Local chefs & restaurants share iconic recipes with a twist

Get twisted

Story By Bailey Gilliam

Iconic recipes have stood the test of time for a reason — they are classics that never fail to impress. However, there is no need to be limited to the same old culinary routine. Even the most iconic recipes can be reinvented to take on a fresh and exciting twist. Why not elevate your cooking game by trying out these creative twists on timeless recipes? This is a great opportunity to rekindle your appreciation for these dishes and discover new ways to savor them.

River House 

Grilled venison tartare


5-ounce venison tenderloin 

1 teaspoon smoked Dijon mustard

1 ramp bulb, minced

2 ramp leaves, chiffonade then chopped

1 teaspoon of capers, minced

4 pickled spruce tips, minced

1 teaspoon shallot, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil


[1] Flash grill the venison on high heat, keeping the internal temperature as low as possible. [2] Finely dice and add to a mixing bowl. [3] Add remaining ingredients and mix well. [4] Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with pickled ramps, fried ramp leaves, dill blooms, ramp aioli and citrus lace. 

Just grillin’

Indulge in a culinary adventure with the grilled venison tartare, a standout dish on the River House menu at Montage Palmetto Bluff. This daring take on the classic raw beef tartare features tender venison, finely chopped and seared to perfection, creating a smoky aroma and a tantalizing texture. The result is a harmonious blend of classic and contemporary flavors that’s simply divine. Accompanied by beef tallow crostini and ramp aioli, this dish pays tribute to the rich hunting heritage of Palmetto Bluff’s 20,000-acre property. Get ready for a wild ride of flavors that will leave you craving for more.

Two is better than one

Why settle for just one classic recipe when you can create a delicious fusion dish by combining two? This mouth-watering crème brûlée from the team at Charlie’s Coastal Bistro is the perfect union of two beloved desserts and sandwiches. With its irresistible PB&J flavor, even grown-ups will be hooked. Give your taste buds a treat and try this delightful twist on a classic dessert.

 Charlie’s Coastal Bistro 

PB&J crème brûlée


1 quart heavy cream

1 cup sugar

8 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup peanut butter

Jam of choice


[1] Heat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange 10 ramekins in two large, deep baking dishes. [2] In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and cream. Mix thoroughly and set aside. [3] Microwave the peanut butter for 30 seconds or until loose. Divide among ramekins, and spread in a thin layer covering the bottom of the ramekin. Ladle the cream mixture over the peanut butter layer. [4] Fill a plastic piping bag with jam. Get creative piping/drizzling a design in the cream. [5] Using a pitcher, fill the bottom of the baking dish with water (about 1/4-inch water). Cover with aluminum foil. Place the baking dishes in the heated oven. Bake for 45 minutes. [6] Once cooled, pour a thin layer of white sugar over the crème. Brûlée the sugar with a torch until crisp and golden brown.

Just as Wellington

The SERG Group challenged its talented chefs and sous chefs to showcase their culinary skills by creating a range of delectable dishes across multiple categories, all set to compete in a contest for LOCAL Life. The aim of this competition was to broaden the horizons and capabilities of the chefs while also giving them an opportunity to gain recognition within the local community. After an intense competition, executive chef Alan Ford of Poseidon emerged as the winner of the “iconic recipe with a twist” category, thanks to his innovative approach and exceptional culinary expertise.


Chipotle Pork Wellington

Ingredients (pork Wellington)

16 ounces pork tenderloin (marinated)

8 ounces mustard greens

1 cup pecans

1/2 cup brown sugar

8 thin slices Prosciutto di Parma

1 sheet puff pastry (12×12)

1 egg yolk, for egg wash

Ingredients (chipotle beurre blanc)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon garlic

1 shallot, julienned

1 8-ounce can chipotle peppers

4 ounces Grand Marnier liqueur

4 ounces orange juice

10 ounces unsalted butter

Ingredients (rainbow chard insalata)

8 ounces rainbow chard, julienned

3 ounces pickled peppers

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice


[1] Heat a cast iron pan and season your pork tenderloin with salt and pepper on all sides. Once the pan is hot, add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil and place your pork tenderloin in the pan for 12 minutes, rotating every four minutes until the meat is seared completely. Place in the oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Once finished, remove from the pan and allow to cool for 15-20 minutes. [2] In a food processor, blend the kale and pecans with brown sugar until finely processed. Sauté this mixture on low heat for 4-5 minutes, removing any excess water from the kale and allow to cool. [3] To build your pork Wellington, place up to 2 feet of plastic wrap on your table and overlap two rows of four of the Prosciutto di Parma. Evenly spread the kale-pecan mixture over the entirety of the prosciutto. Then place pork tenderloin directly in the center. Fold the prosciutto over top of the pork tenderloin and continue to tighten up the roll as you roll. Continue using the plastic wrap in the rolling process to seal off the loin. Allow 15-20 minutes for the roll to rest in your refrigerator. [4] Add 1/2 cup of flour to a flat surface and roll out your puff pastry. Add your pork roll to the center of the pastry sheet and repeat the process from the roll. Allow to rest for 15 minutes in the refrigerator. [5] For the chipotle beurre blanc, heat a small stock pot on medium and add 2 tablespoons of butter. Once melted, add the garlic and shallots and stir occasionally for 2-3 minutes. Add your chipotle peppers and cook for 4-5 minutes. Proceed to deglaze the pan with Grand Marnier and cook until the alcohol is cooked off. Add the orange juice and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes. Once reduced, slowly whisk in the room-temperature butter until fully incorporated. [6] Remove the Wellington from the refrigerator and brush the egg wash (2 egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of water) over the pastry and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. [7] Place the rainbow chard, pickled onions, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil in a bowl and toss with salt and pepper to taste. [8] Remove the Wellington and allow to rest before slicing.

Cultures collide 

In Italian cuisine the rack of lamb is a springtime staple and a celebrated Easter dish in some religious traditions. This iconic dish is typically prepared with rosemary and garlic in a variety of ways. However, Chef Nunzio Patruno has put his own unique spin on this classic by infusing it with French provincial flavors through the addition of mustard and herbs.

Nunzio Restaurant + Bar 

Rack of lamb with fine herbs, mustard and braised fennel

Serves 4


2 racks of lamb, about 1 1⁄4 pounds each

2 tablespoons breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon mustard

1 tablespoon pecorino cheese

2 garlic cloves, chopped.

1 glass white wine

1⁄2 cup chicken stock

1 teaspoon fine herbs (sage, thyme, rosemary, parsley, oregano) finely chopped.

Ingredients (Braised fennel)

2 heads of fennel, cut off top and quarter

2 ounces extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

1⁄2 cup chicken stock

2 tablespoons pecorino cheese


[1] Heat oven to 400 degrees. Season the rack of lamb with salt and pepper and sauté on both sides until golden. Place the lamb onto a small roasting pan and spread mustard on top of the rack and set aside. [2] In a small mixing bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, cheese and fine herbs, covering the entire rack with the mix. Add the chicken stock and white wine to the bottom of the roasting pan. [3] Roast the lamb in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. [4] As the lamb cooks, place the quartered fennel in a baking dish and sprinkle with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and pecorino cheese. Add chicken stock to the fennel and cover with foil. Bake the fennel for 20 minutes at 375 degrees. [5] Remove the lamb from the pan and rest before slicing. Deglaze the pan juices, removing some of the excess fat. Slice the rack and serve four chops on each plate with two wedges of braised fennel. Finally, drizzle the deglazed pan juice over the lamb. 

Chock full of flavor

Indulging in a classic chocolate cupcake is an absolute treat, but the recipe from Cassandra’s Kitchen Store takes it to another level. Renowned chef Ina Garten’s secret to creating the most exquisite chocolate cakes and cupcakes lies in the addition of coffee. The ganache featured in these delectable cupcakes includes a dash of instant coffee, which magnifies the chocolate’s depth and richness, making for an unparalleled taste sensation.

Cassandra’s Kitchen Store 

Ina Garten’s chocolate ganache cupcakes


1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

4 extra-large eggs, room temperature

1 1/3 cups Hershey’s chocolate syrup

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

Ingredients (Ganache)

1/2 cup heavy cream

8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

1 teaspoon instant coffee granules

Candied violets for decoration, optional


1] Line muffin pans with 12 paper liners. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. [2] Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the chocolate syrup and vanilla. Add the flour and mix until just combined. Don’t overbeat, or the cupcakes will be tough. [3] Scoop the batter into the muffin cups and bake for 30 minutes or until just set in the middle. Don’t over bake. Let the cupcakes cool thoroughly in the pan. [4] For the ganache, cook the heavy cream, chocolate chips, and instant coffee in a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally. [5] Dip the top of each cupcake in the ganache. Decorate with candied violets, if desired. Do not refrigerate. 

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