The Charleston Food and Wine Festival was a success if numbers count. In some ways, it was not as much a success as we wished. We would have liked to have had the lines flow smoothly, people be able to eat and drink at the right times, and have everyone happy all the time. Tylor Florence and Tom Collichio were a BIG hit -- and so was the Culinary Village, except that was where the lines were the worst, on Saturday, right at lunchtime. An unanticipated calamity in that people were kept, waiting, and wanting...Food is a control issue, and when people can't eat, they get unhappy. But Charlestonians seemed to take it in stride, and only a few complained. What a gracious city.
One of the most interesting events was the discussion between Mimi Sheraton, former restaurant critic for the New York Times, Jenifer Lang, Rozanne Gold (she has a column on entertaining for Bon Appetit)and Rozanne's husband, Michael Wiseman, who started Windows on the World (both times) and The Rainbow Room, working with Joe Baum. Their subject was the rise of American Food in New York, and they zipped right through it. George Lang had pneumonia and was unable to be with us. But Jenifer had all these great slides reminding us of the old and the greats, from The Quilted Giraffe to The Forum of the Twelve Caesars.
Curtis Aikens flew in just for Sunday and gave a spirited demonstration, full of laughter.
Chef Walter Royal of the Angus Barn in Raleigh did a fantastic job of the gospel brunch on Sunday -- with a fantastic cheese grits souffle, among other things like oyster pie and quails. Amazing food.
The barbecue on Sunday night was another great hit. The band added to the spice of the food -- people were dancing in the aisles on the non-too-level floor of the big tent. What fun. And What ribs!
Next year I'm sure more kinks will be worked out -- this is only the second year.