Instagram attracts foodies to Grand Strand - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Instagram attracts foodies to Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A local chef is working to put the Grand Strand on the map not for its beaches, but for its food, and he's doing it through Instagram.

"We are a hospitality driven town, so the recognition that we need to get on this beach is going to happen through Instagram and it's starting," said Kevin Levine, executive chef at Scatori's Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant.

Levine held a chefs' dinner Monday night in collaboration with Patrick Clark II, owner of The Red Cup in Oklahoma City, Okla. The two met on Instagram, compiled a menu for a 10-course dinner and met in person for the first time just hours before starting to prepare the meal.

"Never thought that a local mom and pop restaurant that we've been open seven years is going stronger and stronger and stronger and to have 80 people come tonight because of this movement," Levine said.

24 chefs from all over the U.S. as well as Canada who are active on Instagram flew or drove into the area for the dinner. Those chefs helped the kitchen prepare the food during the day then they sat down to enjoy the dinner at 7 p.m.

"I'm always visually hungry," said Sara Azizian, owner of Sweet Cakes by Sara in Florida, "I'm always on Instagram like 'Oh my god, I want that. Oh my god, I want that.' Now I get to have it tonight."

Levine used the hashtag "truecooks" to connect with these chefs from around the country including his partner Monday, Patrick Clark II. Clark said Instagram is turning into a resource for culinary inspiration and for young chefs looking for advice.

"We'll help each other out. If people have questions, we'll work with them and kind of just share," Clark said. "It's like a big community of chefs."

Levine said Instagram has also helped the day-to-day business at Scatori's because people will come in specifically asking for a dish they saw him post on Instagram.

80 people attended the special dinner Monday night.

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