Food history is hands down my favorite subject. It’s amazing how a meal can shape a culture, and that’s what we’re faced with when the people of Charleston sit down for the recreated Fuller Dinner. The delicious and historical dishes against the rich and conflicted backdrop absolutely make this event worth writing about, definitely beyond the dime-a-dozen new restaurant openings in NYC. I wish I could find something as cool as things happening near me, but I think I might have to drive down to Philadelphia to get anywhere close.
“Yes.” That was Kevin Mitchell’s answer when he was approached by food historian Dr. David Shields to take on the part of 19th century African-American chef Nat Fuller and reenact an 1865 iconic biracial banquet that took place in Charleston, South Carolina. A year later, along with key Charleston community members, Mitchell and Shields pulled off one of the most significant post-Civil War events to happen in the South—again.
Chef Nat Fuller
Nat Fuller was born in 1812 on a plantation on the Ashley River in Charleston. He was sold several times before he was bought by William Gatewood, a 20-year-old lottery agent from Virginia. At age 15, Fuller began his training as a butler and a gourmet cook, because Gatewood was interested in increasing his social standing in Charleston. Fuller apprenticed under some of the best cooks in the area. He had a talent for cooking and became…
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