On the House is Eater's column that goes behind the scenes of the restaurant business, written by the owners, operators, chefs and others who make our favorite establishments tick. Today, The Cocktail Club's Jeremiah Schenzel shares his thoughts on the Cook It Raw BBQ Perspectives event.
On an average day it would be a rarity to see a chef out enjoying the weather, drinking with friends and conversing with locals about the direction food and haute cuisine is going. Even more rare is a group of truly phenomenal chefs from all points of the globe in a city like Charleston. Cook it Raw shattered that notion and not only brought the chefs, booze and people, but also the ideals of what it means to live off of the bounty here in the Lowcountry.
For over ten years, I have worked in kitchens—most of that time as a man in the trenches. Mixing, sautéing and plating food for someone else's name with the hope that one day I would have the opportunity for someone to do the same for me. Most importantly though, I always gave the ingredients handed to me each day the utmost respect. If there is anything that Cook It Raw emphasized, it was this same selfless act every chef knows so well. The act of selflessness you learn as a line cook and reteach as a chef.
In this day and age of super chefs with cult and celebrity-like status, it would have been easy for the names of all the participating chefs of Cook It Raw to steal the show. After all, the fact that it was such a global event was what pulled in most people in the first place. Even with all the buzz, the star of Cook It Raw was South Carolina's Lowcountry and what it has done so well for so long—produce an amazing food, steeped in tradition and anchored by flavor.
It was refreshing to see chefs from all over the world hunker down together. They were not there for their restaurants, Twitter accounts or PR companies. They were there for the food. They were there for each other when needed, and to embrace those lessons all chefs learn early in their careers. After the smoke settles, the booze runs out and Cook it Raw moves on, there really isn't much to say. Maybe we should all just follow the lead of Cook it Raw and say "Thanks, Charleston."