Chef Fred Neuville opened Fat Hen and Wild Olive on Johns Island. He recently decided to focus solely on Fat Hen and try his hand at a catering company, as well.
Q: You have a very strong commitment to Darkness to Light. Would you mind talking a bit about your connection to this charity?
A: I began working with Darkness to Light since it's inception and am now the chef chair for the gala that is held every year the Thursday before Thanksgiving. The reason why I am so involved is because my wife, Joan, and I have been foster parents for many years and have dealt with issues concerning what Darkness to Light is trying to address child sexual abuse.
Q: What changes have you made to the restaurant in the last year and what do you foresee in the next year?
A: Well, we made quite a few in the last year, opening a catering company, building a smoke house and starting up Fat Hen chicken farm, enlarged our parking lot to handle the volume that we do and purchased the building and land (2 acres) that Fat Hen sits on. Added another air conditioning unit to the kitchen so it was not so hot. We are not going to make any major changes this year, we are going to get settled into what we are doing now and plan for growth the following year.
Q: What's your favorite item on your menu right now?
A: Right now, I would have to say the barbecue quail filled with our duck and apple sausage over roasted tomato, corn and goat cheese grits.
Q: Do you change the menu items for each season?
A: We change in the spring and fall. Our menu's revolve around what we are supplied by The Makin' Butterflies at Johns Island Montessori School (organic vegetables), Legare Farms (eggs, beef, vegetables), Ambrose Farms, Black Bird farms, Cherry Point Seafood, Crosby's Seafood just to name a few. We are as local as you can possibly be, and we thank everyone for all their hard work.
Q: You pulled away from Wild Olive this year. Can you explain what brought you to that decision?
A: We wanted to concentrate on Fat Hen, Fat Hen catering and Fat Hen chicken farm along with getting five teenagers through high school.
Also, we and our partner in Wild Olive had different ideas on how to run a business.
Q: Why do you think that eating and buying your food locally is so important?
A: Buying local product is so important, not only for freshness and flavor, but supporting your local community and building relationships with the people who work so hard to bring these wonderful products to our table.
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