Since 2009, some of the world's best chefs have come together at an event called Cook it Raw. Each event is held in a different rural locale with a strong culinary tradition, where for a week the chefs are able to collaborate on ideas and discuss sustainability and creativity.
Each Cook it Raw has been held in Europe except for one event in Japan. This year, the organizers wanted to break the mold further and head to the United States -- and they landed on Charleston, South Carolina. It was an important moment for the Southern city whose food culture has been gaining in popularity and prominence.
Chef Sean Brock, of Husk and McCrady's in Charleston, said that after participating in Cook it Raw Japan he jumped at the chance to bring the event to the South. "Alessandro [Porcelli, the Founder of Cook it Raw] was thinking about doing one in America," Brock said. "When he asked me if I thought Charleston would be a good place, I said absolutely. This is one of the few places in America that has a truly defined cuisine with the history behind it."
Other participating chefs agreed with the unique and important place that Charleston holds in food culture and history. While staying at the historic Middleton Place, Albert Adria of Barcelona's Tickets noted, "I know New York, Chicago, LA, but for me this is a big surprise." Andre Chiang of Singapore's Restaurant Andre observed that, "they chose South Carolina because that's where the really American cuisine started."
For chefs based in the U.S., choosing Charleston felt particularly important for Cook it Raw's first U.S. outing. "When people say American cuisine," Alex Stupak of Empellon Cocina said, "I think the first thing that comes to mind is a hamburger. So i think any movement that is trying to explore, but then also expose, what's kind of always been here is important."
For more from the chefs of Cook it Raw, including Dan Barber of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig and Ben Shewry of Melbourne's Attica, watch the video above.