Among some of the lesser-known chefs attending are Justin Burdett, an alumnus of Hugh Acheson's Five & Ten in Athens and Miller Union in Atlanta, who now commands Ruta's Kitchen in Highlands, N.C. He's a farm-to-table purist who also forages for mushrooms and herbs. A peek at his Twitter reveals that he'll also be showing off his zymological techniques, using onions that have been fermenting for more than two months in his features dish. Chef and owner Nathan Allen of Knife & Fork restaurant in Spruce Pine, N.C., worked as a private Hollywood chef before trading in Tinseltown for small-town western North Carolina. His passion for locally sourced ingredients will be on display in the nasturium panna cotta he plans to prepare on Wednesday.
Other out-of-state attendees include Vivian Howard of Chef and the Farmer in Kinston, NC, and Asheville chefs Bill Greene of Artisanal, William Dissen of The Market Place, and Matt Dawes of The Bull and Beggar.
Charleston's young stars will also be on hand to give party-goers a taste of the Holy City's culinary future. FIG's Jason Stanhope, Butcher & Bee's Stuart Tracy, and Husk's Travis Grimes will be cooking, while sommelier Brad Ball will be pairing wines.
Tickets are $85 and can be purchased on StarChefs.com. VIP tickets are available for $115 and include a private champagne reception before the 6:30 p.m. awards; walk-around gala tastings will last from 7-9:30 p.m. Proceeds from the event will benefit the local charity Feed The Need, which helps area shelters to provide food to the hungry.
Peer into the collective dining future this Wednesday at Memminger Auditorium as chefs from both Carolinas come together to celebrate the Rising Stars Awards. The honors are handed out by StarChefs.com, a restaurant industry magazine that aims to introduce emerging culinary pros to a larger audience. It promises to be a great chance for Charleston's dining class — those that worship at the temples of Bacon, Brock, and Lata with astonishing regularity — to experience the cooking of young talents from Charleston, Asheville, and beyond.