Call to Action | Hurricane Matthew Flood

Call to Action | Hurricane Matthew Flood

Dear Friends,

Many of you know that parts of Eastern North Carolina are flooded as a result of Hurricane Matthew. Parts of my already challenged region face unprecedented devastation and a seemingly insurmountable rebuild. As a member of the food and beverage industry, an industry that increasingly goes to bat for those in need, I’d like to propose a way we, as an extended community, can help a place and a people in dire straits. Here’s the idea:

In Eastern Carolina when a group needs to raise money for a cause, they sell food. From church fellowship halls, volunteer fire departments or community buildings, 5 times out of ten, the offering is something we call “fish stew.”  Deceptively simple, our particular brand of stew is unique to the 3 counties around where I live. It starts with rendered bacon and ends with whole eggs that are cracked over top about 5 minutes before serving. A proper serving includes some fish (usually rockfish, sheepshead or catfish), a few slices of potato, onions, a whole hard-poached egg, reserved crisp bacon for the top and a slice of white bread to sop up what’s left of its tomato paste- laced broth. 

I believe the tradition of cracking eggs over top came about when a resourceful farmer needed to stretch a stew further than the fish could take it. And because eggs were something most farmers had plenty of, they became the way to add heft and heartiness to an otherwise lean offering. What a happy accident that the thing thrown in to make it stretch, made it memorable.  

That’s sort of the genesis of this idea. What if we as restauranteurs and chefs offered our own version of Eastern Carolina’s fish stew- rendered in giving, stewed in storytelling and finished with substance? What if we told our guests about Eastern Carolina’s food fundraisers, stew stretched by eggs and my region’s flood. What if we sold that stew as a special for one week- beginning October 30 through November 5- and donated the proceeds to help a community while telling stories that exalt its culture? Please join me in making this “what if” a reality.


If you choose to participate, and I hope you do, please consider sharing this message with like-minded people in the industry and beyond. My hope is that we not only help Eastern Carolina recover, we help it thrive. Make donations at with the tag #fishstew.



Vivian Howard





Chef & the Farmer- Kinston, NC

The Boiler Room Oyster Bar- Kinston, NC

Lovick’s Café- Kinston, NC

Sam Jones BBQ- Greenville, NC

On the Square- Tarboro, NC

Forkful- Jacksonville, NC

The Trading Post- Emerald Isle, NC

Southern Smoke BBQ- Garland, NC

Fork Restaurant- Cornelius, NC

Poole’s Diner- Raleigh, NC

Player’s Retreat- Raleigh, NC

Nosh- Durham, NC

Piedmont- Durham, NC

The Saltbox Seafood- Durham, NC

Lantern- Chapel Hill, NC

Crooks Corner- Chapel Hill, NC

Panciuto- Hillsborough, NC

Heron’s- Cary, NC

Upstream- Charlotte, NC

Mimosa Grill- Charlotte, NC

Dogwood Southern Table- Charlotte, NC

Pine Valley Market- Wilmington, NC

Catch- Wilmington, NC

Manna- Wilmington, NC

Pinpoint Restaurant- Wilmington, NC

Kornerstone Bistro- Wilmington, NC

Zambras- Asheville, NC

Vinnies- Asheville, NC

White Duck- Asheville, NC

Chai Pani- Asheville, NC

Buxton Hall- Asheville, NC

Lobster Trap- Asheville, NC

Buffalo Nickel- Asheville, NC

Rhubarb- Asheville, NC

The Rhu- Asheville, NC

Chupacabra Latin Café- Asheville, NC

Ambrosia- Asheville, NC

Local Provisions- Asheville, NC

The Cantina- Asheville, NC

Blue Dream Curry- Asheville, NC

Ultimate Ice Cream- Asheville, NC

Cúrate- Asheville, NC

Nightbell- Asheville, NC

Harper’s- Charlotte & Greensboro, NC • Columbia, SC

The Glass Onion- Charleston, SC

Terrapin- Virginia Beach, VA

Commune- Virginia Beach, VA

Butterfield At Hasbrouck House- Stone Ridge, NY

Txikito- Manhattan • New York, NY

Houseman- Manhattan • New York, NY

Salum- Dallas, TX

Margot’s- Nashville, TN

City House- Nashville, TN

Snack Bar- Oxford, MS

City Grocery- Oxford, MS

Kermit's Outlaw Kitchen- Tupelo, MS

Ladybird Grove and Mess Hall- Atlanta, GA