One of the best parts about writing for City Paper since 2005 has been getting to cover the various personalities involved in the Charleston Wine + Food Festival. Even when I was still a newbie freelancer, former editor Stephanie Barna was kind enough to throw a few W+F stories my way. Looking back on the past 10 years, I’m amazed at some of the people I had the opportunity to speak to. There was Top Chef semifinalist Sam Talbot (who was clearly over being called a hunk) and TV chef Marvin Woods, but the ones that left the greatest impression include the following: 

Chef Duane Nutter, One Flew South
If you’ve flown through the Atlanta airport, then you’ve probably heard of Chef Duane Nutter’s One Flew South restaurant. I caught up with the chef in “Terminal Haute Cuisine” to discuss his brilliant idea of offering frequent flyers more than plastic wrapped sandwiches smashed in a cooler next to the Penthouse magazines. (What creeper reads those on planes anyway?) Nutter described cooking for masses of passengers as harder than his experience catering a Kentucky Derby. Add to that the fact that his knives have to be chained down — TSA and all — and it’s amazing he’s still killing it with his jet setting concept. 

Pastry Chef Michael Laiskonis, Le Bernardin
The pastry guru talked about his Opusculum blog in our brief interview, “Dough Boy.” The wildly creative chef’s blog is definitely worth a bookmark especially now that it’s featured on

Gourmet Editor Ruth Reichl
To say my hands were shaking dialing former New York Times restaurant critic and Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl would be an understatement. I was basically having a seizure. But the brilliant writer (read Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise, it’s a classic) was more than generous with my allotted 10 minute interview. My favorite Reichl quote from the “She’s Got the Power” story: “I always used to think Charleston was New Orleans with vegetables.”

Martha Lou Gadsden, Martha Lou’s Kitchen
If you still haven’t gotten yourself over to Martha Lou’s Kitchen, I beg of you, do it now. We have a living legend, 85-year-old Martha Lou Gadsden, cooking amongst us. In 2011 Gadsden was recognized with Charleston Wine + Food Festival’s Laura Hewitt Culinary Legend Award and CP made sure her face on the cover of that week’s issue for our piece “The Legendary Martha Lou’s.” I caught up with Gadsden for the story, but the woman barely kept still, she was too busy fixing up her signature mac ‘n’ cheese and pork chops to talk. I figure that’s the secret to her longevity and I feel fortunate she gave me a little of her time. 

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