Tuesday, May 6th, 2014
Last weekend I attended the Southeast Conference of the American Culinary Federation in Charleston, SC. Founded in 1929 the ACF is now the largest professional chefs organization in North America. These people are serious about food. Sure I made my living doing restaurant work for 15 years, but it was just because I couldn’t make a living as an actor.
Being around, professional chefs, culinary instructors and students for four days I realized how little I knew. We didn’t speak the same language. What we did have in common was our passion for food.
One of the best parts about going to a conferences for professional chefs is that the food takes center stage. There was always something being made and therefore there is always something to taste, from the Rice Breaker on Saturday night to the awards gala on Tuesday night. On Monday night some local restaurants had a reception in the in the hotel lobby with samplings of some of their specialties like the one at the right from Southerly Restaurant and Patio.
Also on Monday night was the American Academy of Chefs Gala Dinner. Did I say dinner? I would amend dinner to say, “feast.” It must be very stressful to prepare a 6 course meal with wine parings for a dining room full of professional chefs. The Culinary team at the Daniel Island Club was up to the task.
But even more impressive than the food was the service. I don’t remember ever being as impressed with a staff at any venue anywhere. If you had a used napkin in your hand it was taken from you before you could think, “Where can I put this?” If you especially liked a passes appetizer, like the Smoked duck breast on Edisto Island grits with a Port Cherry sauce, the server seemed to seek you out to make sure you were offered another tantalizing taste on their next pass through the room. And they were smiling, all of them! Not a Stepford Wife kind of service smile but a genuine smile that was warm and inviting. The same severs who passed the hors d’oeuvres also served dinner and poured our wine. With dinner conversations in full swing around the table, the courses seemed to glide into placed and float away. It was a classic ballet flawlessly executed.
Therefore the SEE Award for April goes to the servers at the Daniel Island Club in Charleston, SC. Click here to see what was served at the Gala