The BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival officially kicked off last night with a VIP/Sponsor party followed by the Salute to Charleston’s Chefs opening night party at the Aquarium.

It was also the unofficial kickoff to some unofficial events around town. I gave our party scenester Erica Jackson Curran the task of covering the big event and headed down King Street to see what I could find on the fringe.

The first stop was Heirloom Books for a party hosted by the Lee Brothers featuring local Jack Rudy Tonic and Middleton Made Knives.

It was hot and crowded inside, but there were lots of chefs, authors, photographers, and media on hand. The Lee boys know how to attract the right people.


People like Squire Fox, the amazing photographer, and Carlye Jane Dougherty (of Heirloom Books).


Author and newly minted Southern Living Virginia Willis with our favorite shepherd Craig Rogers and Jennifer Cole of Southern Living.

I was so happy to see Quentin Middleton get a platform for showing off his handmade knives. If you’re a chef, you need to check out this guy’s work. Beautiful.

As the Heirloom Book party rolled on, we headed over to the Billy Reid party at the Restoration at King.


Butcher & Bee provided the vegetarian fare, including a much-needed pulled squash sandwich and some fantastic deviled eggs. Food was surprisingly plentiful at this point of the evening, which leads me to the truth of the night: fashion people don’t eat.


Jimmy Hagood’s pig was practically intact hours into the event. Crazy. See what I mean:


This next photo tells a story. A surreal story. Up on the roof with Bryan Caswell from Reef in Houston (a Next Iron Chef candidate) and Ayoka Lucas, our local style maven and Charleston Fashion Week founder, along with Cooper Ray of Social Primer, who admitted that he only recommends restaurants based on whether you can smoke or not. A very funny mashing up of fashion and food worlds.

Ayoka also coined a saying that should be put on SFA T-shirts: “Mind your own biscuits.” We had a moment as I tried to help her resist Callie’s bacon biscuits, which were piled high on tables everywhere. I reminded the girl that fashion week is only two weeks away and one biscuit equals hours of extra hip-hop workout classes. Lucky for me, I’m a food writer and could indulge my biscuit cravings since we all know skinny food writers are not to be trusted.


Speaking of food writers, Kat Kinsman of Eatocracy and Raphael Brion of Eater National were both in the house. They’re pictured here with Michael Shemtov of Butcher & Bee.


And these guys were there too.


I’ve got more to come from the Oak afterparty and Lambs and Clams, Take 3, but now I must head off to Marion Square for opening ceremonies.

Oh, and I apologize for the blurry, badly composed photos. They looked completely awesome last night.

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