[Photos by Rémy Thurston] The past weekend marked the first Charleston Food Film Festival. Previously only in the likes of Chicago and New York, the festival delivered on what The Food Network and the Travel Channel can only tease their viewers with – taste. Over Friday and Saturday, the sold-out crowds at GrowFood Carolina took in films and food that fell into two categories: Edible Adventure #007: International Meal of Mystery, featuring global fare, and Hot Southern Shorts!, focusing on people and traditions from the culinary Southeast.
Peruse the gallery above for a glimpse of the scene and some food porn, and read on for Eater's hangover observations from the weekend.
· West-coast-born Keizo Shimamoto, the renowned ramen chef, won points with the audience for having come the farthest for the festival (Tokyo) but lost some when he addressed the wrong city (Charlotte). Neither affected the traditional ramen the California native served outside during the first after-party.
Keizo Shimamoto, star of "Ramen Dreams" [Photo: Rémy Thurston]
· Festival director George Motz presented the world premier of his new movie, "Head On," about shrimping in the Lowcountry. Cheers rippled through the audience as Motz, a Brooklynite, admitted he could never go back to eating shrimp from anywhere else after experiencing the Southern crustaceans.
· Most literal interpretation of food porn went to the film entitled "XXX," where two cans of tuna enter into a liaison of sorts before a can of cocktail weenies enters the fray. The final scene is of all three tins with their tops open, cigarettes lit and a sense of finality. It is always the last film shown during the Festival's inaugural event in a new location.
· Jackson Holland of the Cocktail Club manned a table serving a drink with so many ingredients, you had to ask twice what was in it just to be sure he wasn't making it up. Amongst a plethora of others, the concoction had beet juice, fresh strawberries, serrano peppers, basil and Dorothy Parker Gin from the New York Distilling Company as the base.
· Amanda Cohen of Dirt Candy in New York City made a strong case for vegetarianism with bites of tomato cake with smoked feta and her portobello mousse with fennel-pear compote. Her popcorn pudding couldn't have screamed theater-food any louder.
[Photo: Rémy Thurston]
· Charles Grantham, director of a film simply called "Food Porn" roamed among the crowd in character. His performance as the mustachioed Larry Cauldwell blurred the line between food-porn star, and food porn-star. Bananas, strawberries and a few too many grapes were all he needed to make a film that was just the right kind of odd.
· The Grocery's Kevin Johnson and Hallie Arnold served a strawberry-glazed pork belly in a bibb lettuce wrap topped with strawberry relish alongside a strawberry-infused bourbon cocktail with a spank of ginger, which was perhaps the best pairing of the night.