Lost Creek Farm raises the profile of Appalachian cuisine through great meals and compelling stories.
Mike Costello originally planned to go to culinary school. But, after he got a job at a high-end restaurant and saw the demanding schedules and crushing stress, he decided instead to go to journalism school at West Virginia University.
He eventually found a way to combine his interests in food and story with Lost Creek Farm, a traveling kitchen he runs with his wife, Amy. They serve up six-course dinners at venues around West Virginia and its neighboring states, while also telling the stories behind the ingredients and dishes they serve.
On any given night, Costello might tell diners the tale of Logan County’s famous Mortgage Lifter tomato, or the sausage made by Harrison County’s all-but-forgotten Spanish immigrant community, or his grandmother’s communion bread.
There’s also an agricultural component to Lost Creek Farm. The couple grows heritage vegetables and raises rabbits, bees, laying hens, and cows. They already use some of those groceries for their dinners but plan to ramp up production even more in coming years.
As Appalachian cuisine gains popularity nationwide, Costello says it’s time for West Virginia to realize its value. He’s happy to help. “Through food, we’re ambassadors for the state,” he says. “Appalachian food tradition is so full of stories people can be proud of.”