Guerrilla Cuisine Dinners
Nov. 4 & 7
An underground supper club forming in Charleston is so underground that the main organizer prefers to give his nickname, a quirky moniker — jimihatt — earned in the kitchens of the Lowcountry where he's been slinging hash for the last 15 years or so. Jimihatt has teamed up with his old cohort Kenny Lowe to bring us "food for the people" with Guerrilla Cuisine.
Lowe was part of the original Ghetto Gourmet in Oakland, Calif., a wandering foodie event that was founded by Jeremy Townsend and his brother Joe. After a stint at the French Laundry and the Culinary Institute Greystone in Napa, Lowe moved to San Francisco and met the Townsend brothers whose unique supper club was already finding a hungry audience.
The Ghet (as it's called) reminded Lowe of the Sushi Sundays he and his old roommate and coworker jimihatt used to throw back in Charleston. "We'd get together at our place with various restaurant orphans on Sunday (our day off) and make sushi," he remembers. "We had folks from the Med Deli, where I worked at the time, Blossom, TBonz, and Poogan's Porch and their friends would come over and pitch in on ingredients and we'd eat well."
The Ghet has spread across the country in various forms, with chefs franchising the idea in cities like New York and Chicago. "[The Ghet] was successful," says Lowe, "but then we just sort of realized that we could not do it all and have the GG reputation on the line for a dinner that was thousands of miles away. That's where Curious Fork comes in."
Curious Fork is a website (www.curiousfork.net), kind of like a Myspace for foodies, that Lowe and jimihatt created to help people connect with others who want new wining and dining experiences. The site will be relaunched in conjunction with Guerrilla Cuisine's first dinners next week.
Back in Charleston, Lowe's old friend jimihatt went to work, looking for someone who shared his interest in offering new experiences for the F&B community. He found that person in Sean Brock, the chef at McCrady's whose kitchen percolates all kinds of new ideas.
"I met jimihatt and he brought it up," says Brock. "We knew the same people. It's been in the works for quite some time. We really wanted to bring something like that to Charleston. I think there's a crowd for it."
With Brock's enthusiastic backing, jimihatt tapped the McCrady's family for the first set of dinners, getting private dining chef Andy Allen and Brock to create menus and plan two memorable, moveable feasts for a bunch of strangers, people who are willing to log onto Paypal, pony up 65 bucks, and wait for a follow-up e-mail to fill them in on the specifics — like where exactly this dinner will be taking place.
Brock will plan the menu for the first dinner on Nov. 4 and prepare it with the help of Allen. Then, they'll switch roles for the Nov. 7 dinner. "We're completely honored to be the people who kick it off," says Brock, who promises the food will be amazing, with menus focused on the local harvest. He's putting together what he calls a super low-tech menu that will feature food they're harvesting from their new kitchen farm on Wadmalaw. "We just planted 23 varieties of vegetables. I'm super pumped up."
The nights should be as much about the food as it is about building a community, says Lowe. "Sharing experiences and making new friends. To me it will be a success if I go there and I am part of helping someone experience something new, something positive, something unique."
To make your reservations, log on to www.guerrillacuisine.com, pay your $65, and go ahead and buy your wine. Make sure it pairs well with root vegetables and autumn flavors. And you might want to start thinking about a good underground nickname too.