The queens of Charleston's culinary scene, Les Dames d'Escoffier, gathered at Lowndes Grove Plantation Thursday night to host the second annual Autumn Affair. Grand Dame Nathalie Dupree, the James Beard Award-winning cookbook author and chef who's responsible for bringing the organization to Charleston, held court at a table near the entrance, signing cookbooks with fellow author Nancie McDermott.
Local female tastemakers served up food around the perimeter of the tent and on the patio overlooking the Ashley River. The Glass Onion's Sarah O'Kelley offered creamy shrimp and grits next to Callie's Biscuits (a perfect combo), Celeste Albers had omelettes, and Celia's of Charleston brought addictive boursin cheese and adorably small samples of her lasagna. Twenty-six Divine's Enan and Jennifer Parezo stayed busy preparing duck confit and sausage over sweet potato puree along with a spiced pumpkin and cordillera milk chocolate bread pudding. Lavanya's House added some Indian flavor to the proceedings, and Jestine's Sweet Shop had cheese crackers and pumpkin bars. Although the ladies dominated the event, menfolk like David's Confections (chocolates) and the EVO Bakery guys added a little dose of testosterone.
Of course, wine was a huge focus of the event, with an advertised 100-plus bottles out to try. They were conveniently presented mostly by region; we enjoyed A Tour de France, A Grand Adventure to Austria, and a Taste of Italy. We didn't get a chance to try all 100, but by golly, we tried.
After we all Instagrammed the perfect sunset over the Ashley, we headed inside the plantation house to snoop around and check out the silent auction items. Proceeds went toward local food charities and scholarships for women in the hospitality industry.