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I never used to understand what the deal was with people going crazy over meeting "celebrities". I've met pro sports players, musicians, newscasters, and more, and never got it. Then one day, I met Alton Brown and nearly lost my mind, and now, I get it: Food is my celebrity. Much like my husband is prone to bringing up statistics about Braves players from 1998, I have been known to drone on about the shift from Anson Mills to Geechie Boy grits in fine dining restaurants in downtown Charleston, or the downfall of curly leaf parsley in favor of flat-leaf.
So when my favorite ladies who talk cocktails daily, aka The Cocktail Bandits, invited me to come document their appearance on Fine Dining's "Moveable Feast", a tv show that highlights famous chefs, their purveyors, and ends in a grand dinner using the goods of those purveyors, I jumped at the opportunity. After all, I don't care about what ever happened to Terry Pendleton ( he's a coach for the Braves these days, in case you DO care ), but just the thought of getting to be in the same room as Sean Brock and any of the local growers, distillers, and artisans he works with was enough to make me giddy.
After sneaking into the kitchen to snap a picture of where the magic happens, I spent the rest of the day documenting the Cocktail Bandits and the delicious all-local cocktails that they made for the occasion.
Once the guests arrived, the cocktails ( and courses ) began flowing. The food was spectacular and all from the locals who were dining at the table: heritage pork, fresh herbs, grits, tomatoes, okra, and so much more. The cocktails prepared by the Cocktail Bandits were local down to the Lemon Lime soda and hand-made garnishes. It was a great example of how easy it is to support our community, and of how delicious that support can be!
Seriously, no detail was overlooked for this event. Even the champagne coupe earrings worn by Bandit Taneka Reeves are from a local designer ( and one of my favorites ), Deirdre Zahl of Candy Shop Vintage.
As each course was served, the chefs ( Sean Brock and BJ Dennis ) discussed the inspiration and ingredients for the dish, highlighting the purveyors at the table, most of whom where not used to being on this side of the camera and most humbly accepted the praise from their fellow diners.
A few guests even brought gifts for the hosts, including this bottle of bourbon I caught a pic of Sean Brock checking out.
I felt honored to be included at such a great event ( a huge thank you to the fabulous Cocktail Bandits, who are always such a pleasure to work with! ) I'd love to hear from you in the comments about your experiences with local ingredients, chefs, and cocktail masters!