Gwen Fowler



Ceremony kicks off 8th annual Wine and Food Festival

Posted 3/1/2013 6:18:00 PM

The 8th annual Charleston Wine and Food Festival officially started Friday morning, with awards going to cookbook authors and chefs for their contribution to creating the city’s strong culinary scene.

Brothers Matt and Ted Lee received the Laura Hewett Culinary Award. The brothers just published their latest cookbook, “The Lee Bros. Charleston Cookbook.” Hewett, a founding member of the festival, said the award was to recognize the Lees’ work as ambassadors for the city and bringing national publicity to the city.


Ted Lee said it is ironic that they received the award for the impact they’ve had on Charleston.

“Truly, it’s the reverse,” he said. “Charleston had the impact on us. We began in food because of Charleston.”

Ted Lee said he was 9 and his brother 11 when they came to Charleston.

“We didn’t know a boiled peanut from anything,” he said, and Mayor Joseph Riley introduced them to boiled peanuts at a baseball game. They later started a mail-order boiled peanut business when they were in college in New York.

Chef Mike Lata of FIG and The Ordinary also was recognized for his work in the restaurant industry in Charleston and for bringing attention to eating local.

Also, Frank Stitt of Birmingham was honored for his involvement in the Charleston Food and Wine Festival each year since it began. He owns Highlands Bar and Grill, Bottega Restaurant and Chez Fon Fon.

The festival, which runs through Sunday, brings in well-known chefs from across the nation and recognizes Charleston’s own chefs. Not only does it have a positive financial impact on the city by bringing in tourists from others areas, but it also raises money for charity. Even though the official opening ceremony was Friday, an Opening Night Party and several other events were held on Thursday.