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To belong to the pantheon of noted Charleston chefs is, among other things, to be identified with talent both in and out of the kitchen. While the superlative skills attributed to our coterie of local chefs secure Charleston's plum position among the crème de la crème of North American dining destinations, it's their goodwill and collective civic-minded attitude that strengthens the community at large. From farm-to-table initiatives, sustainable seafood alliances, and unflappable support of charity benefits, the chefs are the underpinning of our robust social scene (After all, eating out in Charleston is one of our finest forms of entertainment).
With his penchant for lush cuisine and passion for feeding children in need, Chef Robert Carter (Peninsula Grill) carried the toque-wielding torch for the eleventh consecutive Chefs' Feast, a collaborative event that dishes up a dazzling array of small plates while raising funds for the Lowcountry Food Bank. Proceed from the event help underwrite Kids Cafe, an innovative after-school program that provides hot, nutritious meals and academic assistance, and BackPack Buddies, a program designed to address the issue of weekend hunger. The two programs jointly feed close to 3,000 young people weekly.
The sound of more than two dozen sizzling saute pans greeted the nearly 1,000 guests who attended Sunday night's sold out Feast at the North Charleston Performing Arts Complex. A serpentine flow of guests moved through the convivial gala, eager to sample the flavor spectrum. Buttery, salty, savory, tangy—each chef's station offered a unique nosh, which inspired colorful commentary among the fork-clutching guests waiting to sidle up to a particular dish. Some fawned over the hearty portions carved up by Chef Peyton Smith (The Palm Tree Grill), others swooned over the sweets prepared by Chef Christopher Stallard (The Art Institute of Charleston). The tuna turned out by Chef Frank McMahon (Hank's), who happily obliged second servings, was sensational.
If you're headed out on the town tonight, please consider having dinner at one of the outstanding restaurants that participated in Chefs' Feast. Be sure to thank the chef for helping assuage child hunger. The kindhearted chefs include Robert Carter (Peninsula Grill), Peyton Smith (The Palm Tree Grill at Embassy Suites Charleston Area Convention Center), Christopher Stallard (The Art Institute of Charleston), Emily Cookson (Charleston Grill), Marc Collins (Circa 1886), John Zucker (Cru Cafe and Catering), Jeff Alexander and Scott Stefanelli (The Culinary Institute of Charleston), Craig Deihl (Cypress), Fred Neuville (Fat Hen), Nico Romo (Fish), Frank McMahon (Hank's Seafood), Robert Stehling (Hominy Grill), Patrick Owens (Langdon's Restaurant and Wine Bar), Ken Vedrinski (Lucca), Eddie Moran (Mercato), Sean Brock (McCrady's), Brett McKee (Oak Steakhouse), Phillip Bardin (Old Post Office), Jim Walker (Old Village Post House), Ben Berryhill (Red Drum), Jim Spratling (Saltus River Grill), Nathan Thurston (Sanctuary at Kiawah Island), Frank Lee (Slightly North of Broad), and Nate Whiting (Tristan).