CONCH REVIVAL PICNIC

The Conch Revival Picnic is an annual picnic dinner that features and highlights classic Key West/Conch cuisine including a variety of classic Key West/Conch recipes, using conch itself, as well as other classical dishes such as old sour, grits and grunts, menuda, ropa vieja, duff, the queen of all puddings, and many other heritage recipes, some inspired by the Key West Woman’s Club Cookbook.
 
Hold the Date!

The 3rd Annual Conch Revival Picnic is Scheduled for
Wednesday January 24, 2018!

 

History

The Conch Revival Picnic was conceived by Key West locals Dianne Zolotow, Nancy Klingener, and Martha Hubbard as an attempt to preserve local Conch culture by documenting and promoting historic recipes which were created and consumed by Conch families for generations, and that are now disappearing from restaurants and dining room tables. 

Driven by the inflow and outflow of many varied peoples over the past several centuries, Key West has a long and rich cultural history. From the Calusa and Tequesta Indians, through the Spanish and English, the Caribbean and Bahamian settlers, and the émigrés from nearby Cuba, the Florida Keys and Key West have been influenced by many different cultures. Although these cultures have come and gone, they have all left their mark, melding together, leaving their influence, and creating a Conch culture that is distinctly different than any of the cultures that influenced its creation. 

Of the many factors that constitute what we know as “culture,” one key factor, which may in fact be the most important or predominant, is cuisine. The foods themselves and the way that they are prepared tell us much about a people, their habitat, their origins, and social interactions. Looking back to the early days of Key West before trains and high-capacity bridges introduced new supply chains for mainland foods, Key Westers survived in creative and resourceful ways. Much of the island’s produce was home-grown, mainly from fruit trees planted before there was a secure source of fresh water. Ingenious ways of preserving fruits and fish were developed and diets relied heavily on the abundant supply of fish and shellfish, supplemented by canned milk, rice, coffee, and other shipped-in commodities.

Unfortunately, like all cultures, changing times can create a loss of important cultural and historic information. This is occurring in the Florida Keys. Of the many restaurants that exist, there are very few, if any, remnants of Conch culture to be found. In fact, with changing times, it is now difficult to find true examples of Conch culture, even in private homes.

In 2016, Chef Martha Hubbard and Isle Cook Key West partnered with the Key West Art and Historical Society to create the Conch Revival Picnic. Chef Hubbard and Isle Cook Key West recruited several local chefs to join her in creating authentic Conch cuisine, recruited local businesses to donate, and the Key West Art and Historical Society created the infrastructure for the event. 


See our Wikipedia Page

First Picnic

The first Conch Revival Picnic was held on August 27, 2016. Although the event was originally scheduled to be held at Fort East Martello, a tropical wave created rain storms that forced a last-minute move indoors, and the event was held at the historic Armory in Key West.

The event was attended by 100 guests and featured local Conch Cuisine prepared by Chefs Martha Hubbard (Culinary Curator, Isle Cook Key West), David Furman (Executive Chef and Owner, Great Events Catering), Doug Shook (Executive Chef, Louie’s Backyard), Paul Menta (Executive Chef, Stoned Crab and Owner, Key West Legal Rum), and Martin Liz (Executive Chef and Owner, Key West Personal Chef). The event also featured music by Ben Harrison.
 

Second Picnic

The Second Conch Revival Picnic was held on January 11, 2017 at Fort East Martello.

The event was attended by 150 guests and again featured authentic Conch Cuisine prepared by Chefs Martha Hubbard (Culinary Curator, Isle Cook Key West), David Furman (Executive Chef and Owner, Great Events Catering), and Michael Mosi and Drew Wenzel (Chefs and Owners of Azur Restaurant). It also featured music by Ben Harrison, wine by Pali Wine Co., a presentation by Grimal Grove. There was also a cooking contest hosted by Analise Smith of Key West Food Tours in which local home cooks were judged on their Queen of All Puddings. The winner of the contest was Colleen Mellies.