In case you need any more reasons to attend what should prove to be a fantastic dinner featuring John Fleer of Canyon Kitchen at Lonesome Valley in Cashiers, N.C., Ryan Smith of Empire State South in Atlanta, Tandra Watkins of Ashley's at the Capital Hotel in Little Rock, Ark. and Taylor Ricketts of the Delta Grill in Greenwood, Miss., organizer Thomas Williams has added a little more firepower to the kitchen. Jason McConnell, owner and executive chef of Red Pony, Sol and 55 South in Franklin, and Hal Holden-Bache of the eagerly anticipated Lockeland Table will be preparing the passed hors d' oeuvres before the meal, and you can bet that they'll be looking to impress with all of those other talented chefs in the house that night.
Williams has also assembled a tremendous silent auction from his compatriots in the food world, so be sure to bring your checkbook and some good friends to split the bidding with on the big ticket items. Here's just a partial list of what will be under the gavel and at the silent auction table:
• Ramp-hunting trip with with Allan Benton including lunch fixed stream side with an array of Benton's country ham and bacon cornbread and ramps and potatoes.
• Day on Cruze Dairy Farm making buttermilk, chocolate, whole milk, butter, and ice cream and leaving with assorted products.
• Viking Culinary weekend with Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen in Memphis or Stephen Stryjewski from Cochon in New Orleans with accommodations at The Alluvian in Greenwood, MS.
• Frank Stitt weekend in Birmingham including dinner for four at Bottega one night and Highlands the next with custom designed menu and wine pairing by Pardis and Frank Stitt. This package also includes a personalized cookbook from Frank.
• Viking wine cooler.
• Two Southwest Airline tickets to anywhere Southwest flies.
• Dinner for 6 people with wine pairings and accommodations at the heralded Capital Hotel in Little Rock, AR.
• Memphis culinary weekend including dinner for four with wine pairing at Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen one night and Restaurant Iris the next night.
• A pasta making class with Tom Lazzaro of Lazzaroli's Pasta with the winning bidder leaving with an assortment of fine pastas and sauces.
• Pitmaster class by Pat Martin teaching the art of cooking whole hog West Tennessee style.
• Whole Hog butchering class by Porter Road Butcher.
• Weekend getaway at Lonesome Valley in Cashiers, NC, including dinner with wine pairing and a gourmet picnic the next day all crafted by Chef John Fleer. This package also includes accommodations in quaint cabins on the property.
• Dinner at Lockeland Table
• Wine lots from some of Nashville's premier private collections
This will be one of the culinary highlights of the year, and if past events are any indication, one helluva good time. Don't miss out!