Got your ticket to BBQ Perspectives, the first-ever public component of Cook It Raw? If not, it’s now officially too late.
The last of the 550 tickets to the upcoming Bowens Island bonanza was sold earlier this week, according to an organization publicist.
Buzz about Cook It Raw has been relatively muted in national food media circles, perhaps because the supremely exclusive event doesn’t fit the standard food festival format. The event’s more analogous to the invite-only Renaissance Weekends beloved by Bill Clinton, where really smart folks gather to trade ideas and inspiration.
Although Cook It Raw has changed slightly with each iteration since debuting four years ago in Copenhagen, the basic framework involves sending a dozen or so young chefs into the wilderness to kill and collect ingredients for a meal that’s supposed to capture everything they’re thinking about the surrounding landscape. The process stretches out over days, which also feature presentations from local culinary experts: The group gathering in Charleston will be addressed by speakers including Nathalie Dupree, Glenn Roberts and John T. Edge.
BBQ Perspectives, at which the Cook It Raw participants will join chef crews from Charleston and Canada to share their interpretations of barbecue, represents the event’s first stab at community outreach. It’s generated the most excitement among fans of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, which in 2011 chronicled Cook It Raw’s visit to Japan, and savvy chefs.
Cook It Raw spokesperson Arlene Stein estimates 30 percent of attendees are coming from out of state.
“I was surprised,” Stein says. “Early on, most of the (registrants) were from Charleston.”
But not all of them: Todd Richards, chef of Atlanta’s The Shed at Glenwood, is driving down for the party.
“It’s the U.S. culinary event of the millennium,” he maintains.