The BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival kicked off last night with a boot-scootin' party at the new Marriott on Calhoun Street. The theme was a Farm Feast and the goal was to raise money via an auction for Mickey Bakst's Feed the Need and Lowcountry Local First's Farm Incubator Program.
Before the night even got started, Bakst said that with all the money he's raised through the festival, he'll be able to give each of the four organizations he works with $10,000 directly. After last night, I expect that number to be a lot bigger. Bakst started Charleston Chefs Feed the Need three years ago, corralling the local food community to serve hot meals once a week. Since 2009, he says they have not missed a Wednesday. He's also rolled out the same program in Detroit and hopes to see it in more cities.
Some highlights from the party:
Bourbon tasting. They even let me try some of the white dog. There's something about food festivals and moonshine. They just go together.
Jimihatt of Guerrilla Cuisine making "the face" after taking a shot of bourbon. Oh, and he finally told me his real name.
Tyler Brown of Capitol Grille in Nashville had a great spread courtesy of Clammer Dave Belanger, who told me that they've known each other since Tyler was a kid, growing up on IOP. Tyler says he's here for the week, hanging out with friends and family.