The buzz on the streets and the blossoms on the trees should tell us it’s near, but it’s still hard to believe that the eighth BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival is just days away.

Beginning Feb. 28, you’ll see an influx of chefs, authors and culinary luminaries like at no other time in Charleston. In addition to an array of beverage, chef and local personalities who will be signing their books, keep your eyes out for these visiting cookbook authors.

Bruce Aidells

“The Great Meat Cookbook: Everything You Need to Know to Buy and Cook Today’s Meat”

The founder of the Aidells gourmet sausage empire, which he sold in 2002, Bruce Aidells has become a noted expert in meat. He is a contributor to numerous magazines and has written 11 cookbooks. His first book, “Hot Links and Country Flavors” written with Denis Kelly, received the IACP Julia Child Award for the best single-subject cookbook in 1991. Aidells is married to Nancy Oakes, executive chef and co-owner of the San Francisco restaurants Prospect and Boulevard. The latter recently was awarded the James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant.

Sam Beall

“The Foothills Cuisine of Blackberry Farm: Recipes and Wisdom From Our Artisans, Chefs, and Smoky Mountain Ancestors”

Sam Beall grew up on Blackberry Farm in Tennessee, attended the University of Tennessee and the California Culinary Academy and apprenticed at The French Laundry. As the proprietor of the farm’s inn, Beall has been responsible for the accumulation of one of the nation’s best wine cellars as well as the development of Blackberry’s The FarmStead with its heirloom gardens, dairy, creamery, salumeria, honeyhouse and preservation kitchen. The Beall family has turned Blackberry’s 4,000-plus acres into one of the most celebrated properties in the world. This is his second book about Blackberry Farm.

April Bloomfield

“A Girl and Her Pig”

Restaurant: The Spotted Pig, The Breslin Bar & Dining Room + The John Dory Oyster Bar, New York City

A native of Birmingham, England, April Bloomfield honed her craft through kitchens throughout London and Northern Ireland. She spent the summer of 2003 at the legendary Chez Panisse. In February 2004, Bloomfield and restaurateur Ken Friedman opened New York City’s first gastropub, The Spotted Pig. Under her direction, The Spotted Pig has earned one star from the Michelin Guide for six consecutive years. Since 2010, Bloomfield and Friedman’s The Breslin Bar & Dining Room also earned a Michelin star. Named a Food & Wine Magazine “Best New Chef,” Bloomfield and Friedman opened The John Dory Oyster Bar in fall 2010.

Sheri Castle

“The New Southern Garden Cookbook: Enjoying the Best From Homegrown Gardens, Farmers’ Markets, Roadside Stands and CSA Boxes”

Sheri Castle is a professional food writer, recipe developer, recipe tester and culinary instructor whose work has appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers and cookbook anthologies. Castle is a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Slow Foods USA and the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association. She lives with her family in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Chris Cosentino

“Beginnings: My Way to Start a Meal”

A graduate of Johnson & Wales University, Chris Cosentino built his resume at Red Sage in Washington, D.C., and Rubicon, Chez Panisse, Belon and Redwood Park in the San Francisco Bay area. Cosentino became executive chef at Incanto in 2002 in San Francisco, where he features his interpretations of rustic Italian fare. Cosentino is also a co-creator of Boccalone artisanal salumeria and has gained international acclaim as a leading expert in charcuterie. As the Season Four winner of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” television series, his winnings were dedicated to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research.

Charlotte Druckman

“Skirt Steak”

Charlotte Druckman is a journalist whose food writing has appeared in various publications, including The New York Times T Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and Bon Appetit. She recently started a Pastry of the Week column for the Bon Appetit blog and is co-founder of Food52’s Tournament of Cookbooks. Expanding on her Gastronomica article, “Why Are There No Great Women Chefs?” Druckman goes behind the kitchen doors of more than 70 female chefs in the United States in her first book, “Skirt Steak.” She lives in New York City.

Hedy Goldsmith

“Baking Out Loud: Fun Desserts With Big Flavors”

Hedy Goldsmith has a bachelor’s degree in photography and film from the Philadelphia College of Art and graduated with honors from the Culinary Institute of America. Recently awarded a James Beard nomination for Outstanding Pastry Chef 2012, she is the executive pastry chef of The Genuine Hospitality Group of restaurants (Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in Miami and Grand Cayman, Harry’s Pizzeria in Miami). Goldsmith supports a number of causes, including Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which helps raise money and awareness of childhood cancer.

Allison Hooper

“In a Cheesemaker’s Kitchen”

Allison Hooper was one of the first artisan cheesemakers in the United States. Hooper and Bob Reese co-founded the Vermont Butter & Cheese Company in 1984 and started bringing French cheeses to the American table. At the helm of the artisan cheese movement in Vermont and as president of the American Cheese Society 2005-08, Hooper has been a voice for and mentor to U.S. cheesemakers. Vermont Butter & Cheese’s creations have won more than 100 awards nationally and internationally.

Gena Knox

“Southern My Way”

A native of a small town in south Georgia, Gena Knox was influenced by her mother’s love of cooking, the abundance of fresh produce from the garden and the fact that all good meals in her area were home-cooked. In addition to writing cookbooks, Knox and her husband are the founders of Fire & Flavor, a cooking and grilling product company that they started in their garage in 2003. Today, the company sells products such as grilling planks, charcoal and other flavor enhancements to more than 14,000 grocery stores nationwide.

Rebecca Lang

“Southern Living’s Around the Southern Table”

As a contributing editor for Southern Living, Rebecca Lang has been featured in more than 50 cooking segments on the nationally syndicated show “Daytime.” She is a contributing editor for and is the author of the popular column “Girls’ Night In” on the site. Lang has worked on the editorial aspect of more than 30 books, is a noted cooking instructor and the author of four cookbooks. She lives with her family in Athens, Ga.

Ginny McCormack

“Sunday in the South”

Ginny McCormack is a speaker, food writer, cooking instructor and author. She appears regularly on regional and national television and radio. She was a TV chef and home life consultant for the nationally broadcast show “EveryDay” on Family Net Television. She also is a resident judge for Culinary Fight Night in Atlanta and a food columnist for Southern Journal Magazine. She lives with her family in Marietta, Ga.

Zakary Pelaccio

“Eat With Your Hands”

Chef Zakary Pelaccio, founder of the acclaimed New York City restaurants Fatty Crab and Fatty ‘Cue, moved to Old Chatham, N.Y., last year to open a new restaurant in nearby Hudson, Fish & Game. Pelaccio is an active member of Slow Food and is on the advisory board of Heritage Foods USA, which focuses on preserving rare breeds of animals indigenous to the United States. In 2011, he founded the nonprofit The Cooking Room to promote food literacy to students in kindergarten through the fifth grade.

Kathleen Purvis

“Pecans: A Savor the South Cookbook”

Kathleen Purvis has been a journalist since 1978 and food editor, writer and columnist with the Charlotte Observer since 1989. She also is a member and past officer of the Association of Food Journalists and a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and James Beard Foundation, for which she serves as chair of the JBF Leadership Awards. She is a winner of the Missouri Lifestyle Journalism Award in addition to awards from the Association of Food Journalists and the N.C. Press Association.

Art Smith

“Back to the Family”

The executive chef and co-owner of restaurants Table fifty-two and Art in Chicago and Art and Soul in Washington, D.C., as well as LYFE Kitchen in Palo Alto, Calif., and Southern Art in Atlanta, Art Smith spent 10 years as the personal chef to Oprah Winfrey and still coordinates and cooks for the special events that Winfrey hosts around the world. In addition to having served as the special events chef for Martha Stewart Living magazine and a contributing editor to O, the Oprah Magazine, Smith also is the author of three award-winning cookbooks. In 2007, the James Beard Foundation named him Humanitarian of the Year.

John Martin (Hoppin’ John) Taylor

“Hoppin’ John’s Lowcountry Cooking”

John Martin Taylor is the author of four cookbooks. His work has appeared in journals and reviews in Europe and the United States. He is the former food editor of the French-language magazine Ici New York. Taylor is the owner of, a culinary website and mail-order business that grew out of his internationally known Charleston bookstore and cooking school, Hoppin’ John’s, which he opened in 1986. He is considered a leading authority on the culinary history of the South and an expert on Lowcountry cooking.

Fred Thompson

“Fred Thompson’s Southern Sides”

Fred Thompson is a food, wine and travel writer. He is the author of 10 cookbooks, including “Barbecue Nation” and “The Big Book of Fish and Shellfish.”

He is the Weekend Gourmet columnist for the Raleigh News & Observer and publisher of Edible Piedmont, which focuses on food in the Piedmont area of North Carolina.