A philosophy you always instilled in me was that change was hard, but change was good. It is hard to make a change when things are good, but I also believe it is important to follow your heart…and your head and take a new path when it presents itself so clearly.
So today I announce a new beginning and not an ending. I have been honored to have started and led such an incredible organization that has really helped Charleston elevate itself as a leading culinary destination. When the thought of a food and wine festival in the city was first discussed there were only a dozen or so restaurants/chefs paving the way, Mike Lata was a young chef at Anson just beginning to think about starting his own place and Johnson & Wales was closing its doors. But dreams were in the making and big things were about to happen. The Festival was an exciting part of that and I am beyond words when I think of where we have come, and what this city has become.
I have a ton of memories, enough to write a book or two. Most of which I cannot share openly because they were private and intended for me to experience. Some have been amazing and I have and will share more with you in the coming years. And some have not been so great. Egos are prevalent and some of the things I have had to deal with were unfortunate. It is a shame that people’s motives are not always pure, but for those who’s are…thanks!
I am leaving the greatest staff there is. It is what is making leaving so hard to do. They breath, live, love, give, care, cry, sweat, hurt…all for the organization and the Festival is extremely lucky to have them. And they will always be a part of my family.
My friends now are far and wide and I have had so many adventures traveling around visiting them. The SIIS tour, Memphis in May, Lambstock, Symposium, Music to Your Mouth, Aspen and New York too many times to count–all have been life changing experiences.
So many will ask why, and my only answer is why not. I never intended to run the Festival and always wanted to get back to doing my own thing. It is time. I am ready.
I will remain a part forever and cannot wait to see what happens next. And to those that loved, supported, championed and cared for me…thank you! I will always be grateful for you and am proud to call you my friend.
Until we meet again,
A little storybook to say it even better: