The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island was the place to be the weekend of February 7th-9th as hundreds of guests filled the hotel for the Sixth Annual Gourmet and Grapes weekend. Gourmet and Grapes is a weekend-long culinary extravaganza that is the only fundraiser in the Lowcountry that brings together renowned chefs and winemakers to raise money for cancer research. The event, which takes place at The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, benefits Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina.
Friday, February 7th was the weekend’s kick off black-tie event. This elegant dining experience was held in two exclusive dining rooms at The Sanctuary. The evening featured a four course menu crafted by The Sanctuary’s very own culinary visionaries lead by Executive Chef, Brendon Bashford and private discussions with two exquisite winemakers/vintners, Rob Davis of Jordan Vineyard & Winery and Thom Horsey of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates showcasing Antinori Wines.
Saturday, February 8th Chef Colin Bedford of The Fearrington House Restaurant in North Carolina walked attendees of the Gourmet Culinary Luncheon through a step by step process on preparing a five star, three course menu.
Pairing this demonstartion luncheon was Mira Winery where winemaker Gustavo Gonzalez gave the history of each beautiful wines that were poured that afternoon.
After this exquisite three hour luncheon guests were then escorted to the wine seminar of their choice where they either tasted back vintages of Jordan or sipped beautiful Laurent-Perrier bubbles with Sarah Halstead.
If you are thinking, “oh, that sounds like a nice weekend” then you are in for a treat as the Gourmet and Grapes team had more up their sleaves for the weekend.
Saturday evening brought the Wine Odyssey Gala which started with a silent auction that featured over 75 incredible auction items ranging from high end wines, to staycation opportunities here in Charleston, to sporting packages for the true outdoorsmen and then some. Supplying the small bites during the silent auction was the founder of Guerilla Cuisine, Mr. jimihatt and Executive Chef/Owner of The Pampered Palate, Chef Merrit Brady. The evening transformed into full gala style when guests joined the other 14 participating chefs of the region and eight wine stations in the Grand Oaks Ballroom of The Sanctuary. Guests were welcomed to savor the flavors of the Southeast while meeting chefs and tasting their unique recreations while sipping on distinctive wines from around the world. New to 2014 was the Golden Fork Award. Attached to each wine glass was a ‘golden fork’ wine charm, attendees of the event were encouraged to vote on their favorite dish/chef of the evening. The winning chef, Colin Bedford of The Fearrington House Restaurant, our received an engraved plaque and bragging rights for the year!
As soon as auctioneer, Tom Crawford and emcee, Richard Todd (both longtime friends of Gourmet & Grapes) took the stage, all eyes were on them. Both Richard and Tom presented 13 incredible live auction items which included truly rare findings and ultimate getaways. Between the evenings live and silent auctions, Gourmet & Grapes was able to bring in over $118,000 in benefit of Hollings Cancer Center- MUSC towards cancer research. Since its inception in 2009, Gourmet & Grapes has raised more than $650,000 for cancer research programs at Hollings Cancer Center. With stagnant federal funding, this contribution has proved invaluable in the cancer research conducted in South Carolina.
The evening concluded in a true party mode. All were welcomed to join the Earl Williams Band in celebration of a truly successful weekend at the champagne and chocolate afterglow.
*Stay tuned for more information regarding 2015. To view more incredible photos from our 2014 weekend, please visit our Gourmet & Grapes at The Sanctuary facebook page.