Raw talent cooks in Charleston

10/23/2013 12:00 AM

10/30/2013 3:37 PM

Some of you may have seen a listing that has been running in the Cooks Calendar over the past couple of months referring to that Cook It Raw event in Charleston this weekend.

I just wanted to take a moment to explain, first of all, what this event is and, second, why South Carolina should be proud.

Cook It Raw is an international group of innovative and influential chefs and food producers who are dedicated to exploring the cuisine unique to a given area, learning the history and exploring and experimenting with the possibilities of food and culture. After about a week of immersion in local history (both cultural and cuisine), the chefs head to the kitchen and present what they have learned during that time on a plate.

The participating chefs may not be the most recognizable (i.e. not on Food Network), but they are known within the food world for their creativity and vision.

There have been five gatherings of Cook It Raw: starting with Copenhagen in 2009; Lapland 2010; Collio, Italy, 2010; Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan, 2011 and Suwlaki, Poland, 2012.

This year, Cook It Raw decided on Charleston as the location. It is the first event in the United States and the first where the public has been invited to attend the final tasting event (if you have a ticket, you’re lucky; it sold out last week).

South Carolina should be proud that Charleston was selected. Not only does this shine a light on what’s been happening to the culinary scene there over the past 20 years, but this Cook It Raw event brings an opportunity to explore this state’s great history of agriculture and cuisine and what’s on the horizon (more farm-to-table collaborations, sustainability projects, etc.).

Chef Sean Brock (of McCrady’s and Husk) heads up the Charleston contingent of chefs that includes Mike Lata (FIG, The Ordinary), Craig Deihl (Cypress), Jeremiah Bacon (The Macintosh), Jacques Larson (Wild Olive), Frank Lee (SNOB), Robert Stehling (Hominy Grill), Chris Stewart (The Glass Onion), Ken Vedrinski (Coda del Pesce) and Michelle Weaver (Charleston Grill).

Among the global participants are chefs Albert Adria (Tickets, Barcelona), Maki Alziparte (Le Chateaubriand, Paris), April Bloomfield (The Spotted Pig, NYC), Eric Werner (Hartwood, Tulum, Mexico), Alexandra Feswick (Samuel J. Moore, Toronto) and Matty Matheson (Parts & Labor, Toronto).

Some of the “non-chef” participants include Glenn Roberts of Anson Mills; David Shields, McClintock Professor of Southern Letters at the University of South Carolina (currently editing “The Material World of Tidewater, the Lowcountry and the Caribbean” for USC Press); Celest Albers, farmer; John T. Edge, director of Southern Foodways; Sallie Anne Robinson, author of “Gullah Home Cooking;” Robert Barber Jr., Bowens Island Restaurant; Rodney Scott, pitmaster, Scott’s Bar-B-Que; and Richard Schultz, owner, Turnbridge Plantation.

The chefs will tour farms from the Sea Islands to the Pee Dee; learn about the history of rice, Gullah traditions, the melting pot of cultures and the impact on Lowcountry cuisine and Lowcountry barbecue.

This event is subtitled “BBQ Perspectives” so you should know that I bought a ticket for the tasting event about a month ago. I am excited to be attending and will be tweeting live on Saturday (@foodsusan).


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