The Fifth Annual Gourmet & Grapes Weekend at The Sanctuary on Kiawah Island Benefitting MUSC Hollings Cancer Center
When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful. ~ Barbara Bloom
*Please see the note at the bottom about the photographs in this article.
Cancer has played a large part in many lives, including our own over the past eight years. It was January 2005 when we received the news that Mr. B had colon cancer and eventually learned it was Stage 4 cancer. It turned our world upside down and altered it in ways we could never have imagined. I most likely would not have started this blog nor would I have been writing about this cancer benefit event at Kiawah Island had it not been for the impact cancer has had on our lives. There is no question that this disease brought fear and drastic changes with the diagnosis and treatments, however, it has also introduced us to a new life filled with great friends and unique opportunities to impact others.
One of these opportunities came when we recently attended the Fifth Annual Gourmet & Grapes Weekend on Kiawah Island. It is the only fundraiser in the Lowcountry which brings together renowned Southern chefs and global winemakers to raise money for cancer research. It is a weekend of impressive food, excellent wines, celebrity chefs, and many good times, all to benefit the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Hollings Cancer Center’s clinical trials program. Hosted by The Sanctuary Hotel at the beautiful Kiawah Island Golf Resort, this is becoming one of the Southeast’s premier culinary events and all proceeds go to a cause near and dear to us, cancer research.
The Gourmet & Grapes weekend kicks off Friday evening with a black-tie affair at the elegant Ocean Room at The Sanctuary. This year’s guest chef for the dinner, Justin Bogle, who has received two stars from the Michelin Guide as former executive chef of GILT in New York City, prepared a exquisite three-course menu incorporating local ingredients. Expertly prepared and beautifully plated, the courses were paired with luscious wines from Tuscan winemaker, Lionello Marchesi, who was quite the charmer.
One of the highlights of this dinner was a roasted swordfish that was line-caught off the coast of South Carolina and brought in from the boat at Cherry Point Seafood that morning. The exceptional quality and taste of that swordfish was a real testament to the importance of using the freshest, locally harvested, and sustainable seafood.
Chef Bogle, when speaking at the end of the dinner, mentioned the cancer struggles of some of the people who are closest to him, and what an honor it was to participate in the event.
The Gourmet Culinary Luncheon Saturday at The Ocean Room featuring guest chef, Scott Crawford of Herons at The Umstead Hotel in Cary, North Carolina, was the first of the day’s events. An extraordinary chef who has received much acclaim over the years, including a recent third nomination from the James Beard Foundation for Best Chef Southeast 2013 and the prestigious Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Rating and AAA Five Diamond Award, Crawford’s innovative three-course menu included a cooking demonstration explaining the method of preparation for each course. Emmanuel Padilla from Jordan Winery from California provided the wine pairings for this luncheon.
The highlight of Chef Crawford’s dishes was surprising in that it was a game meat, yet mild in taste. Sourced from Broken Arrow Ranch in Texas, the Spiced Venison with Parsnip, Apple, Bacon, Maitake, Chestnut, and Hickory was outstanding with a unique combination of flavors and textures.
The culmination of the Saturday’s festivities ended with the Wine Odyssey Gala that evening. Taking place outdoors at The Sanctuary, this event featured many local and celebrity chefs as well as the chefs from the restaurants at Kiawah Island. There were beautiful small bites, desserts, and wine tastings from well-known vintners followed by a live auction to benefit the Hollings Cancer Center. Some of the auction items included: private dinners prepared by local chefs; a five-star experience and stay at The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort; and four press pass credentials to the PGA 2013 Championship. As the auction wrapped up, guests went indoors to dance the night away.
The following morning’s brunch was served outdoors at Jasmine Porch and was a perfect ending to the weekend. Views of the ocean and the bright sun warming the late morning’s cool air reminded me once again why Kiawah Island is so special. Buffets of fresh shucked oysters and other seafood, Lowcountry and Southern specialties, along with an array of desserts, were enticing. Sipping on a mimosa while relaxing in the sun, there could not have been a better weekend culinary experience.
Food and wine events at special destinations are very popular and seem to take place every weekend in our current food culture. It is a difficult decision to know which ones to attend when there are so many. Gourmet & Grapes was a top notch affair at one of the most spectacular locations on the East coast and it is all to benefit a great cause. Many of the participants have their own personal reasons for giving their time and participating.
The Hollings Cancer Center supports over 80,000 patient visits each year. The money raised at Gourmet & Grapes is an important source of funds for cancer research and the Silent Auction helps fund their patients’ Wish List. If you are going to attend a food and wine event, make it one that has an impact beyond the tent, table, and wine glasses.
One in four deaths in the United States is caused by cancer and while the five year survival rate has increased to 40% of the patients, cancer remains an ongoing battle. Let’s put an end to cancer.
The dates for next year’s 2014 Gourmet & Grapes will be announced soon, so plan to reserve that weekend on your calendar.
Note – Most of the photographs in this article recapping the Fifth Annual Gourmet & Grapes were taken by photographer Andrew Cebulka. We had the pleasure of meeting and working with Andrew during this event at Kiawah Island February 8 – 10, 2013 as well as during the Charleston Wine & Food Festival a few weeks later. Very talented and professional, Andrew gave of his own time to photograph this weekend benefitting the MUSC Hollings Cancer Center. Any photographs that are not Andrew’s will have an Image Press Photo watermark and were taken by Mr. B. We thank Andrew for allowing us to use his photographs as he so beautifully captured the spirit of the weekend.
* Disclosure – We were guests of the Gourmet & Grapes Weekend at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. I gladly wrote an article about the event in support of cancer research. The opinions expressed regarding our experience are my own.
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