Last night, the ninth annual Charleston Wine and Food Festival got underway with its Salute to Charleston's Chefs: Opening Night Party. Returning to Marion Square, the event featured some of Charleston's best chefs cooking small plates for a tent filled to capacity with revelers.
Chef Marc Collins stood behind the Circa 1886 stand to explain his pimento cheese panna cotta with buttered brioche to partygoers, while Chef Craig Deihl served roasted goat gyros. Chef Sean Brock offered a scallop dish with a broth of kaffir lime and seaweed and scribbled an edict on his signage reminding patrons "Don't forget to drink the broth!" The charred octopus salad from Charleston Grill was our favorite dish of the night, gladly handed out by none other than Micky Bakst.
Many of the dishes required the use of wooden disposable forks, but a few dishes did not yield to such equipment. The king cakes at the Magnolia's stand and the heritage pork pancetta at Husk were two examples. Chef Graham Daily of Peninsula Grille had the foresight to serve his yellowfin tuna on a cracker, no measly wooden fork required.
Wines were poured from a variety of regions, including Willamette Valley, Napa, and Sonoma, but we kept finding ourselves at the Virginia Wine Board's bar.
The evening did include some impromptu fireworks when a piece of cooking equipment emitted a large flame at the Grocery stand, but thankfully no one was hurt and the fire was quickly contained.