Charleston Wine + Food

Women are the backbone of our families + our communities. They are the glue of our society – constantly raising the proverbial bar for equality + justice and taking on the roles of mother, educator, caretaker, and historian in our lives in ways we often don’t even realize. In the Lowcountry, family is more than those biologically related to you – it is the community + culture that envelops us all and makes us who we are at our core.

Generations of women have led Lowcountry kitchens, creating sustainable businesses and delicious foods for locals + travelers to enjoy. We’re celebrating the many Matriarchs of our community – heads of households, respected + revered members of the community, and the women who have quite literally taught + fed generations of those who call the Lowcountry home through Gullah Geechee and Lowcountry cuisine + culture. 

We’re thrilled to honor a group of renowned Matriarchs for the impact they have made on the communities + families they have served and the roles that talent, family, faith, endurance, and roots have played in creating their legacies. 



Ms. Emily H. Meggett was born on November 19, 1932 on Edisto Island. She worked as a cook for more than 45 years and was taught by one of the best cooks on Edisto Island, the late Ms. Julia W. Brown. Her grandmother taught her how to cook at the age of 12 and instilled in her that you never cook enough for just you and your family, because you never know who will stop by. Cooking brings Ms. Emily Meggett great joy and she has fed too many people to count. Wherever she goes, it is important for her to not go empty handed. She always takes a gift of food with her. Ms. Emily Meggett is a long-standing member of the New First Missionary Baptist Church where she serves on several auxiliaries. This woman is the epitome of what a good Christian represents, what it means to be a good Mother, a good neighbor, a good friend, a good community leader, but most of all she’s passionate and has the love of God in heart for everyone, and believes that everyone that walks through the doors of her house, is hungry and will be fed before they leave. At 89 years old, and with more than 55 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Ms. Emily Meggett is a respected elder in the community of South Carolina. She has lived on the island all her life, and even at her age, still cooks for many people out of her hallowed home kitchen. Her house is a place of pilgrimage for anyone to stop by at any given time. If the side door is open, there is food in the kitchen. Ms. Emily Meggett is a New York Times Best Selling Author of Gullah Geechee Home Cooking released on 26 April 2022. She is also the recipient of the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteer Service. On 22 July 2022 she received a Proclamation declaring 22 July Emily Meggett’s Day in Charleston from Mayor John Tecklenburg.


Charlotte Jenkins, chef and owner of Gullah Cuisine in Mt. Pleasant, SC, has been cooking Gullah foods since she was nine years old. It wasn’t until she moved to New York and started entertaining guests in her home that she realized there was something special about her Gullah culture. Jenkins’ first stint was catering. While catering throughout the Lowcountry, customers suggested they wanted to be able to eat Jenkins’ food more often. In 1997 she along with her husband Frank opened the Gullah Cuisine Restaurant and continued to operate CJ’s Catering Service. Charlotte, a graduate of Johnson & Wales School of Culinary Arts, learned that opening a restaurant was risky business, but she gave it a shot. The Washington Post, NY Times, Gourmet and Southern Living have all tapped into what’s going on in the kitchen at Gullah Cuisine. In effort to share Gullah cooking and culture with others, Charlotte embarked on a cookbook venture by authoring her first book Gullah Cuisine: By Land and By Sea (Evening Post Publishing Company), a collection of stories and recipes taken from Charlotte and her husband Frank Jenkins’ lives and traditions in and outside their Gullah family kitchens. The book includes reproductions of the vivid paintings of Jonathan Green, and narrative by William Baldwin and photography by Mic Smith. Currently, Charlotte still lives in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina and operates Gullah Cuisine with her husband and daughter and is looking to continue to spread the Gullah culture in future endeavors.


“I am Melanie Alston, granddaughter of the late Mrs. Martha “Lou” Gadsden. My grandmother was a hard worker. Until the day she passed away she never realized how she impacted all of our lives positively. I got the gift of entrepreneurship from her. She was a modest woman and yearned for the basic necessities of life, and nothing more. I would like to share one unknown fact about her. She had a wonderful sense of humor, to most folks she was stern and serious. While that is true there were many other sides to her personality that were fascinating. Mrs. Martha Lou Gadsden was strong and overcame many challenges and traumas in her life. Cooking was one of her outlets and she did it so well and gracefully. I can recall as a child watching her prepare what has come to be known as some of her most famous dishes/entrees. For example, collard greens, cornbread, bread pudding, fried chicken and fish & girts. Oh the aroma and the taste of the food always left us longing for more. In the Black community we have a saying, she always knew how to stretch a pot for all of us to enjoy. Her most famous saying is, I am a cook and not a chef. We love her for this and through me and others her talents of cooking the best soul food dishes will live on. Rest in Peace Moma, you are a legend and never even realized it! Thank you!!”


For more than 30 years, Natalie Daise has developed and facilitated interactive learning experiences for educators, students, and audiences in schools, universities, conferences, and other venues. Her belief in the positive power of stories is demonstrated in her speaking as well as in the performing and visual arts. A self taught, visionary artist, Natalie’s painting and functional art pieces arise from the tradition of storytelling. She has been married to Ron Daise, her cheerleader, supporter, and committed partner in creativity and life since 1985. They have two children, Sara and Simeon, by birth, and one, Sabrina, by heart. She earned a BA degree from Vermont College in 1992 and a MA in Creativity Studies in 2014. Best known as “Ms. Natalie” on Nick Jr.’s award-winning television program, Gullah Gullah Island, Natalie is committed to making presentations that entertain, educate, empower and inspire.


Sallie Ann Robinson is an American cookbook author, celebrity chef, and cultural historian. A native of Daufuskie Island, South Carolina, she is noted for her knowledge of Gullah traditions and history. Robinson was born on Daufuskie Island before natives began selling their ancestral land to private corporations and individuals in the 1960s and began moving inland to surrounding areas in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and elsewhere. While she is an author in her own right, Robinson’s literary debut actually came as the character named Ethel in Pat Conroy’s classic memoir, The Water Is Wide. She was among the students Conroy taught on Daufuskie Island and maintained a friendship with the author as an adult. Before Conroy’s death in 2016, the two sometimes made joint appearances at literary events. Members of Robinson’s family are also featured in Daufuskie Island, A Photographic Essay by Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe. Robinson currently splits her time between Hilton Head Island, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia. Photo credit


On North Meeting Street, the flavors of the Lowcountry boldly emanate from this robin’s-egg-blue spot, where Albertha Grant first opened shop in 1980. Her presence is still felt each time a cook hefts a stewpot to the stove and tosses in a seasoning hunk of side meat. Vibrant family portraits by Charleston muralist Charles DeSaussure line the walls. Today, Grant’s daughters Julia Grant, Linda Pinckney, and Sharon Coakley serve fried whiting, fried pork chops, red rice, prioleau rice, stewed chicken neck with gizzards and lima beans. Regulars queue the cafeteria line before 11:00 each morning. Construction workers exit with foam clamshells of Gullah excellence. Okra soup, a dark garlicky stew, thick with tomatoes and clods of pork in a richly aromatic broth, is itself worth the trip. This soulful restaurant connects modern diners with traditional foodways and shines as a paragon of the region’s living culinary history.




A chef and food writer from N. Charleston, SC, Amethyst focuses primarily on Southern & African-American foodways and the foodways of the African Diaspora.



Keandra Anderson is a young and talented chef from Columbia, SC. She currently holds a position at Harold’s Cabin. Starting her journey in the kitchen at just 8 years old, she discovered that she had a passion for the joy and community that food brings while helping cater yearly dinners as a service to the elderly community of her home church Brooklyn Baptist located in West Columbia, South Carolina. Keandra began cooking professionally in fast food, local markets and restaurants at the age of 15. She started hosting at the age of 17 which progressed into serving, bartending, and managing several restaurants. Her humble journey back to the kitchen eventually drove her to join the opening team of Hall’s Chophouse Columbia. Her first year there led her to pursue the culinary experience that Charleston has to offer. Since being in Charleston she’s held a number positions that have led her to the pursuit of the ultimate low country cuisine. She is very excited to continue her journey immersing herself into the culinary community that Charleston has to offer.



Sameka M. Jenkins and Emma M. Cromedy are the dynamic sister duo behind the infamous Carolima’s Lowcountry Cuisine and Carolima’s Dessert Boutique. Sameka’s love for cooking began as a way to feed friends while in college. Being a native of the Lowcountry everyone expected her to know how to prepare dishes like red rice and shrimp and grits- and she did! As one of Charleston’s most sought after Gullah Chefs she loves catering events throughout the Charleston area. ‘Emma’s been pouring her love of baking into southern desserts since she was tall enough to reach the mixing bowl. The founder of Charlotte’s 1st Mobile Dessert Truck has brought her talents to Charleston and established Carolima’s Dessert Boutique- the sweet side of Carolima’s. She’s always baking a delicious dessert that has guests wanting more! Whether they are whipping up something savory or something sweet, it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser.



Ashley is a freelance chef traveling across the east coast introducing the unfamiliar to Gullah cuisine. Her roots are right here in Charleston, SC where she started her journey in the food and beverage industry and has been going strong for over 12 years. She loves southern/gullah cuisine & culture as well as oriental comfort foods. She enjoys helping clients discover their true taste profile and getting them out of their comfort zones with food.



Born & Raised in South Carolina, Chef India Jefferson has always had a passion for cooking. This military vet turned Chef moved to Houston to further her culinary skills graduating from The Art Institute of Houston moving on to fulfilling a culinary internship with Disney World as a cook at Epcot’s food & wine festival. What better way to bring things full circle than to help and be a part of the Charleston Wine + Food festival and pay a tribute to the foundation, food, recipes and traditions that started her love for food.



All hail the Virgin Islands!Chef Orecia Hughes aka Chef O’Lovely, was born and raised in the perennial summer paradise of St, Thomas, USVI. Her culinary beginnings came from many days as a youth in her late grandmother’s restaurant and many summers in Anguilla, BWI with her aunt and uncles who are very successful culinarians. After moving to Charleston, SC she became an avid admirer of the Gullah/Geechee community and culinary culture as it reminded her of home.



Christina, a native Charlestonian, is a legacy baker and the owner of Bert & T’s Desserts. Her passion for baking is inspired by her late grandmothers, “Bert & T.” Christina specializes in Gullah and southern desserts, in addition to ice cream.



Alexis Mungin, owner of Farrah’s Backyard Catering LLC, comes from a long line of cooks and grill masters. She has perfected her skills in the kitchen for over 20 years. She’s a wife and mother to four beautiful children. Her passion for community and family inspired her menu and passion to serve others comforting and delicious meals. Alexis’ focus is to ensure that you’re able to spend more time with your family and less time in the kitchen.



 Chef V is a self- taught chef and Charleston native that specializes in Gullah cuisine and American soul food. Chef V loved cooking for her family and friends, she was and still is known for her famous “Lowcountry Red Rice” and cooking became her passion. She went to Opened Chanel’s Gullah Cuisine Kitchen and did catering in 2019 and in 2020. During the start of the pandemic she opened a Gullah Cuisine food truck. Her cooking skills come from a background of cooks, one being her Grandmother from one of the sea islands of Charleston, Edisto Island SC. You’re sure to enjoy some fresh local seafood and Low Red Rice at Chanel’s Gullah Cuisine.




Tahiirah Habibi, is an entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of The Hue Society. Tahiirah has long advocated for more Black, brown, and Indigenous representation in the wine industry. She is a globally recognized, award winning sommelier by trade and a creative entrepreneur by heart. Tahiirah honed her expertise at prestigious restaurants, most notably including J&G Grill in the St. Regis Bal Harbour and the legendary Michael’s Genuine. However, it was the lack of diversity in the industry that sparked her to reimagine the wine world by creating an organization where our people would be respected and valued for their contributions. Tahiirah was selected in the Wine Enthusiast’s prestigious 40 under 40 list, also gracing the cover as the first Black woman to do so. She has also won the magazine’s Wine Star Award for Visionary of the Year as well as the honor of Advocate of the year from Vine Pair. The experience only intensified her spirit to continue creating change in the industry and beyond. Tahiirah has been featured in Wine Spectator, BET, The Robb Report, and Vogue to name a few. She sits on the board of the James Beard Awards and will continue pioneering the necessary change for wine culture.



Multi-instrumentalist & songwriter Harlem Farr is a 23 year old South Carolina native. She started playing piano by ear at age 6 and has since undergone a fruitful music journey. In grade school she was known to juggle a lot from her involvement with choir, marching band and chamber orchestra. Within those groups she was encouraged to participate in regional orchestras and SC all state choirs. Her solid foundation in the fine arts inspired her to continue studying music at the College of Charleston. Earning two B.A’s in 2021 (Music Theory/Composition & Spanish), Harlem is now a full time artist participating in a range of musical projects both in Charleston and across the US. She is currently a background vocalist for Charleston-based funk/soul band The Psycodelics. She also releases her own music under the moniker ‘hrlum.’

Listen while you cook

This playlist was curated by the women participating in the event and is a compilation of their favorite songs. We hope it excites + inspires you – whether you are cooking solo, with your favorite family member, or dabbling in the kitchen for the first time.



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635 Rutledge Avenue, Suite 101, Charleston, SC 29403