Monday, February 20, 2012

'Tennessee Flavors' Salutes Culinary Arts Program and Allan Benton

Posted By on Mon, Feb 20, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Allan Benton
  • Allan Benton
Despite the almost annoying level of bacon worship that has become popular of late among the hipster community, most chefs and foodies will agree that properly smoked hams and bacon are part of what makes Southern food unique and delicious. And there's no better representative of that arcane smoky art than Allan Benton of Madisonville, Tenn. Chefs from around the world make the pilgrimage to his small smokehouse to pay homage to artisan products, and now Mr. Benton has been invited to be the guest of honor at a new event that hopes to become one of Nashville’s best food and beverage celebrations.

"Tennessee Flavors" is a benefit for the Culinary Arts Program at Nashville State Community College. It will be held on Thursday March 8, from 5-8 p.m. More than two dozen of the area’s outstanding chefs, wine and beverage producers and food suppliers are joining together to throw a party at the NSCC Student Services Building on White Bridge Road. Nashville restaurateur Randy Rayburn is one of the organizers of the event, and shares some of the details:

“The Nashville food community is always happy to give generously to Nashville’s charities, arts organizations and other worthy causes, but Tennessee Flavors provides a unique chance to support the future of our own profession,” says restaurateur Randy Rayburn. “One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to scholarships for NSCC culinary students — our future colleagues — and to much-needed kitchen equipment.”

The culinary arts program at NSCC was founded in 1997. It enrolls more than 200 students, and in fall 2011 was forced to turn down another 80 applicants for lack of space. During Tennessee Flavors, professional chefs will be paired with students who will help prepare and serve the evening’s cuisine.

What Rayburn is too modest to share in his press release is that the program was recently named the "Randy Rayburn School of Culinary Arts" in recognition of his efforts through the years to help educate and train culinary professionals who now work in many of Nashville's restaurants.

Tennessee Flavors participants include Jimmy Kelly's, Cabana, Sunset Grill, Midtown Cafe, Tayst, Boscos, Jackson's, Rumba, Provence, Noshville, Fido, Germantown Café, Germantown Café East, Bluebird Cafe, Copper Kettle, Chef Deb Paquette’s new Echo, 1808 Grille, Loews Hotel, The Wild Hare, Flyte, Chef Michael Osborne, CEC, Middle Tennessee Chapter of the American Culinary Federation, Chef Anna Notardonato-Hicks, Tutto Bene Bakery, Chef Cathy Hoormann, Kickin Coffee & Tea.

Tickets, $50 per person in advance, are available online at and can be purchased the day of the event for $60 pp.

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