Great Plates 13

Chef Oscar of Evoke Shares His Butternut Squash 

Located in the elegant Le Méridien Charlotte uptown, an elegant, artistically-inspired destination for Queen City travelers, you’ll find Evoke. It’s a chic eatery that effortlessly combines the traditional with the modern; warm, saddle-colored leather settees pair comfortably with Eames-esque mid-century modern chairs. Abstract art on the walls is cast in the warm, sunny glow that filters through wide windows and architectural fixtures. It’s a feast for the eyes and, more importantly, a feast for the mouth.

Chef Oscar A. La Fuente is the driving force behind the creative, seasonal menus at Evoke. These are dishes inspired by the local and the international alike, foreign favorites reimagined with Charlottean ingredients.

Chef Oscar’s journey to Charlotte, and to cooking, was seemingly preordained. “I was inspired by watching my grandmother cook when I was young, although I didn’t think I’d follow that path,” he says, instead assuming he’d follow his father into carpentry. But after taking part-time culinary classes, he realized food was his passion.

After touring the kitchens of Canada’s growing food scene, Chef Oscar landed in Charlotte, where he’d eventually meet his wife, start a family, and move to Evoke. Through it all, his philosophy has remained simple: “My philosophy and cooking style would be to respect the ingredients and use the correct techniques to prepare them,” says Chef Oscar. “If you start with a great product you will have great tasting food.”
Chef Oscar’s excited that this ideology is gaining traction in the Queen City. “I’m very excited to see Charlotte hitting the lists of ‘foodie cities,’” he says. And it’s certainly a philosophy that’s apparent at Evoke, where the menus change seasonally to accommodate fresh, local ingredients. Chef Oscar’s next menu, for example, will include this butternut squash agnolotti with parmesan brodo.