Chef Hari Cameron of grandpa(MAC) and a(Muse.)
in Rehoboth Beach. // Kam Photography
1. More than a few Delaware chefs have put the Small Wonder on the map, including the late Matt Haley, who received the 2014 James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year award. Haley’s legacy, the Rehoboth Beach-based restaurant group SoDel Concepts, lives on with nine—soon-to-be 10—restaurants.
2. The esteemed James Beard Foundation has recognized several Delaware chefs as semifinalists for best chef in the Mid-Atlantic, including Hari Cameron, whose a(Muse.) (Rehoboth, 227-7107) is lauded for innovative cuisine. Think sweetbreads with celery, chili and blue cheese or seaweed pasta with duck confit, pea tendrils and black radish. Cameron is no one-trick pony. He and brother Orion also have two grandpa(MAC) restaurants—one downtown and one on Coastal Highway (downtown Rehoboth, 727-5509; Del. 1, 313-4751). The casual restaurants offer build-your-own creations made with fresh and often eclectic pasta.
3. Foodies thank their lucky stars that Bryan Sikora, another James Beard semifinalist, opened La Fia (Wilmington, 543-5574) on Market Street. He made a name for himself in Philadelphia and Chester County. La Fia has been so successful that he and his wife, Andrea, have opened two other restaurants within walking distance, which has made Market Street a dining destination.
4. Jay Caputo has been a James Beard semifinalist on numerous occasions. His most recent endeavor is Pilot Town Fish Co. (Milton, 313-5507).
5. The state’s culinary claim to fame also includes Robbie Jester, executive chef of the Stone Balloon Ale House (Newark, 266-8111). Not only is he an exceptional chef, but he’s also a keen competitor. Jester beat Bobby Flay on the TV show “Beat Bobby Flay” and competed on Guy Fieri’s “Guy’s Grocery Games.”
6. Delaware’s “King of Cakes,” Dana Herbert, is a winner on TLC’s “Cake Boss: The Next Great Baker.” The self-proclaimed “Sugar Daddy” owns Desserts by Dana (Newark, 721-5798).