I know it is pretty ballsy to start writing about chefs my second post into this blog, but I think anyone who reads this and who knows me and knows him, will understand. One of the most influential people in my career has been “my boy” Ken Vedrinski. I am not sure why I think of him as “mine”, but I do. We have had a very intense connection and he is someone I consider a very close friend.
If it were not for Ken, I would not being doing the work I do today. Which means, the Festival would not exist as it is (might still be happening but probably under someone else’s leadership) and it would have taken longer for the Aquarium to start their Sustainable Seafood program. I also believe Charleston’s culinary scene would not be where it is today if it were not for Ken moving into the city.
Ken is one of the most incredibly talented chefs I have ever met. He is hands down one of the best in Charleston, in the South and in the country. Why he has not received a James Beard award, let alone a nomination baffles me (and a lot of others). The great thing is, it has not stopped him or discouraged him in any way. He is still busting out amazing food at his restaurant and works harder today than he did 10 years ago when we first met. His love for ingredients and showcasing them in new and creative ways, should be commended. It has inspired other chefs and I know he is a mentor to many others.
Before I met Ken, I knew very little about food. Being raised by someone who preferred Bowen’s Island, SeeWee and Wild Wings over a nice meal downtown, I did not get to experience higher end culinary dining. Ken taught me a ton in a quick amount of time and allowed me to get a taste of so many amazing meals.
And, I don’t think I own Ken in any way when I say he is mine. That’s a good thing because a lot of others think of him as theirs as well. Most people in town will say he is one of their favorite chefs, unless he has pissed them off for some reason other than his cooking. Most chefs–both locals and national well-respected chefs–will tell you how talented and amazing his food is. His place is filled almost every night!
Ken is mine because he means so much to me. We have been through so much together. As his publicist, I got to experience so many highs and so many frustrating moments. Believe me, he was that chef who showed up 10 minutes before an event started with half of the food he needed to last throughout the night. But he some how managed to pull it off and be the hit of the party. It is one of the reasons why I love him, but can get so frustrated with him too. We traveled a bunch together and have had some crazy fun times in places like New York City with other chef friends. I have learned to plan to eat for days on any food trip and stay out all night drinking and talking about life’s greatest moments and times.
And for some one you love to gossip with, he is someone I can intimately trust. I could tell him anything knowing he is there to love and protect me. He is just that kind of person.
I could go on and on about him, and I know I will have many more moments to share about him. It is great to know I have a friend (and chef) like Ken in my life!
p.s. Really craving the soft shell crabs I had last week. Hope to be back to see you soon.