It’s a tasty Wednesday. I’ve got a seat at the kitchen counter in the restored, 200-year-old carriage house at Zero George. The day’s cooking class is with New Orleans’ Chef Justin Devillier, who’s kicking off a Guest Chef Series at the inn. For a couple hours, I’m sipping wine and learning to make chilled blue crab salad, fried rabbit, and biscuits—sampling everything, too. Zero George chefs regularly teach classes of Lowcountry fare in the same space. These are high times for food and cooking in Charleston, home to the Culinary Institute of Charleston and the Art Institute of Charleston Culinary Program—both training chef professionals. For the home cook, recent additions include offerings at Southern Season in Mount Pleasant and at Le Creuset on the Ashley River. Plus, there’s the annual demo’s and contests at the Charleston Wine + Food Festival and daily classes at the long-time Charleston Cooks! on East Bay Street.
The kitchen at Zero George is inside a circa-1804 carriage house, and you’ll want to sit awhile, watch the chef’s technique, and smell what’s cooking. It’s among the best-looking ranges in Charleston, too, a gleaming Lacanche French beauty in white enamel, brass, and chrome. The max is just eight people per class.
Le Creuset: L’Atelier
This is one of Charleston’s best French connections. The new North American digs of Le Creuset opened in 2013 just across the Ashley River. Guest chefs from Charleston and around the South cook in the cookware makers’ L’Atelier, a well-equipped kitchen and culinary “workshop”. They offer frequent cookware demos, too.
At the signature class “Taste of the Lowcountry,” you’ll watch a chef demo, sip wine, and taste local recipes for fish and rice or smoked pork, creamy grits, and pie or cake. For a hands-on class, you can learn to make yogurt, pasta, or roll sushi. Kids sessions are a hit.
Bright, busy and new—this popular food and cookware shop in Mount Pleasant is offering classes almost daily in everything from how to roast fish or bake a pie in a toaster oven, to how to make gazpacho and quiche for brunch. Also hyper-specific lessons, like how-tos for pour-over coffee.
BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival
It feels like a homecoming at this annual whirl of good eats (and drinks) for locals, chefs, and visiting food-lovers of all stripes. At Marion Square, the Culinary Institute of Charleston, and smaller kitchen venues, experts demonstrate making such specialties as gumbo, bread, or BBQ. Pairings too, of wine, craft beer, and Bourbon are available.