Gwen Fowler



Get your tickets now for Charleston Wine + Food events

Posted 2/26/2011 8:06:00 PM

The Charleston Wine and Food Festival begins Thursday, and tickets still are available for many events.

Many restaurant dine-arounds were added this year, said Erika McMillan, media/marketing manager for the festival, and tickets still exist for several. Usually they are gone this close to the festival.

The dine-arounds, being held at 6:30 p.m. Friday at 20 restaurants, offer a five-course tasting menu prepared by a Charleston chef and a guest chef. A wine expert on each team offers a wine for each course.

Only days before the opening of the festival, tickets were still available for the dine-around at Hominy Grill, where Chef Robert Stehling, 2008 James Beard Award winner for Best Chef of the Southeast, will be teamed with Tandy Wilson of City House in Nashville, Tenn.

The dine-around at Trattoria Lucca, with Chef Ken Vedrinski, recently named a semi-finalist for Best Chef Southeast for 2011, also was still available. Guest chef is Missy Robbins of A Voce.

Other restaurants where dine-arounds were still available late were Fish, with Chef Nico Romo and Guest Chef Jerome Ferrer of Restaurant EUROPEALana Restaurant and Bar with Chef John Ondo and Guest Chef Joe Truex of Watershed in Atlanta; Tristan, with Chef Nate Whiting and Guest Chef Tarver King of the Ashby Inn and Restaurant; and the Culinary Institute of Charleston, with Chef Kevin Mitchell and Guest Chef Duane Nutter of One Flew South.

A Guerrilla Cuisine dine-around also was available and will feature Charleston Chefs Kevin Johnson of Revolutionary Eating Ventures and jimihatt of Guerrilla Cuisine and Guest Chef Michael Schwartz of Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink of Miami. The location, in the tradition of underground dining group Guerilla Cuisine, is secret.

One of the early festival events is the locavore luncheon at High Cotton, where Chefs Frank Lee and Ramon Taimanglo will prepare a three-course meal of ingredients produced within 100 miles of Charleston. Some of the farmers and purveyors will be at the luncheon, McMillan said, along with wine expert Ernst Loosen of Dr. Loosen wine estate in Germany.

“Something that is so cool and it is a new event, is our Big Bottles Tasting and Auction,” McMillan said. From noon to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, the tasting features Andrea Immer Robinson, master sommelier and the first female named Best U.S. Sommelier by the Sommelier Society of America

This is an event for wine aficionados, McMillan said, and will offer tastings of premium wines. Participants also will receive a complimentary wine glass developed by Robinson called The One.

Tickets also are still available for the 6 Top Chefs Challenge, where six season winners of Bravo’s “Top Chef” will compete. The challenge will be from noon to 2 p.m. Friday.

McMillan pointed out that while the event features guest chefs, “we always want to make it about our local cuisine.” So each chef will be trying to create the best dish featuring Giddy Goat Cheese, which is handmade by Farrah Hoffmire of Organic Process Productions in Charleston with milk from Split Creek Farm in Anderson. Those holding tickets by Dec. 15 got to vote on what the local ingredient would be.

The Culinary Village and Grand Tasting Tents will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Expect to find almost 100 food, wine and spirit stations, with vendors serving samples. Tickets for Sunday’s event are discounted for locals.

One of the festival’s most popular events has sold out. The Salute to Charleston Chefs: Opening Night Party is the festival’s signature event and has been popular all five years of the festival, McMillan said. Twenty-eight local chefs, including four pastry chefs, will be serving samples of their cuisine. The party is a great way to get a taste from some of the hottest restaurants in town, McMillan said.

The festival starts Thursday, with a top sommelier competition at 11 a.m., and ends Sunday with BBQ, Blues and Brew from 5-8 p.m. Sunday.