Monday, May 18, 2015



CIC grad Chef BJ Dennis and CIC students prepared
 the hors d'oeuvres for the reception
On April 19th, the CIC played a major role in a historic event, Nat Fuller’s Feast. CIC culinary and hospitality students, as well as CIC faculty, worked tirelessly to make it a success. It was a night to be proud of our school.

To quote the event’s initiator, Dr. David Shields: “Nat Fuller had been the enslaved master cook of William C. Gatewood from 1842 to 1852. In 1852, Fuller convinced Gatewood to release him as a self-hire, that is, a self-supporting autonomous public worker. Gatewood would receive a percentage of Fuller's earnings. Gatewood did more than siphon off a portion of Fuller's earnings; Periodically he would bankroll Fuller's initiatives in the game market, as a caterer, and finally as a restaurateur.

 “150 years ago Nat Fuller, Charleston's great chef, held a banquet to mark the end of the Civil War and the beginning of peace. He invited his longstanding white clients, some members of the provisional government, and friends from the city's African American elite to sit as guests at his table and to learn how to interact respectfully with one another. It was a time of privation--rice rations were dispensed daily by the Union Army agents to Charleston's 15,000 residents.”
 The event was covered extensively by the press. Read about it in:



et Fuller's many contacts in the world of food, including old friends from Washington Market in NYC, supplied him with a bounty of fine ingredients. About 80 people ate at the original. Tonight a similar number will commemorate that dinner in Charleston and Columbia. Artist Jonathan Green has painted a portrait of the great caterer and restaurateur to mark the occasion. Tonight it will hang on the walls of the building that was once Fuller's restaurant, The Bachelor's Retreat, in Charleston to remind celebrants of Fuller's self-possession, his generosity, and his love of the arts of peace.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Congrats to CIC Alum Stony Lowe

Stony received a 2015 Tourism Student Award and scholarship from the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. Congratulations!




Monday, May 11, 2015

2015 Graduate Awards Luncheon



Special congratulations to Carmenzetta Simmons, given the Chef Bill Stacks Memorial Culinary Award, Brittany Van Allen, given the Dean Frankie Miller Memorial Hospitality Award (both seen with Dean Saboe).

First Networking Hour with CIC Industry Partners a Success!



On Thursday, April 23rd, prior to the Graduate Award Luncheon, the CIC sponsored a Networking Hour for graduates and members of the Best & Brightest Society to meet with CIC Industry Partners. Great connections were made - and jobs offered! So proud.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

CIC Grad BJ Dennis in Garden & Gun Video




Enjoy CIC grad BJ Dennis in this humorous video produced by Garden and Gun magazine: "Southern Chefs in the Hot Seat." He's keeping mighty fine company these days!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Post & Courier Gives a Shout to CIC's Relish Restaurant



In its April 15 Food Section, the Post & Courier features a Relish dish prepared by two students from Chef John Ondo's Mediterranean Cuisine class. Staphanie Zawacki and Paul San Luis delivered a centerpiece of beeliner snapper that was taken off of the bone and rubbed with basil, parsley, thyme and garlic before roasting. Carrots, artichoke hearts, olives and tomatoes are boiled in chicken stock, which is reduced after the vegetables are removed. Garlic confit is incorporated into the sauce with a stick blender. Tomato petals and basil puree add color and flavor. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

CIC Chef Instructor David Vagasky Featured in the Post & Courier

Chefs  Vagasky (l) and Gray (r) demoing chocolate
for one of their accounts, Southern Seasons.


Chef Vagasky and his partner Chef Mark Gray have a very sweet business called Cacao’s Artisan Chocolates. They recently received some sweet props from the Post & Courier in an article about their company, its products and the over 1,000 chocolate bunnies they made for Easter. Read it here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Chef Kevin Mitchell Attends James Beard Foundation Chefs Boot Camp


Group shot at the Tabasco factory. 
Cooking the collaborative dinner.
From March 15th - 17th,  Chef Kevin Mitchell attended the invitation-only James Beard Foundation Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change. This is program offers a unique opportunity for civic and politically minded chefs to become more effective leaders for food-system change. During thematic retreats around the country, participants receive advocacy and media training while learning about important issues, challenges and opportunities facing the food world. The goal is to build a growing network of like-minded chefs, provide support for personal interests and passions and give tools and guidance that will help them act as influential advocates. The Boot Camp provides:
  • A geographically, culturally, and demographically diverse group of 15 chefs
  • A unique destination to facilitate group cohesion
  • Policy and media training by industry and political experts on specific food-system topics
  • Hands-on activities that engage chefs with local natural resources, such as harvesting, visits to local farms, slaughterhouses, fisheries and other producers
  • A collaborative dinner prepared by the participating chefs
  • Educational sessions about pressing food-system topics, such as the Farm Bill or sustainable fisheries
  • Exposure to campaigns of partner organizations, such as the Pew Charitable Trusts’ campaign against antibiotic overuse in livestock
  • Strategic brainstorming about effective action points and next steps 
In addition to Chef Mitchell, attendees were:
  • Jamie Simpson, Milan, OH
  • Bill Telepan, New York, NY
  • Christian Thornton, Martha's Vineyard, MA
  • Lee Anne Wong, Honolulu, HI
  • JBF Award Winner Sherry Yard, Los Angeles, CA
  • Victor Albisu, Washington, D.C.
  • David Carson, Atlanta, GA
  • Michael Leviton, Boston, MA
  • JBF Award Winner Emily Luchetti, San Francisco, CA
  • Jud McLester, Chicago, IL, Tabasco's Executive Chef
  • Seamus Mullen, New York, NY 
The Boot Camp took place on Avery Island, home to the McIlhenny Company, producer of Tabasco.



Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Charleston Wine + Food Gives 2015 Culinary Legend Award to CIC Program Specialist Marion Sullivan

"Food writer Marion Sullivan, chef Kevin Johnson, bartender Joe Raya and chef Mike Lata today were honored by the Charleston Wine + Food Festival for their contributions to the local culinary community.
"While the annual awards are designed to recognize individuals whose influence is measured in years or decades, Sullivan – recipient of the Laura Hewitt Culinary Legend prize – used her acceptance speech to praise other trailblazers whose work she feared might be forgotten.
“'It is my duty to call out the ones who paved the way,' she said, citing chefs Donald Barickman, Frank Lee and Louis Osteen.
"We have so much to toast today,' said Sullivan, a program specialist at the Culinary Institute of Charleston. 'We’re now facing that teenage decade when anything can happen.'”
Read more here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Welcome New Hospitality & Tourism Department Chair Nathan Rex


Nathan Rex is a Culinary Institute of Charleston alumnus, holding associate degrees in both Hospitality and Tourism Management and Culinary Arts Technology. After graduating from the CIC, Nathan continued his education at the University of South Carolina where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management. He later earned an MBA with a concentration in Finance from the University of Nevada.

A native of Garden City,South Carolina, Mr. Rex most recently served as the resort manager for the 3,000-room luxury property The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. His hospitality experience also includes positions as the director of front office at the Ravella Resort, assistant executive housekeeper and assistant front desk manager at the MGM Grand, and front office manager at the Platinum Hotel, all in Las Vegas. 


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Congrats to CIC Alum Chelsey Conrad!


Congratulations to CIC alum Chelsey Conrad, who is moving up to take over the chef position at Charleston's highly popular Butcher & Bee. Conrad cut her culinary teeth in Chef Frank Lee's kitchen at Slightly North of Broad. She started as a sous chef at Butcher & Bee and was slated to move to Nashville to open a new Butcher & Bee there. When the Bee's chef, Stuart Tracy, announced that he was taking a position in Atlanta, ownership advanced Conrad into the top post. Read the announcement in the Charleston City Paper

Monday, February 23, 2015

Ad Featuring CIC Student Featured in The Local Palate



When Yuri Kojima won the first prize in the Limehouse Heritage Pumpkin Contest, her award was featured in an ad in the culinary magazine The Local Palate

Yuri's recipe for Hot and Sweet Miso Kabocha was featured as the vegetarian entree at TTC's Night in the Valley Dinner and Auction.

Here's the recipe:
Hot and Sweet Miso Kabocha
Serves 4

Canola oil
1 kabocha squash, about 1 pound                1/2 pound lean ground pork, crumbled
1 Tbs. tenmenjan (sweet miso paste available at H and L)
1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger                          1 Tbs. minced garlic
1 Tbs. sambal oelek chili paste                    1 cup chicken stock
1 Tbs. soy sauce                                          1 Tbs. sake
2 tsp. sugar                                                 Pinch black pepper   
1 Tbs. water                                               1 Tbs. potato starch
1 tsp. rice vinegar                                       3 scallions, thinly sliced
Japanese sushi rice

Heat canola oil in a fryer or deep pot.

Peel the squash, cut it in half, and remove the strings and seeds. Cut the squash into 1¼-inch pieces. Working in batches if necessary not to crowd the fryer, deep-fry the squash until it is tender when pierced with a toothpick. Remove to paper towels to drain.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the pork and cook it, separating it with a fork, until the juice renders clear. Add the tenmenjan and combine it well. Add the ginger and garlic and cook them until you can smell their aroma. Add the sambal oelek and combine well. Add the chicken stock, soy sauce, sake, sugar, and pepper and bring to a boil. Place the squash on top of the sauce and let the squash absorb the juice from the sauce, about 3 minutes.

Place the water in a small dish and stir in the potato starch to dissolve. Add the dissolved potato starch to the skillet. Add the rice vinegar. Sprinkles the scallions on top and serve accompanied with Japanese sushi rice. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Congrats to CIC Grad Brittany Myers

CIC grad Brittany Myers landed a sweet job with Sallie's Greatest Jams, an all-natural jam company out of Cameron, SC. that pairs fresh herbs with fruits. There are nine flavors, including Strawberry Basil, Fig Sweet Onion Rosemary and Blackberry Spice Sage, and four syrups made from fresh fruit juice and designed for use in cocktails. The company has been an Oprah's Favorites pick and a Garden & Gun magazine Made in the South winner.

Seen here demo'ing product in the new Whole Foods store in Avalon, a mixed-use development in Alpharetta, Georgia, Brittany says that she travels doing demos and is involved in recipe development. Congrats, Brittany! 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Butchery and Charcuterie class is off to a big start



Chef Stefanelli's charcuterie class created this bounty from Keegan-Fillion Farms' pastured pigs.  Look for student-produced lonza, pancetta, salami, chorizo, and ham in CIC's restaurants, 181 Palmer and Relish. The CIC is so proud to work with Annie and Marc Fillion. Our restaurants use their pastured chickens and their eggs in our restaurants and our Farm to Plate classes spend a morning at their farm.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Charismatic CIC grad BJ Dennis is in the news again. Congrats, Chef!




"For now, staying light on his feet is priority for busy Geechee chef."
BJ has his hand in many pots. "His life as head of Chef Benjamin (BJ) Dennis Personal Chef and Catering keeps him on the road quite a bit, and his recent consulting gig with Republic Garden and Lounge on King Street keeps him busy revamping the menu and retraining the staff. Dennis is a classically trained chef and credits local chefs Jeremiah Bacon of the Macintosh and Frank McMahon of Hank’s Seafood with influencing his style, but he gives just as much credit to 'guys who look like me,' such as Nigel Drayton of Nigel’s Good Food in North Charleston, the late 'Miss Barbara' Ellington, who ran breakfast and lunch at Hyman’s Seafood, and Edmond Floyd, who worked at Anson."

It's a great story. Read it here