Guerilla Cuisine Dinner for Darkness to Light
by Sarah Doochin
photographs by Caroline Martin
Guests gathered at the colorful Michael Mitchell Gallery to celebrate the motto of Guerilla Cuisine: “Eat well, love much” in honor of Darkness to Light, a grassroots nonprofit aimed at preventing childhood sexual abuse through public awareness. The 70 guests in attendance ate well, indeed, enjoying food from an array of local chefs and those of Charleston’s Guerilla Cuisine, the city’s only underground supper club. Founded by Jimihatt, Guerilla Cuisine began as a social, culinary, and artistic experiment, bringing together passionate chefs, farmers, and talented artisans to create a singular culinary experience.
And this night didn’t disappoint. Guests were pleased to find themselves at the elegant Michael Mitchell Gallery, where vibrant natural imagery popped from the high, white walls. Mitchell, a gracious host and an involved member of the Lowcountry community, co-hosted the event with his advertising director, Tyler Hill, and the two generously agreed to donate 20 percent of any art sold during the event to Darkness to Light.
After an hour of mingling among the vast, bright room, guests took their seats at long, narrow tables draped in white linen. Jewel-toned flowers spilled from the simple black centerpieces, their colors hinting at autumn. The 10-course meal began with a single pearly clam draped in a bacon miso jus. As guests wound their way through the leisurely courses, the live psychedelic jazz band Tom Swift and his Electric Cohorts gave way to a more relaxed, retro jazz form, creating a dreamy, mellow mood in the gallery. The dishes were creative and loosely Asian-inspired, ranging from thinly sliced cobia fish with pear chow chow and hot sauce vinaigrette to pho broth with shitake mushrooms and turmeric scrambled tofu to beef tongue pastrami with “brusselkraut,” sauerkraut made from thinly sliced brussel sprouts.
While the ovens gave out by the sixth course, the chefs handled the crisis gracefully, staying true to their promise of 10 beautiful courses. By the time the clock struck 11 p.m. and the first dessert, a palate-cleansing pineapple sorbet with shaved coconut bread and basil seed, was placed on the tables, guests were no longer looking at their watches; instead, they were cozy among friends as if sipping wine in their own dining room. Guerilla Cuisine’s commitment to the meal reflected the compassion inherent in the event’s mission: to raise $10,000 for Darkness to Light.
Darkness to Light was created in Charleston in 2000 by Anne Lee with the mission of reducing the incidence of child sexual abuse through public awareness and education. A survivor of sexual abuse herself, Anne saw a need for an adult prevention program in Charleston. Through media campaigns and community based prevention initiatives, Darkness to Light aims to ultimately change the way our nation cares for and protects its children.