Feeding a need: Asheville, Charleston chefs unite for charity dinner

STIRRING THE POT: Blind Pig Supper Club founder Mike Moore organized the Asheville and Charleston Underground Chef Collaborative to promote culinary cooperation between the two cities and raise money for worthy causes. Photo by Cindy Kunst

It has been said that too many cooks spoil the broth, but four acclaimed chefs from Asheville and Charleston, S.C., will cream that sentiment on Sunday, Sept. 28, and spoil a lucky few with a six-course dinner — all for a worthwhile cause.

Ivan Candido of The Admiral and Todd Woods of Seven Sows will combine their culinary skills with those of Charleston chefs Nate Whiting of the upcoming 492 and Shane Whiddon, most recently the executive chef at Union Provisions, in the inaugural Asheville and Charleston Underground Chef Collaborative, a production of the Blind Pig and Guerrilla Cuisine supper clubs. For $80 per person, the four chefs will serve up a six-course meal — the menu is a closely guarded secret — in a yet-to-be-disclosed Asheville location.

BABY LOVE: Proceeds from the inaugural Underground Chef Collaborative will benefit baby Mac McCue. Photo courtesy of Jeremy McCue
BABY LOVE: Proceeds from the inaugural Underground Chef Collaborative will benefit baby James “Mac” McCue. Photo courtesy of Jeremy “Soup” Campbell

Executive chef and co-owner of Asheville’s Seven Sows Bourbon & Larder, Mike Moore, who started the Blind Pig Supper Club in 2010 as a way to give back to the community through culinary events, says he is especially excited about this upcoming dinner because it combines the tastes and talents of chefs from two Southern cities known for their progressive and innovative culinary climate.  In October, the chef collaborative will stir the pot and raise funds for charity with a supper club event in Charleston.

The beneficiary of Sunday’s event is James “Mac” McCue Campbell, a 7-month-old boy, born seven weeks prematurely with a condition that meant surgeons had to place most of his digestive organs back inside his stomach cavity. He required a tracheotomy and remains on a respirator. Despite intimidating health odds, Mac has been thriving as he commutes back and forth between his Brevard home and the neonatal and, more recently, pediatric intensive care unit at Asheville’s Mission Children’s Hospital.

Making Mac the focus of Sunday’s supper club event was a no-brainer for Moore, who first met Mac’s father, Jeremy Campbell, known to his friends as “Soup,” in 2006 when both of them kept campers fed and in check at Brevard’s Eagle’s Nest Camp and Outdoor Academy.

“I just want to help them. Soup and I go way back, and I cannot even imagine what it feels like to deal with a situation like that,” says Moore. Campbell remembers that after first learning of Mac’s situation, Moore didn’t even ask how he could help — he just offered.

“My first reaction, when Mike contacted me and said he wanted to dedicate the supper club to us, was ‘Holy cow,'” Campbell says, “followed by a few expletives.”

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