:07:00 AM

Chef Mike Lata of FIG in Charleston and his agrodolce sauce were featured on a recent episode of “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.”

Celebrity Chef Alex Guarnaschelli had the sauce served over his bistro steak during a Wine Festival sometime in the past and “was apparently smitten,” Lata said. A while back, the Food Network called, wanting to film a segment at FIG.

Agrodolce means sweet and sour in Italian, and Lata says he makes it by carmelizing meat scraps, adding balsamic vinegar, saba (grape juice left over from making wine) and veal stock.
The segment, which aired Aug. 9, took about six hours for the Food Network to film. Food Network’s schedule doesn’t show when it might air again. It airs at 9 p.m. on Mondays.

Lata said he had not watched “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” until he found out he would be featured on it.

“I’ve watched it and they bring up a lot of really, really good chefs. I don’t watch a lot of Food Network. I live it 14 hours a day.”

Guarnaschelli was not in Charleston for the filming. She appears on “The Cooking Loft” and “Alex’s Day Off” and has been a judge on “Iron Chef America” and “Chopped.”

Lata came to Charleston in 1998 as executive chef at Anson. In 2009, he was named the James Beard Best Chef in the Southeast.

He said FIG, which stands for Food Is Good, is starting its farm on Johns Island. Although he has good sources of local produce, he hopes this will give him more control of when produce is picked and what is available.

“We know what we like to use a lot,” he said. “We’re taking a little bit of a gamble because we’re in the restaurant business and not in the farming business.”

He’ll soon be planting eggplant, tomatoes, squash, lots of greens, lettuces and kales, broccoli and cauliflower.