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March 6 - March 10, 2019

Charleston Wine + Food

Tasting Notes

CHSWFF Blog

Recipe: Squash Ravioli with Coconut Pesto and Pickled Fresno Chiles

Executive chef Shaun Connolly of Joséphine Wine Bar is sharing his recipe for the perfect squash ravioli. As the air gets cooler + the leaves begin to fall, this dish is the definition of cozy comfort for the fall.    
FOR THE COCONUT PESTO
 
Ingredients:
3 Serrano chilis, seeds removed
5 cloves chopped garlic
2 cups honey
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 cup chopped
cilantro
2 cups chopped flat leaf parsley
1/4 tsp cayenne
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 cups toasted pepitas
 
Instructions:
In a food processor, pulse all ingredients until roughly combined. Season with
additional salt and lemon to taste.
 
FOR THE PICKLED FRESNO CHILIS
 
Ingredients:
1 quart white sugar
3 quarts white vinegar
2 quarts crushed ice
15 (fresh) bay leaves or 5 dry
1/4 cup black peppercorns
3 cups sliced Fresno chilis
 
Instructions:
Combine all ingredients except for ice and Fresno chilis. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes.
Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer into ice. Let mixture cool. Pour over sliced
Fresno chilis and let rest.
 
FOR THE RAVIOLI
 
Ingredients:
2 cups roasted and pureed squash or pumpkin seasoned with salt and pepper
1 ¾ cups pressed ricotta (to removed extra moisture)
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Homemade pasta sheets or wonton wrappers
 
Instructions:
For the filling, puree cheeses with squash/pumpkin. Add chopped parsley and olive oil. Season to taste. Add a spoonful of the mixture to your ravioli dough/wonton
sheets and press ravioli closed. Add ravioli to a pot of boiling water, and cook until the ravioli rise to the top of the pot (just a few minutes). Remove from water with a slotted spoon.
 
To serve the dish:
Plate a few ravioli on your dish. Spoon over coconut pesto and top with a few pickled
Fresno chilis. Add a crumble of cheese if
desired, and serve.
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Lowcountry Limelight: Tomas Prado

For Tomas Prado, cooking has always been a family. After successful stints in New York City + Miami, Tomas and his wife Linda have made Charleston the home of their new endeavor, Spanglish Cuban Kitchen. We sat down with Tomas to learn more about what inspires his flavorful dishes and how the Holy City is the perfect place for Cuban cooking.    

How did you get your start in food?

  My mother is an amazing cook and I always watched what she was cooking and helped her in the kitchen. As a young teen, my cousin had restaurants in Miami and I did everything from bussing tables to help in the kitchen, but my first experience in professional kitchens came after the economic crash of 2008. I was working in finance and I decided to take a look into a new career path in culinary arts. I enrolled at Johnson & Wales University in Miami and, as part of my curriculum, I needed to complete an internship where I decided that "if I was going to be the best, I needed to learn from the best,” which led me to work at Cafe Boulud in Palm Beach for Chef Daniel Boulud.  

You cite your mother as one of your biggest inspirations. How do her recipes influence your food?

  At Spanglish, all the dishes we make are dishes that my mother made for me while growing up. My culinary background has only enhanced the dishes as I have learned the importance of using high quality, locally sourced ingredients as much as possible. She taught me the flavors and “soul" that is Cuban food and without her influence, Spanglish would not exist.    

You’ve served up dishes in top restaurants, like NYC’s Westlight and Miami’s Golden Fig. What were some of the biggest lessons you learned working in these kitchens?

 

Westlight and Golden Fig taught me many things. Golden Fig taught me what it was like to have the complete freedom to change my menu seasonally, the ability to use many unique ingredients and meet some incredible farmers who are doing wonderful things in the area of sustainability. Golden Fig allowed me to grow as a chef by allowing me to build an incredible team of cooks and FOH staff that believed in the true “farm-to-table” concept. Golden Fig was “home”. 

 

Westlight was an incredible experience. Westlight pushed and will push you to the limit of service. With almost 800+ covers a night, you are taught to be on top of your game at all times. The food was fun, exciting, and perfect for the over-the-top setting that is the 22nd floor of the William Vale, overlooking beautiful New York City.  The ability to work alongside my chef-mentors, Chef Anthony Ricco, Chef Conor Hanlon and Chef Andrew Carmellini was an honor.

 

After living in Miami and New York, why did you decide to make Charleston your next home?

Charleston has always been on our radar. We knew that Charleston was becoming a culinary destination with sensational kitchens like FIG, Obstinate Daughter and McCrady’s but, honestly, my wife always wanted to live here so it was an easy transition. Charleston has it all; good food, exceptionally warm and loving people, beautiful architecture, great weather— what else could we ask for?    

Where did the idea for Spanglish come from?

 

Prior to our move to Charleston, we had developed our hospitality group where we contracted, coordinated and participated in various pop-up dinners and private events in New York, Miami and Dallas.  One of the concepts we were in the process of developing was Spanglish; an elevated Cuban-American, ingredient-driven fast casual concept in where we took food that we learned from eating at home in Miami by focusing primarily on good ingredients and keeping it as local as possible.   

 

Your dishes feature many local ingredients and highlight the farm-to-table process. Why is it important to you to utilize regional produce?

 

Regional or local ingredients are very important to us for many reasons, but the main reason is quality. If the ingredients are in season, and they are local to your area and they don’t have to travel across the country or the world to get to your plate, you are almost guaranteed to get the optimal flavor possible from that ingredient. Another bonus is that you are supporting farmers and purveyors in your community— and thats a win-win for everyone!

   

Spanglish’s menu is melting pot for Cuban + southern cuisine. Why do you think these different styles of food work together so well?

 

Believe it or not, Cuban food and southern cuisine both share the same west African influences so the flavors and ingredients are very similar and recognizable to both cultures. That makes it very easy to meld both cuisines and ingredients together so easily. A lot of the dishes are very similar just seasoned differently. For example, we have dish that we call “Congri” which is basically a cuban-version of a Hoppin John. At Spanglish we use Anson Mills Carolina Gold Rice and Sea Island Red peas to make our version that is seasoned with a sofrito, cumin and oregano.

 

What’s next for you + Spanglish?

 

Our hospitality group is currently working on various projects which include some private events and pop ups. We will be completing our initial tenure at Workshop later this year and we are actively seeking a permanent brick-and-mortar location in the Charleston area. We do not plan on leaving Charleston any time soon! 

 
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Magnolia's Famous Pimento

On Friday we had the pleasure of chatting with the Executive Chef of Magnolia's, Kelly Franz. You can catch the full video on our Facebook page. Kelly dished on all thing Charleston Wine + Food and taught us how to make Magnolia'a famous pimento cheese recipe. The best part is - its so easy to make! Full recipe below and make sure to catch Kelly at Opening Night, in the Culinary Village and of course, at Magnolia's for lunch or dinner.  

Pimento Cheese 

  • 1 large roasted red pepper, peeled, seeded, and chopped (see below), or 1cup jarred diced red pimientos
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped stuffed Queen olives
  • 2 cups New York or Vermont sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2+ Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.  

Roasted Peppers

Thin peppers will have a shorter roasting time. It’s preferable to use fresh peppers that look very healthy and have good thick flesh.   Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.   Wash, drain, and dry the peppers. Rub the peppers with olive oil, just to coat them lightly. Place the peppers on a baking sheet and roast them in the oven for about 20 minutes, turning once or twice. The skin should be well blistered and blackened in some places.   Remove the peppers from the oven. Place them in a small bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the peppers cool for 10 to 15 minutes. The skin will be become loose and very easy to remove. Peel the skin off of the peppers. Remove the stems, cores, and seeds. Do not rinse.  
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Your Front Row Seat to #CHSWFF 2017

Calling all social media mavens + digital aficionados! This year experience a fresh, new way to see and taste the festival with the #CHSWFFStreetTeam. This fabulous group of social media savvy bloggers + Instagrammers are prepped and ready to bring you the most delicious sights and sounds of the 12th annual Charleston Wine + Food festival. Get to know our street team below, and make sure you’re following along on their accounts and #CHSWFFStreetTeam for the juiciest scenes + sips happening March 1st–5th. Sweet Southern Prep (@sweetsouthernprep) Ashley is a native North Carolinian but her love for Charleston runs deep. You can find her exploring the city with her adorable crew, or enjoying a happy hour treat with friends. Check out her Instagram feed and blog for tasty snapshots of some of her favorite festival finds. Andrea Serrano (@charlestonshopcurator) Andrea Serrano is a fabulous fashionista who passionately celebrates the businesses + artists who make up our effervescent Charleston community. As a lover of the Holy City's foodie scene, Andrea explores everything from the newest hot tickets in town to Charleston's tried-and-true favorites. Follow along with her for breathtakingly gorgeous photography and a glimpse of her busy beautiful life in Charleston. Candice Herriot (@chsfoodwriter) Candice is a lover of all things food. Her career as a hair stylist left her constantly recommending favorite spots to clients, and inspired the creation of her blog. Candice shares her passion for great food with other lowcountry foodies and curates a space to celebrate food – something we can definitely get behind! Check out her digital platforms for the scoop on what Candice enjoys during our five days of flavors + fun! Miguel Buencamino (@holycityhandcraft) Miguel of Holy City Handcraft has a history with food that can be traced back to growing up in the kitchens of his two grandmothers, both who he says were incredible cooks. A self-described amateur mixologist, Miguel writes about lessons learned from the culinary world and shares his cocktail creations with readers. You can follow along on his blog or Instagram feed to see what has inspired his most recent experiment. Sydney Gallimore + Sydney Turnquist (@queenofthefoodage) Sydney + Sydney love to eat food, cook food, critique food, learn about food + tell stories with food! On their blog and Instagram account, they share their spunky personalities through their food journeys. Check them out for a wide range of delicious eats in Charleston. Taneka Reeves + Johnny Caldwell (@cocktailbandits) Taneka + Johnny bring a feminine, urban perspective to the table, discussing all things wine, spirits, cigars + the good life with their followers. They offer sips, tastes + tips for Charleston and beyond. Be sure to follow their adventures through their blog or Instagram account! Liz Martin (@charlestonweekender) Come rain or shine, Liz Martin shares her fun lifestyle through her blog, Instagram account + online shop where you can find tips on where to discover hidden coffee shops, how to host a bright brunch, and even how to make grocery shopping FUN! She offers a contagious happiness through her writing + photos , giving every day the footloose and fancy-free feel of the weekend. Christian Senger (@holycitysinner) People of the Holy City LOVE Holy City Sinner, Christian, and his balance of the hospitality-oriented side of Charleston with the “hedonistic” side of Charleston. Christian discusses everything from brunch spots to tattoo parlors with fascinating stories to share. You can find all kinds of local features, hotspots, and events on his blog, Twitter account + other social media platforms. Be sure to hit up the social media platforms of the #CHSWFFStreetTeam members for a front row seat to this year’s festival. Cheers!
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Local Love: A Treasure Chest of Produce

From dishwasher to executive chef to lead buyer at a local produce staple, Weston Fennell is the epitome of a culinary success story. Weston is the lead buyer at Limehouse Produce, a local treasure chest of produce that shares love with the Charleston community one fruit and veggie at a time. As a primary produce supplier to local restaurants, Limehouse has been a leader in the Charleston industry for over 70 years. But for Limehouse, it is more than just produce, it is about providing the Holy City with quality farmed ingredients year-round. In fact, many of Charleston’s culinary hot spots pride themselves on using the fresh, locally sourced products provided by Limehouse Produce. When Weston isn’t delivering baskets and bushels of yummy produce to Charleston’s busiest kitchens, you might catch him sipping on a Holy City Brew or visiting his old co-workers at FIG downtown. In fact, before Limehouse, Weston spent six years preparing delightful dishes on the kitchen line as the sous chef at FIG. Now, as the lead buyer at Limehouse, Weston makes sure that chefs like himself are working with the best ingredients to create the signature dishes that make the lowcountry the “Culinary Capital of the South”. Limehouse Produce has partnered with Charleston Wine + Food for years now in providing our chefs with unique and fresh ingredients to feature during the festival. They ensure the chefs have the highest quality products that are exactly what they need, when they need it. Limehouse also provides the festival aprons that take the splashes, spills and splatters from the culinary genius that happens during the festival. Limehouse Produce pours more than just produce into the Charleston community; they are stewards of the land that provides the bounty we enjoy. "We also have a responsibility to the land and the community that supports us. That’s why we make sure the product we buy is put to good use, even if it is not sold,” shares the Limehouse website.  “We make regular contributions to local charities and are one of Food Waste Disposal’s biggest contributors of organic matter to be converted into compost. And everything from wooden pallets to plastic corner boards and cardboard boxes are repurposed or recycled for future use." We thank our partners, like Limehouse, for serving alongside us to #PourIntoCharleston and create a fresh + flavorful economic impact on our city. *This blog post was written by our 2016-2017 Charleston Wine + Food CofC Fellows. Charleston Wine + Food has partnered with the College of Charleston to offer a communications senior capstone class the opportunity to work with the festival. 
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10 Can't Miss Events Under $100

It’s crunch time people! With the festival less than almost a week away, those looking to purchase last minute tickets to the best events can look no further. Check out our favorite events under $100 here: Fowl Mouth - $95 This’ll be the best #partyfowl you’ve ever seen. Check us out at Cooper River Brewing Co. for all things winged fowl. Accompany your smoky snacks with fresh beer, wine, and deep bourbon cocktails at this low-key hangout that’s sure to kick off your weekend the right way! Dynamic Drinking: Making Sinsky Of It All - $95 For one of the best deals of the festival, make your friends jealous with this once in a lifetime chance to hear what Master Sommeliers and elite vineyard owners have to say about some of the best wine in the world. Sustainable and environmentally friendly wines are the focus of this panel, so sit back and get ready to have your tastebuds tannon-talized! Commodores + Admirals - $75 Think delicious party at Charleston’s hottest new late night hangout, The Commodore. Yummy snacks and craft cocktails to be provided by Roti Rolls accompanied by special guests from The Lot on James Island and Eric Warnstedt of the Hen of the Wood (Burlington, VT). Come dance the night away with us at CHSWFF’s hottest new event of 2017! The Ice Age of Mixology - $75 Ever wondered what it takes to make a good cocktail? Fresh mixers, elite liquor, and ICE, of course! Come to Proof with mixologist Charlotte Voisey to learn how ice can make or break a great drink. What The Pho? - $70 Oodles of East-Asian inspired noodles and high energy music by DJ Rehab, this event held at the Le Creuset Atelier is sure to go down in the history books. Imagine a dozen of your favorite local and guest chefs partyin’ all night long- chopsticks provided. The Business of Food - $70 With guests speaker stars like Chef Danny Meyer, Nancy Silverton, Ruth Reichl, Darcy Shankland, and Steve Palmer, those looking to get the inside scoop on the restaurant business look no further. Those already in the local food + bev business, enter code INDY17 and receive a $25 ticket! Namaste Bubbly - $65 Join us in the Cedar Room at the Cigar Factory for an exclusive yoga class taught by local favorite Cortney Ostrosky followed by Sunday champs and healthy fare. Round up your friends and let’s get fizzical! Pedals + Pints - $65 Bring your own bike or rent one from Trek Mt. Pleasant for a stylish, leisurely ride through downtown Charleston with your favorite brewmasters. Reward yourself after with local food truck bites and drafts; this event is sure to be snatched up by beer and bicycle lovers everywhere, so don’t wait! Iron Mixologist - $65 This live action, Iron Chef America-style cocktail combat is back and supported by Imbibe to bring guests the ultimate exhilarating experience. Enjoy exclusive cocktails crafted by local mixologists at Bar Mash and watch the competition unfold! Pecha Kucha + Wine + Food - $40 Join an all-star lineup of local chefs and restaurateurs MC’ed by Tradesman Brewing Company’s Chris Winn to be inspired by food + bev chatter and snacks + drinks. Get your tickets now for this 3rd time event that’s sure to be the opposite of boring. Didn't find the event curated perfectly for you + your crew? No fear! Find a complete list of all of our events with a simple click!
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Of Rice + Rum: A Middleton Tradition

The last day of the festival is typically reserved for the events we’re most proud of- annual traditions and historical dinners grace our Sundays full of pride and love for the Lowcountry.  For our twelfth year, we’ll be at the illustrious Middleton Place for “Of Rice + Rum” to learn from their specialists and a few of our own (Glenn Roberts of Anson Mills) about the centuries-old story of rice in South Carolina.  Presented by Mount Gay Rum, those dishes with a backstory will be highlighted by the oldest rum in the world from the island of Barbados.  Join us for an event you won’t soon forget! Keep scrolling to learn about our favorite grain’s origins at Middleton Place and what makes this ingredient so special.  Much of what follows is excerpted from the book, Beyond the Fields – Slavery at Middleton Place: Jamal Hall, a historic interpreter at Middleton Place, demonstrates the process by which grains of rice were prepared for market. Rice was placed in a mortar and “beaten” or pounded with the square end of a pestle to remove the husk from the grain. Fanner baskets to separate the rice from the bran were the final step before the grain was packed into barrels, made by skilled slave coopers, for shipment to English ports. At Middleton Place, the interpretation of rice cultivation has evolved from the display of somewhat romantic images by Alice Ravenel Huger Smith on display in the Mill to a demonstration rice field planted annually with a small crop of the famous Carolina Gold grain. Rice cultivation, although introduced in the 1690s, did not provide a significant cash crop for planters until the 1700s. As the rice industry grew, so too did the need for more laborers to work the rice fields, especially workers experienced in cultivating the grain. That meant the importation of increasing numbers of slaves from the western coast of Africa, an area stretching from what is now Senegal to Sierra Leone and Liberia. In this region the inhabitants had been growing and consuming rice for centuries. On Africa’s Atlantic Rice Coast, rice, along with seafood, was the major source of nourishment. In their clay cooking pots, coastal Africans cooked rice in various ways. One very special dish combined rice, spices, seafood or sometimes meat. These gumbos or pilafs (also spelled pillau or perloo), as we now know them, were introduced into this country by slaves and became staple dishes on southern tables. If you’re craving more, don’t wait any longer- purchase your pass to Middleton Place now! http://cwf.obviouslee.com/events/of-rice-rum/ Programing at Middleton Place includes a number of annual events specific to rice culture. On April 22nd and 23rd (subject to weather conditions), visitors will may join a costumed historic interpreter in planting Carolina Gold Rice – the crop that defined the Low Country. Presentations will also be given on the cultivation, processing and cultural impact of rice in South Carolina during the 18th and 19th centuries. Several months later in August or September, depending upon the weather and growing season, the rice field will be harvested and hands-on activities such as threshing, pounding and fanning the rice will be demonstrated. For more information, visit www.middletonplace.org  
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#PourIntoCharleston

Throughout its 12 delicious years, Charleston Wine + Food has been focused on consistently giving back to the community whose roots lie in exquisite southern cuisine. Year after year, we are honored to pour into the Charleston community + give back to this place that we call home.  Charleston Wine + Food enriches the lowcountry culinary and hospitality industry by honoring local foodways, and sharing Charleston’s unique story with the world. In 2005, a group of local culinary enthusiasts came together around an idea -  to create an experience that would celebrate + showcase the area’s rich flavor through the lens of award-winning chefs, beverage professionals, and artisans. Every year since, Charleston Wine + Food strives to be a good steward of our city and its foodways by creating an annual economic injection that fuels Charleston’s vibrancy and growth. The 2016 Charleston Wine + Food festival had a $9.1 million impact on the Charleston economy, which means that eighty-eight cents of every dollar we spend producing Charleston Wine + Food has a direct measurable impact on our city. Year after year, the economic impact of Charleston Wine + Food is more than triple the organization’s annual budget. To celebrate the 12th year of Charleston Wine + Food, we will focus on the many ways that the festival contributes to our local economy through our #PourIntoCharleston campaign. Every ticket purchased pours into programs that support and pay tribute to our local growers and producers, scholarships committed to education in hospitality and tourism, and eco-friendly initiatives centered on reducing food waste. Throughout the festival season, we will highlight these efforts through a blog series, social media campaign, and installment in the Culinary Village. Please join us as we #PourIntoCharleston. *This blog post was written by our 2016-2017 Charleston Wine + Food CofC Fellows. Charleston Wine + Food has partnered with the College of Charleston to offer a communications senior capstone class the opportunity to work with the festival. 
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The Culinary Village: What To Expect

The Culinary Village is the epicenter of Charleston Wine + Food.  Three days of nonstop cooking demonstrations, tastings, special guests, and local artists are sure to be among the highlights of your culinary experience. Here you’ll make those festival memories you won’t soon forget.   All-day access to the Village is available with just one ticket, and if you’re from Charleston, you can purchase a ticket to Sunday’s village for just $75!  Talk about local love. Returning favorites are sure to please: the Artisan Market, Rosé Garden + Grilling presented by Chateau d'Esclans, Biergarten presented by Bay Street Biergarten, and The Hub are all the buzz for festival veterans.   But wait, there’s more! Be sure to check out what’s BRAND NEW in the Culinary Village this year: Top Chef Quickfire Challenge:  Top Chef fans will be treated to the ultimate performance and epic chef throwdown on Friday at 1pm!  With Bravo Top Chef’s own Gail Simmons moderating the Quick Fire Challenge, you’ll want to grab a seat in the front row. The Corkyard: Our new all wine, all the time, Corkyard will be open for those vino devotees eager to taste creations by over 20 wineries from around the world. Wine not spend all day here?  You’ll be able to chat with fellow wine lovers and drink your way to red, white, and rosé heaven.  Oh! And don't forget to check out the Wine Retail Shop presented by Bottles to take home some of your new favorites along with wine-o accessories for sommeliers + newbies alike! Snack Shacks: Four new spots for a tasty twist on some of our Lowcountry favorites.  “Duck, Duck Goose” will feature exclusively duck and foie gras dishes. “Grit Happens” will highlight our beloved Southern chefs firing up what they know best.  Strictly sliders are on the menu at “Nice Buns”, and lastly “Beer-Battered + Fried” will appear in the Biergarten for everyone’s inner greasy glutton. The interactive environment between chef and attendee make for an intimate Village experience. Teepee Talks: Heritage Radio Network’s new, expanded Teepee Talks are returning for an extra large second helping in the Village this year.  We’ve added a second teepee for more chatter and even more fun that everyone can take part in. Grab a drink, put on your conversation cap, and join the party! Can’t wait til March? Salivate on this for now: [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_OwSc8cNE0[/embed]  
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THE FACES BEHIND THE CAMPAIGN

Candice Herriott (a.k.a CHS Food Writer) I’ve been counting down the days til opening night of Charleston Wine + Food Festival 2017 since last year’s festival ended! It’s a special event that welcomes many talented, famous and interesting chefs, wine specialists and food lovers from all over the country to our lovely city. The list of things that make the festival such an amazing experience is a mile long (plus some!). But there is one particular aspect to the festival that needs some extra spot light. It’s the core of the festival, the thing that breathes life into the event. It brings everyone here and is the reason for the festival being such a success every year -- the TALENT of all our local Chefs, Sommeliers, Mixologists and Farmers! They are absolutely stunning! We all love them and we know them by name and reputation, but this is a special time of year when we are able to watch them all in their elements, embracing their passion and craft which is something truly special! I love behind the scenes features, whether it’s a documentary, book or article. For me, that’s where all the juice, life and flavor are hiding! All that being said, I am really excited to share with you a sneak peek into our local talent and the people who are serving as this year’s inspiration and subjects for the #CHSWFF ad campaign. These six industry professionals are each doing really interesting things in their particular craft and have an interesting story to share. Each is uniquely different, but all share one common thread: they are setting this city on fire and elevating the F&B standard in Charleston to new heights! I’m excited to feature them in this article, alongside a more in-depth article of each of our six individuals in “The Faces Behind the Campaign” on my website: chsfoodwriter.com featured during the next few months. The original theme for the CHSWFF photoshoot was: Just The Right Amount of Wrong. Instead of the perfectly styled plate, this year’s approach aimed to feature and highlight: THE PROCESS. Inspired by what really happens in the kitchen on any given day; sauce splatters, flying flour, taste testing, wine spills and so much more! The real culinary process of creating remarkable food and a fantastic dining experiences is one that is imperfect behind the scenes and birthed in a place of organized chaos where tensions are high and expectations even higher. But then comes the point that the food is perfectly plated, presented and served. As foodies, food lovers and connoisseurs, our curiosity is drawn to not only the final product but also the entire experience as a whole, messy and beautiful. Imperfect and yet perfect, all at once. Once the six F&B professionals arrived for our photoshoot, the extremely talented photographer, Andrew Cebulka, took the theme and paired it with his spectacular photographic perspective, taking this fun idea to the next level. We are in love with what he captured and think it adds an entirely new dimension! A picture is worth 1,000 words. Let’s jump into our behind the scenes look and find out a few of the things that make each of our six faces tick and add that extra edge to what they create and do. Be sure to look at the festival schedule and try to catch them during the five action-packed days of events and watch them in action! We hope that you are as excited as we are for what promises to be another fantastic year of great food, drinks, fun and great experiences. CHEERS! JACOB HUDER, Chef de Cuisine at: The Macintosh Five words that describe you: passionate / motivated / caring / imperfect / leader Who or what has impacted you the most while you were growing in your trade? Working at (the former) Carolinas restaurant. When I walked in those doors and first applied to work in the kitchen, I didn’t have any experience. I had worked every position in a restaurant previously but never in the kitchen. They took a chance on me. I worked hard and watched and learned from everyone in there and it was full of some amazing talent. It was hugely impactful on me and my entire career. What inspires you about living in Charleston? It’s amazing to be able to call the farmers directly and work closely with them. We are lucky in this city because we are able to really produce a local, seasonal menu throughout the entire year. It’s a close community. What do you love most about your job? Being creative and figuring out what to do with all the ingredients. Pushing ourselves to try to new things and never stopping. For someone new to attending the festival, how would you describe it and where should they start? It’s chaotic. Exciting. Stimulating. It’s a lot of fun from the day it starts until the night it stops. FEMI OYEDIRAN, Sommelier at: Charleston Grill How did you get started? I was 20 years old when I moved to Charleston. I needed a job and applied at Charleston Grill (I figured I wouldn't get hired, but I was going to try anyways). I was surprised when they took me on. I began as a server’s assistant and slowly worked my way up. I fell in love with learning about wine and it progressively grew from there. People not only reference you and your wine recommendations, but they also love you and what you do! What is it that you think sets you apart and gives you that ‘extra edge’?  I love music. I’m a DJ. Making recommendations about wine is like being DJ. You listen to what someone wants, listen to what they say they like, listen to who they are and then you play what they've asked for. Some people are top 40 hits listeners and some people want something originally mixed. It’s the same with wine. It’s not about price, it’s about flavor and preferences. I just listen...and play. What is your recommendation for someone that wants to learn about wine, but is intimidated and doesn’t know where to start? Just jump in. Find a great local wine shop and buy some stuff and try it, discovering what you like and don’t like by sampling it. What do you personally love about the festival the most? That it brings some seriously great talent to Charleston. It’s a great time for people to come out and meet some really knowledgeable people from all over the country. VINSON PETRILLO, Executive Chef at: Zero Restaurant + Bar What is it about your food that sets it apart? I’m a BIG kid and it’s where my food comes from. I look at an apple and don’t just see an apple; I look at an apple and try to figure out how to make it fly! At the restaurant, we provide an experience to our guests to sit down and ask them to trust in us and know that we are going to give 100% in every dish. Three things you aspire to do in life: Be a good Dad / be a better husband / finish my cook book What do you love most about your job? The process. Learning the skills, gathering the tools and equipment, and then getting to put it all together and make something exciting. What’s one of the hardest lessons you’ve had to overcome in your industry? For a long time, I wanted to be a chef. I did it the right way; I worked under people who were really hard on me, pushed me and then pushed me harder. I didn’t stop or give up. There were moments that it almost broke me. I realized if I was going to ever be good then this was the road. A lot of sacrifice, hard work and really appreciating my family and friends for supporting me. JESSICA GROSSMAN, Pastry Chef at: Patrick Properties  How would you describe yourself in a few words: loyal / thorough / researcher (I do A LOT of homework) / realist / dog lover / sugar fiend (I eat sugar every day; I love it!) How did you get started? I began with an Easy Bake Oven and worked my way up to using my mom’s oven. I was always the one bringing the cake to the party. It led me to attending culinary school later on in life and ultimately led me to my dream job that I’m doing now. I’ve now found my “inner southerner.” What do you love most about your job? Being a pastry chef makes you pretty popular with most people! What I do now is literally: the icing on one of the most important days of people’s lives. How would you describe what makes the CHSWFF so great? It’s a feast for the eyes, mind and belly! For someone attending the CHSWFF for the first time, where should they begin? THE CULINARY VILLAGE, for sure! It’s the best. MEGAN DESCHAINE, Bar Manager at: 492 Five words that describe you: silly / generous / ambitious / creative / hospitable What inspires you in you work? For cocktails, I often find inspiration from singular ingredients. Or puns. I love a good pun. What has been a pivotal moment in your career and how did it effect you? A few years ago when I moved back to Charleston, I entered a cocktail for the CHSWFF Cocktail Competition. Making it into the finals also afforded me a slot in the Iron Mixology event. I count this experience as one of the most influential to my career so far. I don’t want to gush too much about these moments---but they truly changed my life! What do you love most about your job? I love people and my job provides me many opportunities to meet new people and make new friends! What do you love most about the CHSWFF? I love the high, positive energy that befalls the city each year during the festival. It’s really contagious! JUSTIN PFAU, Executive Chef at: Harold’s Cabin What do you love most about cooking? It’s a whole culture that most people don’t know exists. Behind the kitchen doors, it’s an entirely different world. What inspires you about living and working in Charleston? I grew up in a place that looks completely different than this. I sit here now and look out the window and see palm trees. I drive to work and cross these beautiful rivers. It’s completely different and really inspiring. Three things you aspire to do/be? I want to own a business with my wife, be a father, and start a cool band... ASAP! What are you most excited about for this year’s CHSWFF? I’m excited to work with a friend of mine from Chicago who is coming to town for the festival and we are doing a dinner together. I’m also really excited to meet some the guest chefs who will be in town!
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