Chef BJ Dennis
Chef BJ Dennis seasons black drum before cooking them over coals at Joseph Fields Farm on John’s Island.
Dennis and Marvin Ross of Peculiar Pig Farm in Dorchester tend the fires. Dennis occasionally hosts live-fire cooking suppers on the property, including a sold-out event for Charleston Wine + Food next month.
Okra, collards, and shrimp develop a subtle smoky flavor while being cooked over coals.
Dennis’s wife, Shenay, and nine-month-old son, Mekhi, at Joseph Fields Farm.
The coast of Dominica, where Dennis visited on his way back from a research trip in Trinidad and Tobago
Harvesting coconuts in Dominica
Prepping nutmeg and raw cacao to make a sweet called “coconut tablet.”
In Tobago, Dennis found benne and coconut candies similar to what Gullah women sold in Charleston in the post-Colonial era.
Boats on the beach in Tobago.
A breakfast plate in Trinidad.
Clay-oven baked pastries are typically sold on the beach.
A selection of dried peas in Benin, where Dennis traveled with culinary historian Michael Twitty to trace links to the Lowcountry
Pounding yam fufu, a West African staple.
A stew made with white peas.
A fishing boat in Angola.
Dennis on the beach in Angola.
Dennis checks the rice for doneness.
Putting the final touches on his roasted ducks.
Flipping black bass on the cinder-block oven in preparation for the family supper.
Corn bread cooking over the coals.
Dennis traveled to Trinidad in 2016 with culinary historian Dr. David Shields to search for rice strains related to the West African red bearded rice that once sustained enslaved Africans in the Lowcountry. Hill rice in seed form and hulled, with corn.
Rice in the field.
Unhulled rice drying in storage.
Carolina Gold rice with tumeric and oysters cooked over coals.
Duck and black bass roasted in a cinder-block pit and served over collards with shrimp and Carolina Gold rice studded with oysters
Gather Round: Dennis’s family and friends, including hosts Helen and Joseph Fields (in green), dig into the feast.
What BJ has on his plate, including pop-up dinners at Joseph Fields Farm, as well as a cookbook and brick-and-mortar in the works