Part of eating is eating with our eyes, and these days, many people turn to image-based Instagram to dream about dinner, decide what to look for at the farmers market, or dive into a cocktail crush. Wherever you are and whatever you crave, the social media platform is a great way to plug into the local scene, and the Lowcountry is no exception.
Most people are familiar with Instagram, but if you’re not, all you need to get started is to download the app (at instagram.com or on your smartphone’s app store), create a profile, and then begin following people. As for whom to follow, here are nine local accounts to get you started, although please keep in mind that these images are at the accounts’ discretion and thus not officially endorsed by The Post and Courier. Not all of these are the biggest or the brightest, but here’s a secret: I follow them all to stay in the know.
Craig Deihl / @cdeihl
If there is a Charleston Instagram culinary master, it just might be this chef of Cypress and Artisan Meat Share. You don’t need a visit inside his charcuterie coolers to know what this butchery-focused chef is up to because his shots document the process, in everything from the curing specifics on a bresaola to the broth on a beef terrine. It’s the feed by a chef for chefs, and the rest of us can just follow along.
Holy City Handcraft / @holycityhandcraft
Miguel Buencamino is genuinely nice. That is why I can’t hate him for getting so good at this Instagram image-taking game in only a year, to the tune of more than 11,000 followers, myself included. Why do we follow? For the luscious shots of an overeasy egg bursting on the plate or occasional pictures of sunsets, but mainly for images of ice. The man can photograph cocktails and their reflective, glistening cubes, orbs, or chips in a way that makes you see the art of the cocktail before you even read the description.
Vinson Petrillo / @vpetrillo
The kitchen at Zero George might be petite for a professional one, but the artistic imagery is oversized, and Chef Petrillo is adept at capturing his ever-changing tasting menus as the seasons shift, from carved white asparagus to sculptural snacks of foie gras. This is an insider’s view of a highly skilled chef’s professional creativity and often his process, all from a kitchen that has no divide between diner and chef.
Mark Bolchoz Jr. / @chefbolchoz
Speaking of insider view, CIA Grad Mark Bolchoz is and has been a working chef on the line at some of the city’s best restaurants, including Indaco, The Grocery, and now Peninsula Grill. The passion for what Bolchoz has chosen as his profession is evident not only in the frequency of posts, but for his obvious appreciation for the product coming in through the kitchen doors. It’s a peek inside a high-end kitchen and the daily routine and dedication to keep it going.
Veggie Bin / @veggie_bin
Do you want to know what vegetables are local and in season right now? Well, an easy way to do that is to follow this small locally focused grocery store on Spring Street. Not only would you know that the first South Carolina blueberries became available mid-April, but you’d also be in the know about the wide variety of gourmet and artisanal foodstuffs being produced in the region.
Cocktail Bandits / @cocktailbandits
Follow Johnny Caldwell and Taneka Reaves for any length of time, and you realize that a) they must have the energy of the Energizer bunny to do and attend all the events they do b) they are masters at the hashtag (if you are not familiar with hashtag use on Instagram, you’ll learn quickly by following them) and c) these ladies love a good tequila. Their selfie-style and enthusiasm not only for the cocktail scene but life in general has earned them 27,000 and counting followers.
Charleston Food Writer / @chsfoodwriter
While there is definitely more than one food writer in this town, hairstylist turned blogger and devotee of the overhead table shot Candice Herriott beat the rest of us to the Instagram moniker. She is an enthusiastic advocate for this city and its food, and her feed feels as if it’s from the friend with whom you always eat lunch with because her menu selections are always better than yours.
Greg Johnsman / @geechieboymill
Life of an heirloom seed reviver, entrepreneur, and family man is varied business and so is the feed of Greg Johnsman. Through up-close shots of grain, the milling process, country life, and chef connections, Johnsman provides a well-rounded glimpse into the world of someone who is at once changing the Lowcountry food system while at the same time just trying to make a living at something that is his passion.
BJ Dennis / @chefbjdennis
Personal chef and caterer BJ Dennis is on a quest to rediscover his African roots and explore his own lineage and culture through food, and you can follow along as he travels, eats, cooks and researches. While his images might not always be the best quality (admittedly, it’s hard to take a good photograph of anything in a brown gravy) his personal journey through food speaks to much more than the taste on the plate.