By David Savard for The Island Connection
Nathalie Dupree won Pursuit of the Podium. She conducted the “Thunder and Lightning Polka” by Johann Strauss during the Sunset Serenade Concert, Friday night, May 24 on the steps of the US Custom House, East Bay St.
Dupree authored fourteen cookbooks that began the New Southern Cooking movement. She was the first cookbook writer inducted into the South Carolina Academy of Authors and won four James Beards Awards including Who’s Who in American Cooking. In 2013, Dupree was named Woman of the Year by French Master Chefs of America, and to top it off, she is the founding president of the Charleston Wine + Food Festival.
Now she can add “conductor” to her list of achievements.
Three additional competitors “sweetened the pot”: Mike Lata, Chef/ Partner at FIG Restaurant, Michelle Weaver, Executive Chef at Charleston Grill and Anthony DiBernardo, Owner/ Pitmaster at Swig & Swine.
The Pursuit of the Podium competition is a fundraiser hosted by the Charleston Symphony Orchestra League, Inc. (CSOL) to support the Charleston Symphony and CSOL Music Scholarships. The free concert by the Charleston Symphony is sponsored by the City of Charleston to kick off the Piccolo Spoleto Festival.
This year’s concert was led by Principal Pops Conductor Yuriy Bekker and included compositions by Stravinsky, Dvorak, Ellington, music from the Silver Screen and selections from jazz trumpet player Charlton Singleton. In addition to Yuriy, the concert featured selections led by Assistant Conductor and Charleston Symphony Youth Orchestra Conductor Kellen Gray— and, of course, Nathalie Dupree.