The first event, June 4 at new venue Westfield, showcases five chefs from Rick Erwin Dining Group who will present their dishes on their own merit as chefs and not necessarily highlight their restaurants’ offerings. Their own tastes and specific skills, along with their combined decades of culinary experience in kitchens around the globe, will be on display for guests to get to know them in a more intimate and personal setting.
Paired with those bites will be five boutique wines from Mission Grape, the Upstate’s only locally based wine distribution company, founded by Matt Tebbetts. Each wine will be available for purchase by the bottle or case that evening.
“TOWN aims for elevated yet accessible experiences, and this event falls directly in line with that,” says TOWN editor-in-chief Blair Knobel. “Our goal is to bring together best chefs with exceptional wines in beautiful spaces. Early June will be the perfect time to sample and savor the moment with friends at Westfield — a gorgeous, modern update of a former warehouse near the Swamp Rabbit Trail.”
With the tagline “Rare. Exclusive. One of a kind.” TOWN Uncorked is poised to offer food and wine connoisseurs a unique local experience multiple times a year. The fall event already in the works will be announced first to guests of the June 4 Uncorked.
The atmosphere, designed by TOWN style editor Laura Linen, will reference an evening stroll through a European cafe-lined street, she says, complete with music coming from a street musician playing classical Spanish guitar.
“The idea is to travel around and pause to taste and sample from each ‘cafe,’ which are the chef stations,” Linen says.
The setup will include plenty of seating for guests to sit and enjoy each pairing as they are intended rather than breezing through the food and wine stations separately, she says.
The evening’s chefs are at the executive level within the dining group:
1 of 5
Chef Josh Thomsen Executive Chef Rick Erwin’s Eastside / Saltwater Kitchen
Chef Scott Kroener Executive Chef Rick Erwin’s West End Grille
Chef Brandon Hobbs Executive Chef of Catering
Chef Mark Grasso Executive Chef Level 10 / Rick Erwin’s Clemson
Chef Tony Kzaz Executive Chef of Nantucket Seafood
Rick Erwin’s Eastside / Saltwater Kitchen
A New Jersey native, Thomsen is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York and honed his skills with some of the most prominent chefs in the country, including Thomas Keller and Michael Mina in the San Francisco Bay area, before moving back east.
Rick Erwin’s West End Grille
Valedictorian of his graduating class at the Culinary Institute of America, Kroener began work in Chicago, Phoenix, Boston, and Kiawah Island. After serving as a partner at New Jersey’s Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, he became Del Frisco’s first chef at its new concept, Del Frisco’s Grille in Manhattan.
After earning a culinary degree from Saddleback College in California, Hobbs began working in a French bistro, and in 2012, he helped open Neapolitan in Laguna Beach. He then moved to Surf and Sand Resort, where he found a mentor in Chef David Fuñe, who has appeared on “Chopped,” “The Great Food Truck Race,” and Food Network.
Level 10 / Rick Erwin’s Clemson
Grasso graduated from Baltimore International College and the New England Culinary Institute with a deep passion for the culinary arts. Grasso has worked for world-renowned chefs such as Noel McMeel, Jose Andres, and more, and has traveled throughout Europe and the United States honing his skills as a chef in celebrated restaurants like The Oval Room in Washington, D.C., and O.C. Whites Seafood & Spirits in St. Augustine, Florida.
Kzaz began his passion for cooking at 16 years old. With a drive to self-educate and experience more, Kzaz moved from Florida to San Francisco and began working for top chefs such as George Marron (Fifth Floor, Aqua) and Michael Mina (at his signature restaurant in the Westin St. Francis Hotel).