Show-and-tell speaker forum Pecha Kucha is back and has published its culinary-themed Fri. March 6 Charleston Wine + Food Festival event lineup. And, we gotta say, we’re a little miffed. Nine speakers have been announced and, shockingly, our name isn’t on the list. Are you kidding? Have you heard our 6 minute and 40 second speech on why a benne wafer cereal (patent pending) is the next cronut? Because if you had, surely you'd have picked us.
Picture this: The Pecha Kucha PowerPoint screen pans in on a clay bowl on top of a salvaged wood table. A bag appears, but it’s not your typical plastic cereal bag. No, it’s a handmade burlap sack brimming with nickel-size bennes. "What is this stunning idea?" you think. Then, Eureka! A hand tips the golden discs into the bowl and you realize, "My God, it's a new cereal!" A mason jar of unpasturized milk gently cascades onto the sweet sesame delight and in the background the voice of Mr. Elton John calls out "Be Be Be Benne and the Llet (which is the word for milk in Andorra)." At which point, we take the stage, launch the breakfast revolution, and drop the mic.
It's a no brainer.
But no, Pecha Kucha, you passed. Instead, you went with these incredibly successful food luminaries:
Charleston Wine + Food Festival
Nine food-focused speakers will take the stage for Pecha Kucha's Charleston Wine + Food Festival event
1. Brandon Plyler
Charleston Beer Exchange manager, certified cicerone, contributor to City Paper, and all around beer God.
We're not exaggerating here with that last moniker. We were in CBX the other day and Mr. Plyler was just a pleasure doing business with. For his Pecha Kucha talk, Plyler will cover the big hurdles facing beer education and women's role in beer. When we heard that, we were all, "Hold up P, women's role?" And Plyler was like, "I can't stand the phrase girly beer." See what we're saying? This guy is a mensch.
2. Gillian Zettler
Executive Director of the whole freaking Charleston Wine + Food Festival
We recently interviewed Zettler and were stunned to discover we're exactly the same age. Which means we get up and think, "Hmm, what smoothie shop closure shall we write about today?" while our peer, Mrs. Zettler, wakes up and is like "Get Gabrielle Hamilton on the horn! I need her March 6-8. I said now!" So yea, file Zettler under badass.
3. Amy Robinette
Cake Farmer CSA
If you read our latest issue DIRT, then you already know all about Robinette. She makes magically delicious pies and sells them in monthly installments. Oh yea, and her Salty Pluff Mud Pie was covered by Julia Moskin in the New York Times for the paper's widely discussed "United States of Thanksgiving" feature. No biggie or anything.
4. David Thompson
In terms of his impact on this city, the phrase architect doesn't really cut it. Thompson has worked on 117 projects and over half have been restaurants. If you've dined out in this city, you've likely eaten in a Thompson design. Which is sorta like having dinner inside David Thompson's brain. Just think on that.
5. Thibaut Fagonde
Our September DIRT cover boy, Thibaut Fagonde spent over two years hanging out with chefs, farmers, and purveyors to try to answer: "Is sustainability sustainable?" for his film Overalls & Aprons. Now complete, the filmmaker has spent the fall entering the documentary in various film fests. So we're guessing he'll have an update on the finished product to share during his PK speech.
6. Rustin Gooden
Bulls Bay Saltworks
Did you know salt is the only rock you can eat? You will after Rustin Gooden gets finished. This super-bright former park ranger and his lovely wife Teresa make salt, but not just any salt — they make light, airy sands as delicate as snowflakes. And because their salt and their story is so cool, the couple also got a photo spread in New York Times magazine this fall. Yea, NYT called us too about our benne idea, but we were busy that day.
7. Michael Shemtov
Butcher & Bee, The Daily
Now you may know him as the brains behind Butcher & Bee and The Daily, but long before opening those wildly successful businesses, Michael Shemtov, along with Johnny Hudgins and Joshua Broome, opened Mellow Mushroom on King Street in 2000. Now, just to prove how ahead of his time he was, we found this little youtube clip where a young Shemtov explains how to succeed in business. Step one: rock a super cool haircut and lots of chest hair.
8. Frank Lee
Executive Chef Slightly North of Broad
You know a veteran chef has a different approach to the kitchen when he says he's in the business of "developing human beings." That's just how Slightly North of Broad's Frank Lee sees it, and that's part of what his Pecha Kucha talk will discuss. That and how he got to where he is. "I wasn’t raised on my grandmother’s farm in the South of France where I grew my passion for fava beans or something," he says. Yep, prepare for some real talk.
9. Martha Zierden
Curator of Historical Archaeology at The Charleston Museum since 1985
If we had known about Martha Zierden while in college at CofC, we would have changed majors. The archeologist is doing some of the most fascinating research in the Holy City. Zierden digs all over looking for clues about Charlestonians' diets — namely that our ancestors ate "a whole host of species." Not just pork, people. Think turtle, geese, and raccoon.
And your host for the evening is ... Mr. Brooks Reitz. Given how he killed it at Pecha Kucha 14, we expect nothing short of high kicks and fireworks from the owner of Jack Rudy Cocktail Co., Leon's Poultry and Oysters, and St. Alban. For a refresher, watch below.
Charleston Wine + Food Festival's Pecha Kucha is Fri March 6 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $40 and include food and drinks and go on sale Tues. Feb. 10 at 10 p.m. at charlestonwineandfood.com. Following Pecha Kucha tradition, the location of the event won't be announced until Wed. March 4.