The VIPs were out in full force last night, dining all over the city. My group of 8 showed up for a 9 p.m. dinner reservation at McCrady’s, and we immediately spotted chefs like Wylie Dufresne, Johnny Iuzzini, and Frank Stitt. Who we didn’t notice at first was Gourmet editor and author Ruth Reichl sitting at the table right next door.

The staff was focused and working hard. What a big night for those guys. At around midnight, Sean Brock came out of the kitchen with a glass of bourbon and a look of immense relief on his face. He said his normally boisterous kitchen was quiet all night as his team put their heads down and worked their asses off. And don’t forget, Sean was in my very last picture from the night before, taken at about 2:00 a.m. Yesterday, he got up and took Wylie to his demo and then assisted Johnny with his before the chef competition at 4:30 p.m. in which he and Lata took on Linton Hopkins and Hugh Acheson (and lost). Lata said he pretty much forgot what the hell he was doing and just focused on making the risotto. (BTW: Lata’s got a Gourmet profile coming up. Last week, he submitted to a photo shoot — mustache and all).

Brock humbly said he’d see what the result of Reichl’s visit would be. But he’s got nothing to worry about: from Reichl’s tweets, it seems she was duly impressed, particularly with his charcuterie and chicken liver blis.

From this morning:

“What I forgot to mention: Sean Brock’s awesome charcuterie at McCrady’s. Wylie Dufresne, Frank Stitt, Johnny Iuzzini there devouring it too”

Unfortunately, I never got to meet her, despite planning to time my bathroom breaks with hers. After wrapping up at McCrady’s at around 12:30, we headed over to the afterparty at FIG, which was completely packed with the F+W crowd. Johnny Hagood’s rig was set up out back and a pig was picked down to the bones. Unfortunately, Reichl was already heading out as we were coming in, so didn’t get to stalk her there either.

Here are the pics

Patrick Emerson and JC (from Mesa Grill)
Bobby Flay hangs with Erika McMillan (R) from Food +Wine Fest
Mickey Bakst and one of the chefs from the Food + Wine with a view. Must be Barbara Lynch
Wylie Dufresne with Annie from the McCrady's kitchen crew
Danielle from Charleston Cooks with Mike Lata and Celina Tio
Angela Hanyak (r) with gal pal Pamela
Jeremy and Deanie Fox with Tyler Gray
Clint Sloan of McCrady's and Tanya Brock
Robert Stehling from Hominy Grill
Picking the pig
The elusive Jeremiah Bacon of Carolina's
Look who we ran into on the street at 2 a.m.! Our City Paper cover boy.