A collection of essays exploring the achievements and influence of Edna Lewis, the legendary chef who once worked at Middleton Place, will make an early debut at next year’s Charleston Wine + Food Festival.
“Edna Lewis: At The Table with an American Original,” will officially celebrate its launch the following month in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, but editor Sara Franklin will participate in a March 1 dinner at Alhambra Hall featuring contributors John T. Edge, Mashama Bailey and Toni Tipton Martin.
“It’s a terrific volume, and I’m really proud of it,” says Franklin, who previously conducted an oral history of Judith Jones, the editor of a long shelf of landmark American cookbooks, including Lewis’ “The Taste of Country Cooking.”
That volume provided the jumping-off point for an episode of "Top Chef Charleston," during which most competitors admitted they’d never heard of Lewis. Franklin hopes to brighten the spotlight on Lewis with the book, intended to “penetrate the mythology and articulate the cultural legacy around (Lewis), revealing the paths and opportunities she made possible for American cooks and food writers of all races, genders, and ages.”
In addition to the essayists attending the Charleston Wine + Food Festival event, writers including Kim Severson, Michael Twitty, Francis Lam, Nathalie Dupree and Alice Waters also were tapped to reflect on their encounters with Lewis as a friend, chef or cooking instructor.
“The Edna Effect” is one of a few new programs planned for the festival, which has slightly scaled back its number of offerings to 109 workshops, meals and parties. Other events on the Feb. 28-March 4 festival schedule include a live-fire cooking and wine-drinking bonanza at Lowndes Grove Plantation; a Beaujolais tasting with New York Times critic Eric Asimov; and seafood dish sampling at Bowens Island Restaurant.
“This five-day culinary adventure offers something for everyone,” spokeswoman Alyssa Maute Smith says.
Among the visiting chefs on the 2018 lineup are Gabrielle Hamilton, Steven Satterfield, Maneet Chauhan and Curtis Duffy.
A complete schedule of events will be posted at charlestonwineandfood.com on Wednesday at 8 a.m., with tickets available for sale starting Thursday at 8 a.m.