Chef Dye Scott-Rhodan
Dye's Country Chicken and Rice
2 cups long grain rice
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup each of finely chopped
onions, bell pepper, celery, green onions
1 1/2 cups of cooked chicken, chopped
1/2 teaspoon each of sea salt, black pepper
Pinch of pepper flakes
4 cups chicken broth
In a large frying pan, sauté the rice in the oil. Add the onions, pepper, celery and sauté until tender. Add all the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to simmer. Cook until the liquid is absorbed.
Photo by Milton Morris
Chef Dye Scott-Rhodan serves up more than just tasty, fresh food at her restaurant on Hilton Head Island—she also serves up a dose of traditional Gullah culture.
The menu at Dye’s Gullah Fixin’s features recipes that have been handed down through the generations in her family— fried chicken, pork ribs, macaroni and cheese, collard greens and Lowcountry boil, to name just a few. She even cooks with pots and pans handed down in her family, including her treasured iron skillet. And of course, she uses only the freshest ingredients like raw sugar cane, natural herbs, seasonal vegetables and locally caught shrimp, crabs, oysters and fish.
“Gullah cooking is all natural,” says Scott-Rhodan. “Fish or chicken shouldn’t be covered up with spices. Why put lemon on fish? And when you take a bite of chicken, it should taste like chicken.”
A native of Ridgeland (she calls herself an “outland Gullah”), Scott-Rhodan was the second of 10 children. Her father, Nathaniel Scott, was a farmer and her mother, Earline, was a homemaker. “We had a lot of love, but not much else,” she says. “We used what we grew for cooking.” She attended culinary schools in Atlanta and Baltimore and is trained as a chef, sous chef, pastry chef and bartender. But her favorite recipes all come from the kitchens of her mama, aunt and grandmother. “They were, and are, the best cooks I’ve ever known. I’m here to represent my mama’s kitchen and all of the old-time grandma cooking.”
Scott-Rhodan’s 60-seat restaurant, which is served by Palmetto Electric Cooperative, is something of a shrine to Gullah culture. In addition to the food, Dye’s sells souvenirs and there are occasional performances of live Gospel and other Gullah music.
It’s a cozy spot nestled in the back of Pineland Station Mall on William Hilton Parkway and decorated with family pictures and Gullah-inspired paintings. The dress code is always casual, but reservations are mandatory. “I don’t cook anything in advance and that’s why reservations are required,” says Scott-Rhodan.“I cook everything from scratch, so it takes longer.”
This summer, Scott-Rhodan will release her first cookbook, filled with handwritten recipes handed down in her family, and she recently shot a pilot for a cooking show. Both projects revolve around one fundamental secret: "You just have to put your soul, your heart and your love into cooking to make good food,” she says.