Gwen Fowler



Prestigious culinary awards to be announced in Charleston

Posted 10/1/2012 12:57:00 PM

How appropriate that the James Beard Awards finalists for 2013 will be made in Charleston, a South Carolina city that is known as a dining destination.

The top chefs will be named at Lowndes Grove Plantation at 11 a.m. Monday, March 18. That evening, a fundraiser for the James Beard Foundation will take place at Fort Moultrie, with the Charleston Wine and Food Festival and the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau as hosts.

The organizations say that the fundraiser will feature Charleston chefs who have received a JBF Award, received a nomination, or recently cooked at the James Beard House.

That could be a pretty long list. Let’s see, there are three winners of the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Southeast: Sean Brock of McCrady’s and Husk in 2010, Mike Lata of FIG in 2009, and Robert Stehling of Hominy Grill in 2008.
For the past two years, Craig Deihl of Cypress has been one of the finalists for the award.
Chefs Ken Vedrinski of Trattoria Lucca and Jeremiah Bacon of The Macintosh have been semifinalists for Best Chef in the Southeast, and Lauren Mitterer of WildFlour Pastry has been a semifinalist for outstanding pastry chef.

Also, Charleston authors of the JBF Award-winning cookbooks might be asked to participate. That would include the Lee Brothers. Matt and Ted Lee’s fabulous cookbook, “The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook,” was the 2007 James Beard Cookbook of the Year. 
And of course there's Nathalie Dupree, author of many cookbooks and winner of James Beard Awards in 1994 and 1999.

The menu is to reflect the era when Fort Moultrie was in use. The fort, which is part of the National Park Service, helped protect Charleston during the Revolutionary War and later was the scene of Civil War battles.

Guests will be served cocktails and hors d’oeuvres throughout the interior of the fort so they can tour the structure. Dinner will be on the beachside front lawn, with views of Fort Sumter, the Sullivan’s Island lighthouse and the skyline of downtown Charleston. Tickets are available here.
The James Beards Awards are often called the Oscars of the culinary world. In February, semifinalists are named in a number of categories, honoring chefs, restaurateurs, cookbook authors and food journalists. In March, a small group of finalists are named in each category, and that is the announcement that will be made in Charleston. In May, winners in each category are announced in ceremonies in Lincoln Center in New York City.