Several Columbia area chefs will be representing the capital city next month at one of the country’s best wine and food festivals.
The Charleston Wine + Food Festival, set for early March, has grown to one of the top food events in South Carolina – and now, around the nation. Vanity Fair’s S.P. Nix calls it “one of the food world’s freshest events” and John T. Edge of Southern Foodways Alliance declared, “If you want to see a laboratory for what Southern food is becoming, this weekend serves that way. You see chefs from outside coming to learn this place and then take this place back home.”
Nine Columbia chefs will be involved in events throughout the weekend. Some will have a presence at the Gourmet Village that runs Friday, March 3-Sunday, March 5, offering tastings from their restaurants. Others have been invited to take part in special events and dinners. Although tickets have been on sale since January – and most of the signature restaurant dinners are sold out – there are some tickets available to lunches, tastings, and other events.
Chef Mike Davis of Terra in West Columbia is planning to feed close to 700 people at two events. He will be at the Culinary Village Friday and taking part in Pinot NVI Saturday. For his Culinary Village station, Davis will be serving a pork dish featuring Heritage Farm pork shoulder with ancho chile peppers, hominy, blanched cabbage and avocado.
“We had to choose a theme from land, sea, or air, and I chose land,” he said.
For Davis, part of the fun of attending and participating in events like the Charleston festival is the opportunity to mix and mingle and network with other chefs, growers and producers from around the world – as well as getting the word out about his own restaurant.
“We’re a known commodity in the Columbia area,” Davis said. “It’s fun to see the creativity going on (at the festival), to see friends and make new ones. It really helps to keep the creative juices flowing ... to bring some new ideas back to Terra.”
At Pinot NVI, Davis will be part of a group of 20 chefs and vintners pairing food with a grand tasting of pinot wines. For his part, Davis will be presenting Manchester Farms quail with sorrel.
Asked about one or two festival events he would recommend, Davis named the Fowl Mouth dinner hosted by Manchester Farms Quail at Cooper River Brewing Co. (7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 2) and the signature dinner at Le Farfalle (7 p.m. Friday, March 3), featuring guest chef and Top Chef alum Dale Talde preparing a multi-course menu alongside Le Farfalle’s Chef Micheal Toscano, with wines selected by New York Times critic Eric Asimov.
More Columbia talent
David Shields: Carolina distinguished professor in USC’s College of Arts and Sciences and chairman of the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation. A Fuller Bill of Fare will celebrate the legacy of Nat Turner (1822-1866), a former slave who became a classically trained chef and was considered the gourmet caterer in the Lowcountry. Includes tour of Gatewood House, where Turner lived as a house butler. 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Sunday, March 5, at Aiken-Rhett House Museum and William C. Gatewood House, $135.
Ramone Dickerson: Chef/partner of 2 Fat 2 Fly and WingCity, former SC Chef Ambassador. Opening Night: Rooted in Charleston will feature treats from more than 35 local chefs and a menu inspired by the Lowcountry’s distinct foodways (7:30-10 p.m. Wednesday, March 1, at Marion Square, $150). He also will be at the Culinary Village (noon-5 p.m. Saturday, March 4, at Marion Square, $125).
Kristian Niemi: Chef/owner of Bourbon, partner in Farm to Table Event Co. Fresh Future Farm Lunch will offer family style dining on the non-profit urban farm and fresh market in North Charleston. Discussion about the challenges and successes of building a farm and market in the heart of an urban food desert with Fresh Future Farm CEO Germaine Jerkins, and Farm to Table Events Co partners Eric McClam (City Roots Farm) and Vanessa Bialobreski (founder). 11 a.m-1:30 p.m. Saturday, March 4, Fresh Future Farm, $135.
Todd Woods: Executive chef, The Oak Table. Nassau Street Sideshow, with pitmaster John Lewis hosting a carnival for the appetite (9-11 p.m. Friday, March 3, at Lewis Barbecue, $70). He also will be at Culinary Village: Sunday Locals (noon-5 p.m. Sunday, March 5, at Marion Square, $75) and Fresh Future Farm Lunch.
Frank Bradley: Executive chef, Bourbon. Fowl Mouth, Sponsored by Manchester Farms Quail and featuring local craft brews, red wine and Elijah Craig + Larceny Bourbon cocktails (7:30-10 p.m. Thursday, March 2, at Cooper River Brewing, $95). He also will be at What the Pho?, with chefs presenting their takes on Asian noodles and other flavorful bites; craft cocktails, cold beer and wine, DJ Rehab supplies the beats (8-10:30 p.m. Saturday, March 4, at Le Creuset Atelier, $70). He also will be at Fresh Future Farm Lunch.
Also at Fowl Mouth are Charles Strickin, sous chef, The Oak Table; Lou Hutto, LowCo Barbecue and Catering; and Porter Barron, chef/owner, The War Mouth. Hutto will also join Bradley at What the Pho?
Glenn Roberts: Anson Mills. Of Rice + Rum, presented by Mount Gay Rum, will delve into the Barbados culture that landed in Charleston and influenced the Lowcountry for centuries. Learn about the significance of Carolina Gold Rice and sample Mount Gay Rums, the oldest rum on the world. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, March 5, at Middleton Place, $225.
JB’s Pr%f Alcohol Ice Cream: Hooked on Bowens, presented by Don Julio, enjoy an afternoon of seafood, live music, white wines and Don Julio cocktails. 3:30-6 p.m. Thursday, March 2, at Bowens Island Restaurant, $135.
Charleston Wine + Food Festival
What: Annual gathering of food and wine lovers, celebrity chefs, farmers and producers and more for a week of celebrating all aspects of food. Culinary Village at Marion Square is the main sight for cooking demonstrations, food and wine tastings and vendor booths.
When: Wednesday, March 1-Sunday, March 5 at various venues in and around Charleston
Cost: Tickets $110 for Friday, $125 for Saturday, $75 and $125 for Sunday.
Info and tickets: charlestonwineandfood.com
Next up: Hilton Head Wine and Food Festival
What: A festival geared more toward the wine, featuring classes with wine makers, sommeliers and aficionados, and tasting events with over 250 international wines.
When: Thursday, March 9-Saturday, March 11 at various locations on Hilton Head Island
Cost: $49 to $125 for different events. The Grand Tasting, March 10, is the highlight of the weekend.
Info and tickets: hiltonheadwineandfood.com