Wednesday, September 3, 2008

11 courses, 3 hours, 1331 plates...

Our guest dinner with Sean Brock could have been a disaster. That's a lot of plates, a lot of service and a lot of room for error. Of course, I am never happy with my overall performance (See: "I choked..."), and there were a few things I wish I could change in retrospect. But, we had fun and the guests seem to genuinely enjoy the experience.

McCrady's run by Sean Brock is one of the most creative restaurants in the country. If you haven't heard of it, or Chef Brock, well, you will soon. Check out his blog at

I have to give a huge shout out, yes I said shout out, to all that helped with the event. We brought 3 caravans of chefs with us and also had a good amount of stage support from the Charleston area.

Justin, Billy, Enrika, Jared, Jason and Andrea all came from Atlanta, on their own time, to work 3 monster days in the kitchen. When I see commitment and dedication like that, it
reminds me what it is all about.

Eli, Daniel, Ben and Jeremy came as well. These are guys I've worked with in the past, but have no obligation to me, and again, I am so grateful and humbled by the gesture. We really wouldn't have been able to pull it off without their support.

The crowd was pumped and we had a blast. I really enjoyed playing MC and communicating our vision and inspiration for each dish. This is something I'd like to continue and it even inspired some great ideas.... that I'm not quite ready to share!

I also feel like I have found my favorite city in the South. Charleston has that European feel, with great architecture, and a friendly vibe I haven't seen anywhere else. I truly feel like I made a few hundred new friends last weekend.

The best part of the trip, and I knew it would come from the outset, was the spark I got from working with Sean. As I build what everyone tells me is a "brand" (?!?), an event like this helps me tighten my grasp on our core values. I'm a decent public speaker. We are embarking on new television contracts. We are really doing a ton of "celebrity" chef work, but at the end of the day... I'm a chef that just loves sharing my passion with people, feeding them and making dining exciting. Sean is the same way. The guy is just about as humble and hospitable as you will ever meet... especially amongst chefs!

There was a moment at the end of the meal, you know the part where everyone involved gets acknowledged, when Sean spoke about his first experience eating my food he said he remembered how brave I was.

Brave isn't a word that gets tossed around for chefs. His words have impacted me greatly.

We also committed to doing another dinner at McCrady's in March around the same time as the Food & Wine fest! Reserve now!!


Anonymous said...

My son, Will, was one of your "local" kitchen volunteers as well. He had at least as much fun working with you & the others to pull off this cool event. Look forward to eating at "Home" sometime soon.

Bailey said...

You and Sean were great. We had a wonderful time.

Maybe we can get all the bills paid for this trip and make it back in January.

Catch you soon,


Chicken Fried Gourmet said...

Oh man I wish I could have been there. We had tickets reserved but alas life got in the way :( Maybe next time...keep doing what you do

maya said...

I wish I could've helped out more, but the three hours i spent dicing pickles and shelling boiled peanuts ruled. Thanks for coming, and when you come back, I hope I can actually get reservations!!

chadzilla said...

I saw a notice somewhere on your blog yesterday stating that you were planning another dinner at McCrady's in March along with Wylie Dufresne and Johnny Iuzzini. Today, the information seems to have dissappeared.
Was I hallucinating? Did you retract it, or is it my wild imagination?
Also want to add... I normally cannot stand watching Top Chef, but religiously caught every episode last season because of their decision to include a chef of your genre. Awesome display of tolerance on your part, and great PR for modern cuisine!

Richard Blais said...

@chadzilla - I was a little premature... stay tuned for more info

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