Charleston Wine + Food

In celebration of Black History Month, we’re honoring the unique stories + experiences of the people who make up the many layers of our community. Tia Clark is a Charleston native and food + beverage veteran who started Casual Crabbing with Tia in 2017 – now recognized as one of Airbnb’s best in the world experiences.

who taught you to cook and how do you honor them?

“My mom and my grandma taught me to cook. I used to help my mom in the kitchen growing up, and I used to have sleepovers with my grandma and help her the next day. I remember scaling fish, soaking greens, and snapping green beans for my grandma. It was so special. When we would be over there hanging out, she would do this thing like “are you going to spend the night with me,” and I knew I was going to have something bangin’ to eat in the morning, I would get to stay up late, and I would get to wear one of her house robes. Sometimes when we would go over there, I would pack a bag, like” I’m not going home for days.”  My favorite thing was when my mom or my grandma would make me lima beans or okra soup. My mom still makes me okra soup all the time. All I have to do is ask. And I honor them because I cook the things they taught me to cook. I think about them every time I’m in the kitchen or near the water. I tell my whole family that if my grandma was alive now, they would all go hungry. Every time I bring fish to my mom or my Aunt Lorraine, I tell them all this fish would be going to Granny if she was here.”

How has food influenced who you are as a person?

“I think that question for me is hard because I was in the food and beverage industry for 20 years, so food kind of defined who I was for a long time, but it’s really just now starting to influence who I am as a person. That part is just starting to happen. In the past it just dictated what job I got, but now all I want to do is catch and cook my own food. My wife and I are planning a garden right now, and the day I can come home with fish I caught and then go out and pick something from the garden to make dinner, I will be in heaven.”

What legacy do you want to leave?

“Having a relationship with the water can change your life. I want my time next to the water to continue to inspire everyone who hears my story. I want kids who I have crabbed with me to bring their kids years from now. I want everyone who comes crabbing with me to leave with a respect for the water, for nature that lasts for their lifetime. I just hope everybody gets that thing that happened to me when I experienced it for the first time – the feeling that I had to have this over and over again, that I had to go crabbing every day. I drive over bodies of water now and peek at certain points over the bushes, see the sunset, and it’s like it’s the first time I felt that way all over again. Long after I’m gone, I want people to still share the water the way I share it with everybody. I hope it’s never lost.”



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