Ari Kolender, Guest Chef at The Merrywell

To Melburnians—and indeed, to other parts of the world (but they’re not as important, duh)—South Carolina is synonymous with fried chicken. It’s the home of some of the best fried food, and even a Google search for ‘South Carolina’ comes up with the simple answer: meat and seafood. Melbourne has been lucky enough to have an influx of American-style cooking over the last few years, heavy on the fried and loaded with the fat. All that is forgivable however, when it simply tastes so darn good.

As good as we have it here though, it’s still a special occasion when a famous chef comes to visit, especially when said chef is known for his finger-licking’ fried chicken. Ari Kolender has recently been awarded a James Beard Rising Star Chef Semi-Finalist, while cooking up a storm at Leon’s Fine Poultry and Oyster Shop—a fan favourite in Charleston, South Carolina. Having worked previously at St Alban, Providence and Red Medicine in LA, he also helped pen up The Ordinary in Charleston.

Kolender’s bringing his southern cuisine down further south than normal—all the way to Melbourne. He will be setting up shop in The Merrywell at Crown, from the 4th to the 11th of August.

Expect to wrap your lips around salty snacks such as lady peas with relish, quick chow chow, cumin and coriander, Oyster’s Southside with smoky bacon, Worcestershire and parmesan, Anson Mills cornbread with jalapeño and honey butter, and of course: Charleston famous fried chicken with hot sauce.

Keep your mouths peeled and salivating in the coming months, as Kolender’s visit is kicking off a series of American guest chefs at the Merrywell. We’ll celebrate with an epic amount of fried chicken please! #worththecalories

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