More cool news from Rehoboth Beach-based SoDel Concepts: Corporate chef Doug Ruley has been invited to cook at the James Beard House on March 15. This is his second time cooking in the former home of James Beard, an American cookbook author, teacher, syndicated columnist and television personality. Ruley was the guest chef on April 29, the year SoDel Concepts founder Matt Haley received the James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year Award. “There is no higher honor in the restaurant business than being recognized by the James Beard Foundation,” says Scott Kammerer, president and CEO of SoDel Concepts, which owns eight restaurants. “Doug Ruley is well-deserving of this prestigious invitation.” Organized by the James Beard Foundation, the regularly scheduled dinners, held in the townhome at 167 W. 12th St. in Greenwich Village, feature four- to five-course meals with wine pairings prepared by guest chefs from around the world. The meals can highlight an individual chef or chefs from more than one restaurant. They can showcase the restaurant’s concept or a theme.
Last year, Ruley presented the Coastal Kitchen, a menu Haley and Ruley created to salute the MidAtlantic. (Haley could not attend that dinner because he was accepting the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s Cornerstone Humanitarian Award in Washington, D.C.) Haley passed away in August 2014. The March engagement will be the second time in a single year that Ruley will be the guest chef at the James Beard House, an unprecedented honor. “It’s hard to express how honored I feel to be invited to cook at the James Beard House,” Ruley says. “This year, I’m creating a menu that honors Matt’s legacy of preparing simple, beautiful food, which remains an important characteristic of a SoDel Concepts restaurant.” The kitchen at the James Beard House is well known for its small size. What’s more, guests are invited to walk through the kitchen to meet the chef and watch the team at work, adding to the challenge. No doubt Ruley will field questions about his home state. “When Matt received the Humanitarian of the Year Award, he did so on behalf of the team at SoDel Concepts and for Delaware,” Kammerer says. “We are thrilled that we can continue to bring a taste of Delaware to some of the most discerning palates in the world.” For information on the event and to keep an eye on when ticket sales begin, visit jamesbeard.org/events.