The New York Times sent Julia Moskin to South Carolina in search of the latest proof of a Southern cooking revolution. While Moskin focused almost entirely on South Carolina (mostly Charleston, actually), she sussed out some interesting thinking from the new crop of Southern-centric young chefs and farmers (mostly Emile De Felice of Caw Caw Creek Farm).
De Felice is the heirloom-pig farmer who inspired people like Natalie Veres and Cassie Parsons of Grateful Growers and Sammy Koenigsberg of New Town Farms to try growing better pork chops.
Two interesting bits from Moskin's article: "Like California in the 1970s — when Alice Waters collaborated with farmers, foragers and cheesemakers on the food at Chez Panisse — the South today has just the right combination of climate, culinary skill, regional chic and receptive audience."
"Today, purists believe, Southern cooking is too often represented by its worst elements: feedlot hams, cheap fried chicken and chains like Cracker Barrel. 'My mother didn’t cook like that, and my grandmother didn’t cook like that,' Mr. DeFelice said. 'And if you want to come down here and talk about shrimp and grits, well, we’re tired of that, too. Southern cooking is a lot more interesting than people think.'"
The link is here, although remember that the Times has a paywall: If you're a member, you can only get a limited number of articles in a month.