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Editorial: Dining with the stars in the 'Burg

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chef declan horgan

Declan Horgan, the new chef at Rebellion.

We food lovers are quick to tie cuisine to region (and no, “tie cuisine” is not meant to be a pun).

Coastal cities like Baltimore and Boston and little old Calabash in North Carolina are renowned for their seafood. San Francisco and cutting edge Asian cuisine pair as well as New York City and Italian. Chicago has blue collar cooking and Eastern European fare. And San Antonio has the best Tex-Mex you’ll ever taste–especially at Mi Tierra.

New Orleans? If we have to explain, well, this editorial probably isn’t for you.

At the rate things are going, foodies may start connecting Fredericksburg not to a cuisine, but to a movement: the place where TV chefs go to thrive.

Wednesday’s Free Lance–Star featured the new chef at Revolution Bourbon Bar & Kitchen, Declan Horgan. Originally from Ireland, Horgan found his way to season 21 of “Hell’s Kitchen,” where he finished third. He also recently made an appearance on the “Today” show.

That’s a lot of star power at 301 Williams St., but Horgan plans to create a menu that will attract all those who will come to taste a bit of what this celebrity chef whips up. He plans to expand the offerings that currently are mostly “male oriented,” and introduce dishes that will appeal to women, as well.

If bar food and bourbon aren’t your thing, but you still want to dine with TV culinary contestants, try Foode. An established eatery opened by Joy Crump, who appeared on the 2014 season of “Top Chef,” the restaurant now features her co-contestant, Stacy Cogswell from New England.

Expect some innovative dishes, as Cogswell bring New England-inspired cooking to classic Southern food.

Other chefs in the area are star-worthy, the networks just haven’t caught on yet. Matthew Deaton, for example, is the relatively new pitmaster at Allman’s BBQ on Emancipation Highway. Crumb describes him as a “purist”; those who’ve eaten there often describe the food he serves up this way: Good.

And then there’s Kelly Hunt of Mason–Dixon Café on Princess Anne Street. Her fusion of Northern favorites (like cheese steaks) and Southern comfort food have been a hit with regulars in the city since she first opened. Now with a site in Stafford on Hope Road, a down-home meal is within easy reach of most of our readership.

Don’t be surprised, however, if you pull in one day and find Guy Fieri’s iconic 1968 Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible sitting in the drive-in while he’s inside filming an episode of “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.” The restaurant is worthy of an episode.

Chef Jannec Hornig of The Alpine Chef restaurant at the downtown train station is another yet-to-be-discovered star. Born and raised in Berlin, he and his wife have brought the best of German cooking to our region in an inviting, historic setting.

No doubt about it. The world outside may not yet know of the extraordinary chefs and restaurants in our region, but as high-profile chefs continue to move in, it’s only a matter of time before someone connects dining in Fredericksburg to what we’re becoming known for—celebrity chefs.

Look out, Las Vegas, we’re coming for you.


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