But as far as a food festival dedicated wholly to Solanum lycopersicum, it's hard to beat Atlanta's Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival, now in its fourth year. This festival benefits Georgia Organics, a nonprofit connecting organic food from Georgia farms to Georgia families, and features some of the Southeast’s best chefs, mixologists and farmers working together to create novel and delicious dishes and drinks featuring the tomato.
The event is organized by chef Ford Fry of JCT Kitchen, one of my favorite restaurants in Atlanta. (Plus, it's right around the corner from IKEA in case you want to skip the Swedish meatballs and lingonberries on your next shopping trip.) This year 37 chefs are teaming with over 30 tomato farmers to prepare a single dish for judges and attendees to sample and vote on. One of our own, chef Tandy Wilson of City House will be heading down this Sunday to represent for Music City.
He'll be competing against a "who's who" of Atlanta's best culinary minds.
Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival Contenders
Jay Swift of 4th & Swift
David Larkworthy of 5 Seasons Brewing Co.
Tyler Williams of Abattoir
Gerry Klaskala of Aria
Andy Carson and Carla Tomasko of Bacchanalia *Won “Best Tasting Dish” in 2011
Shaun Doty of Bantam & Biddy
Todd Ginsberg of Bocado
Carvel Grant Gould of Canoe
Tandy Wilson of City House (in Nashville, TN)
Ryan Smith of Empire State South
Whitney Otawka of Farm 255
Terry Koval of Farm Burger
Harper McClure of The Federalist (in Washington D.C.)
Cooper Miller of The Feed Store
Christopher Schmidt of Floataway Cafe
Ford Fry of JCT. Kitchen & Bar
Brent Banda of La Tavola Trattoria
Eric Ottensmeyer of Leon’s Full Service
Zeb Stevenson of Livingston Restaurant + Bar
Chris Hall of Local Three
Steven Satterfield of Miller Union
Donald Sargent of Morelli’s Gourmet Ice Cream *Won a “Special Mention” in 2011
Drew Belline of No. 246
Adam Evans of The Optimist and Oyster Bar at The Optimist
Andrew Smith of Ormsby’s
Nick Rutherford and Molly Gunn of The Porter
Hector Santiago of Pura Vida *Won “Best Presentation” in 2011
Kevin Rathbun of Rathbun’s, Kevin Rathbun Steak, and Krog Bar
Linton Hopkins of Restaurant Eugene and Holeman & Finch Public House *Won “Best Booth” in 2011
Ron Eyester of Rosebud and The Family Dog
Scott Serpas of Serpas True Food
Drew Van Leuvan of Seven Lamps
Jessica Hanners of Souper Jenny
Christopher Neff of Sprig
Eddie Hernandez of Taqueria del Sol *Won “People’s Choice for Best Tasting Dish” in 2011
Chris Marconi of West Egg Cafe
E.J. Hodgkinson of Woodfire Grill
Those are some serious heavy hitters, but I think Tandy will acquit himself just fine. Judges include high-profile foodies like Garden & Gun Deputy Editor Dave Mezz, Esquire restaurant features writer (and Catbird nemesis) John Mariani and actor David Miller, who played Mason Dixon in the original Attack of the Killer Tomatoes movie, who will be choosing the best dish, best beverage and best table decorations during the event.
If you'd like to attend and be part of the judging, tickets are available at the event website.
Go get 'em, Tandy!