Native Prime Provisions is a gem for anyone who loves fine food
Story by Lisa Gray Youngblood
Photos by Chelsea Cronkrite
Two things in Scott Alderson’s life have long been certain. He loves cooking, and he loves the plateau.
Scott’s early years were spent in Fort Lauderdale, but his family vacationed on the plateau every Christmas until they finally moved here in 1978. “We had a resort with cabins and a restaurant, so my earliest memories are entrenched in food and service and the restaurant business.” Even as a boy, he had a passion for both the mountains and the kitchen.
Given these passions, it would have been easy to stay and learn locally, but to become the chef and restaurateur he wanted to be, he knew he couldn’t start where he hoped to end. He needed to experience the world and learn from top chefs. That’s the thing about Scott. He relishes challenges and is not inclined to take the road of least resistance, which is a good thing for us.
Over the years, he has learned from some of the greats, including Chef Jeri Fifer of the legendary Frog & Owl Café on Buck Creek Road and Chef Mark Rosenstein, founder of The Market Place Restaurant and the father of the “farm-to-table” moniker that has become the gold standard in the culinary field. He was also the opening Executive Chef of Wade Hampton Golf Club in 1989 and The Chattooga Club in 1990. Still, he had a sense there was more to learn and explore before finally settling down, so he set off on a journey that both changed his life and, ultimately, brought him home.
Eventually, he found himself living on a little sliver of rock in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in the settlement of Hope Town on Elbow Cay in Abaco, Bahamas. As fate would have it, he met his wonderful wife Tania Duncombe there, and the two enjoyed four magical years on the island. Tania had spent much of her life on this dazzling tropical archipelago, and she, too, felt an itch. One day after diving for conch, she said to Scott, “Let’s get off this rock.” Ever the adventurer, Scott agreed, and he knew exactly where they would go.
“I was certain she would fall in love with the plateau, just as I had,” he explains. The only question was how to make a living. Scott had worked for himself for almost 25 years as a chef and consultant and wasn’t particularly interested in getting back into the traditional restaurant life, and the idea of a meat and fish market had always been on the back of his mind. He understood his vision could fill a missing link in a community that values super high-quality food and ingredients, especially if it offered not only fishmonger and butcher services but also the highest quality lunch service.
“Fish and all marine and aquatic life have always been my favorite part of kitchen life,” Scott says. He loves to “fly fish for bonefish and trout, offshore troll for big pelagic gamefish and reef dive with a spear for a fresh dinner.” After decades in hospitality, Tania knew just what to do with Scott’s passion, for she had her own passion for service and entertainment. Soon, the business venture moved from dream to reality.
Scott procures the seafood. Every week he “hitches up his refrigerated trailer and heads to the east coast. I gather fish from Morehead City, Beaufort, Sea Level and Cedar Island, then across to Ocracoke, Hatteras and the entire string of Outer Banks up to Wanchese. When coming back down the Inner Banks, I stop at Stump Point and Swan Quarter, among others, where the variety of products is dynamic and endless.” His selections are super seasonal, and he only comes home with the freshest and highest quality foods. For many of us, this may sound like a mammoth undertaking, which it is, but for Scott “the relationships with these boats, captains, gatherers, netters, cutters and processors are what [he] cherishes most.”
Of course, it is not just fish. Scott and Tania also take pride in their high-quality meat. They use Summerfield Farms for the most amazing all-grass finished beef, Joyce Farms for heritage breed chickens as well as local farmers on or near the plateau for trout, eggs, veggies, fruit, nuts, honey and anything else that meets their discerning standards. Shopping at Native Prime is not only a pleasure but an experience.
And there is more—much more. Tania has her own magic to offer. If you are looking for that special lunch, take a seat at the chef’s counter or at one of the outdoor tables. You will want to settle in, for you will likely be there a while, and you just may make a friend or two during your stay. Tania takes great pride in the service and welcoming vibe she has worked hard to curate. Think of the television show Cheers. That is how regular the customers are, and there is always room for more.
I had the pleasure of enjoying a Saturday afternoon lunch at Native Prime with a friend. We sipped on top quality wine from a curated collection that is as unique as it is delicious, visited with our fellow patrons and enjoyed a smattering of dishes that included a luscious lobster roll, crisp tempura veggies, stone crab claws and trout with roe. The man next to me had an exquisite gumbo, and it took great self-restraint not to ask him for a bite. Every dish was divine, and I could go into great detail, but that won’t help you much. The menu changes daily. That is the joy of it. The food will be fantastic and different every time you go. This is a gem on the plateau you will not want to miss.
Native Prime Provisions
69 Cashiers Shopping Center Ingles Plaza, Cashiers