Monday, May 18, 2015

CIC Plays an Important Role in the Nat Fuller Dinner

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.

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