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It was cold and I had a sore back from a tennis match, but I toughed it out to attend last Friday’s Trident Technical College’s A Night in the Valley Vintners Dinner and Auction benefitting the Culinary Institute of Charleston students and Trident Technical College Foundation.

The golf cart ride from the back of the parking lot to the entrance let me know that it was going to be a packed house and a fun filled event. Hundreds of guests poured into the College Center greeted by students in chef coats and smiling faces. Once I got past check-in, guests were ushered through the halls to one of the Kitchen Classrooms for champagne and hors d’oeuvres. The kitchen was jammed packed. TTC students were partitioned behind prepping stations offering guests a behind-the-scenes look into the world of culinary mayhem. Once I had my fill of champagne, I headed to the silent auction area in hopes of bidding on a nice spa treatment. You can always count on a fabulous local spa package to be up for grabs. As I made my way from table to table, I ran into a couple of friendly faces. My good friends Thetyka and Jermaine Husser (he’s the executive director of Lowcountry Food Bank) had their eyes on the Maine in May cottage. They thought it would be a good anniversary getaway.


The doors of the ballroom opened around 8ish, and guests were introduced to the night’s theme “A Night in the Valley of Italy”. The room made quite an impression with the soft scalloped canopies of fabric hanging through-out and four large LCD screens with images of the Italian countryside and city scenes. The seated dinner was setup for a four-course gourmet wine dinner with black linens and classic gold Chiavari chairs. The centerpieces of antique gold-leaf bread baskets atop a vase of grapes and water added a nice touch. Kudos goes out to the TTC students who were very attentive during the dinner service. They did a spectacular job offering up information about the night’s courses and wine pairings.


The live auction followed, which was quite lively. Auctioneer Doug Warner and host Tom Crawford had the task of taming the enthusiastic crowd during the presentation of the 11 incredible items. The most popular was the Dine on the Skyline. This package consisted of a once-in-a-lifetime experience for 12 culinary connoisseurs to arrive at the Charleston Place Hotel where they will enjoy a bottle of champagne.

A horse-drawn carriage will then deliver them to Terri Henning’s fabulous People’s Building penthouse, which overlooks the city and harbor. Charleston Grill executive chef Michelle Weaver will prepare an unforgettable five-course dinner paired with fine wines. Charleston Grill G.M. Mickey Bakst is to thank for making this package possible which went for an astounding $8,000. Overall, more than $295,000 was raised. Cin Cin!