February 28 - March 4, 2018

Charleston Wine + Food

Tasting Notes

CHSWFF Blog

Chef Profile: Michelle Weaver, Charleston Grill

There is a dish at Charleston Grill that has become local legend. It involves seared foie gras paired with a fried apple hand pie, and it is a signature favorite from the kitchen of Executive Chef Michelle Weaver. When we tell you it's good we are merely skimming the surface of both the dish's rich complexity, as well as the extraordinary flavors found on every plate put forth by this beloved Southern chef. A born n' bred Southerner, Weaver's comfort level infusing international flavors and ingredients into her menu is equal to her ease with a cast iron skillet. Her warm, approachable nature and undeniably strong cooking style has endeared her as one of the region's most respected female chefs. Obviously, we are big fans, so imagine our delight when given the opportunity to chat with this busy culinary force. When did you first realize you wanted to be a chef?      I think my soul always knew. It just took about 25 years for the rest of me to catch up. What has been your proudest moment as the executive chef at Charleston Grill?      Watching young cooks work hard learning their craft and the day comes when the light turns on and it all clicks. You see their confidence and potential blossom. Then they leave the nest and stand on their own feet. Who influenced you to become a chef?      My mom taught me the value of a well seasoned cast iron skillet and garden fresh vegetables. How would you describe your cooking style?      Southern Roots. Global Palate. What would you go back and tell your younger self (just starting your career as a chef)?      Play in your food! Yes! Play in your food!!! What advice you would give to aspiring female chefs?     This is a tough business whether you are a man or woman. Random bite: what do you snack on?      Love fresh bread and cheese. Also nuts: like cashews or peanuts.      But who can resist a potato chip?! Not me. Just for fun: what would your theme song be?      Got To Be Real - Cheryl Lynn      Try not to sing and dance when you hear it! It’s a happy song. Challenge accepted. Get to know Chef Weaver even more here. And, be sure to catch her in action during the 11th Charleston Wine + Food as she leads a force of female culinary talent at North + South + East  + West: Les Tour des Femmes. Weaver will also be serving up her distinct, Southern-inspired flavors at the festival's annual kick-off celebration, Opening Night: Cheers to Charleston!. And, of course, we highly recommend you get on over to Charleston Grill to experience one of Charleston's finest dining experiences, to include, of course, that seared foie gras and fried apple hand pie.
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Chef Profile: Marc Collins, Circa 1886

In this season of thanksgiving, there are so many people we think of with gratitude - people who have helped shape and grow Charleston Wine + Food into the world-class event it is today. There is one individual, though, whose fingerprint can be found on the very foundation of the festival. Chef Marc Collins, Circa 1886, played a significant role in founding Charleston Wine + Food more than eleven years ago. It was Collins who believed that this community, steeped in rich culinary tradition and full of incredible talent, was ripe for an event that would showcase Charleston as a notable culinary destination. Alongside other committed individuals from the culinary and hospitality communities, Collins helped to build the concept into reality, and in 2006, the inaugural Distinctively Charleston Food & Wine Festival was introduced. Several years later, Collins was recognized with a namesake award, and each year since, an outstanding chef in the Charleston community who shows leadership, dedication and innovation in his/her field is honored with the Marc Collins Chef Award. Recently, we caught up with the busy chef for a quick chat, and we must tell you - not only is Collins talented in the kitchen, he's also an incredibly nice guy, with a down-to-earth energy that is both warm and welcoming. Ladies and gents, it's our pleasure to introduce Marc Collins, Circa 1886 Executive Chef: Tell us about Circa 1886.
Circa 1886 is a beautifully restored carriage house set behind the grounds of the Wentworth Mansion, a luxurious 21-room inn. Circa 1886 means “of the year 1886” which happens to be the year the Mansion was finished. We are a small, 50 seat white tablecloth restaurant that specializes in creating dishes rooted in the south but with different parts of the world woven through it, just as Charleston was 200 years ago when it was the largest port city on the east coast, even larger than New York City. 
How would you describe your cooking style?
I am very grounded in French Classical cuisine and you will see that but I have adapted the great cooking styles of the southern U.S. to go right along side of it. I’ll add a dash of the islands and of course Africa plus a bit of creole. My goal is to push you to the culinary edge but not over it.
Who/what are your influences as a chef?
I’m influenced by creativity itself. I am the son of an artist and that seems to have had an impact on me. I get excited writing new menus. To me it’s a lot like walking down a trail and looking for unique things you might not see if you didn't take the time to look. I also love browsing cookbooks and looking at how chefs compose plates and bring flavors together.
You were one of the founders of Charleston Wine + Food. What are your thoughts on how the festival has grown and evolved?
You really can’t help but get a kick out of watching something so small, like an idea, grow into a nationally recognized Wine and Food festival! Each year it gets more amazing. The lineup of chefs, events, winemakers, and the list goes on and on. The Festival has had a great team each and every year that put a lot of thought and creativity into it. That’s no easy task, too. Trying to top what came last year is always a challenge but the team is very engaged in the Food & Beverage community both here and across the U.S., and they try to think outside the box when coming up with events. I truly feel that Charleston has solidified itself as a food town and will continue to play off of that reputation showcasing itself in the years to come. We have so much talent here in all aspects of the dining experience from the farm to the table that I can envision guests from all over coming to see why this city is so special and what it’s history has to do with it.
What would you go back and tell your younger self (just starting your career as a chef)?
Don’t change a thing. Life is truly a journey and in such it is full of so many ups and downs and I have learned from both of them. Besides, I don’t think I would have listened to myself anyway!

We're curious: what do you snack on, Chef?

Good question! I love pita chips and that Carrot Hummus with dried apricots. Chobani yogurt flips are addictive, too, and then there is peanut butter and jelly which reminds me of being a kid. I miss being a kid.
Just for fun: what would your theme song be?
The Best is Yet to Come by Frank Sinatra.
Want more? You can catch Collins in action during Charleston Wine + Food at Opening Night: Cheers to Charleston!, Life of the Party: All Things Entertaining with Tara Guérard, Circa 1886 Signature Dinner, and Bubbles + Truffles Dinner @ Circa 1886. Collins' legacy is strong and we are beyond thankful for the contribution he's made to the festival and Charleston's ever-growing culinary community. Recently, Circa 1886 was named #13 Best Fine Dining Restaurant in the U.S. by TripAdvisor's 2015 Traveler's Choice Awards. We can only imagine what's next for this accomplished chef.
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Reserve your seat: Signature Dinners

Over the years, our Signature Dinners have become a staple Charleston Wine + Food experience. Each unique dinner brings together the perfect pairing of beloved local chef, acclaimed guest chef and prestigious winemaker for one unforgettable menu and evening. And, although quite a few of the over 25 Signature Dinners planned for 2016 have already sold out, we wanted to give you the scoop on tickets remaining. See the quick list below and link through to each event page for the full bite. Be sure to reserve your seat at before they're all gone! Thursday, March 3 Cypress The Grocery Twenty Six Divine Two Boroughs Larder Wild Olive Friday, March 4 Craftsmen Kitchen & Tap House Beer Dinner High Cotton Magnolias Old Village Post House Pole-to-Plate Fish Dinner Poogan's Porch Beer Dinner Saturday, March 5 South Carolina BBQ Tent Revival with Jim 'n Nick's and the Southern Foodways Alliance Lana The Park Cafe Bubbles & Truffles @ Circa 1886
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Let's Get Boozy!

Merry flavor seekers, rejoice! To celebrate the launch of our 2016 Ticket Season, we're throwing a boozy picnic, complete with lawn games, festive cocktails, endless rosè, and plenty of delicious brunch-inspired bites from a dozen local chefs. WHEN: Sunday, September 13, 11:30a.m. - 2:30p.m. WHERE: North Charleston's Navy Yard Quarters H & I, 1096 Navy Way Brunch Bites by Brannon Floire, The Granary Blair Machado, The Park Cafe Robert Stehling, Hominy Grill Heyward Davis, Grand Bohemian Emily Hahn, Warehouse Will Fincher, The Obstinate Daughter Robert Berry, Pancito & Lefty Travis Grimes, Husk Fred Neuville, Fat Hen Amalia Scatena, Cannon Green Remy Funfrock, The Sanctuary Emily Cookson, Edmunds Oast Brunch Cocktails featuring Cîroc and Don Julio by Lane Becker, The Ordinary Ryan Jones, The Grocery Cullen Wyatt, The MacIntosh ...and also... Chateau d'Esclans Rosé Bar Bloody Mary Bar featuring Fat & Juicy + Natural Blonde + Charleston Mix Live music by The Joe Clarke Quartet

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charleston_mag P.S. - Ignore the rules of post-Labor Day fashion and keep your summer-kissed silhouettes all dressed in white just one more weekend. Add a bowtie and/or pearls and you'll be ready to party, boozy picnic style. GET YOUR TICKETS RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW! We'll see you (and all your fabulous, flavor-seeking friends) there.
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We totally get it. The 2018 festival has a lot going on. Let us guide you through the ticketing process, answer any questions, and help point you in the right direction.

Here's how to reach us:

843 727 9998
info@charlestonwineandfood.com
635 Rutledge Avenue, Suite 101, Charleston, SC 29403

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