Food & Drink Magazine

Chef David Cunningham of V Seagrove

By @Eater30A
Chef David Cunningham of V SeagroveChef David Cunningham of V Seagrove , Photo: Susan Benton

David Cunningham is the Executive Chef of V Seagrove on 30-A. Chef Cunningham specializes in Gulf Coast cuisine, and creates the restaurant menu  based on seasonal ingredients, always fulfilling the need of the diner. Seafood dishes are most requested, like the Poached Grouper with Jumbo Lump Blue Crab in a Morel Cream topped with Phyllo Pastry, and the Shrimp and Grits.

Chef David Cunningham of V SeagroveShrimp and Grits, Photo: Susan Benton

Chef Cunningham grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, learning to cook from generations before him. He shared with me his love of good food, and the special memories he has of his grandfather making gumbo from the turkey leftover at Thanksgiving. Cunningham has a passion for fishing and appreciates all Gulf seafood, but reflects on his roots when speaking of his fondness for speckled trout and redfish. When at home with family on the weekends, he really enjoys grilling.

Chef David Cunningham of V Seagrove
Chef David may love grilling, but I love his Crab Cakes! Photo: Susan Benton

Chef Cunningham came to the V Seagrove from the former Commanders Palace in Destin, where he was the Executive Chef, and prior to that Commanders Palace in New Orleans, where he worked under his mentor, the famed Jamie Shannon. Shannon, the chef who succeeded Emeril Lagasse at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans and brought its kitchen national acclaim, succumbed to cancer in 2001, at the age of 40. In his 17 years at the revered Commander’s Palace, Shannon won numerous awards by celebrating the Creole traditions and ingredients of his adopted city.

Cunningham says, “Working with Shannon gave me the insight I needed to be a more devoted chef. I was taught to search in my own back yard, so to speak, for the best local products, to learn farming techniques, and to be creative.”

Chef David Cunningham of V Seagrove
Local Micro-Greens, Photo: Susan Benton

Chef Cunningham keeps his food clean, simple, and not to intricate. You will find fresh foods from C&D Mills, Mac Farms, Water Street in Apalachicola, and Destin Ice showcased on the plates at V Seagrove. When I asked about Cunningham’s sources, he says, “If it’s not fresh, it’s not on my menu!”

Chef David Cunningham of V Seagrove
Fresh Local Crispy Fish, Photo: Susan Benton

V Seagrove has an eclectic atmosphere offering indoor and outdoor dining. They are located at the corner of Highway 395 and 30A. The address is 2743 East County Highway 30-A in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. Hours of operation are Monday through Sunday 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.,
1/2 price entrées are 5-6 p.m. along with happy hour 5 to 7 p.m. at V bar. They can be reached by phone at (850) 468-0973. Check their website vseagrove,net for seasonal hours.

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