Prince's Hot Chicken will add another honor to its ever expanding list of accolades: James Beard Award winner.
This morning, the Beard foundation announced that Prince's would be one of five recipients of the America's Classics Award, a medal bestowed upon Arnold's Country Kitchen in 2009.
From the release:
Hot fried chicken, long popular in towns across the South, has become synonymous with Nashville. A visit to town doesn’t count unless you make the pilgrimage to this joint, set in an abbreviated strip mall alongside a nail salon, for crispy yardbird with a cayenne-soaked coat of armor.
Thornton Prince was the original owner. He was a handsome fellow. One of his girlfriends grew weary of his late night carousing. As a revenge tactic, she doused his Sunday morning favorite, fried chicken, with cayenne pepper. But it backfired: he liked it. By the mid 1930s, Prince and his brothers perfected the process and opened a café, which they originally called the BBQ Chicken Shack.
Current owner Andre Prince Jeffries, great-niece of Thornton Prince, continues the family tradition. She brines her chicken, flours it, fries it to order, and slathers it with a secret layer of hot spices. You can order it from mild, which is not really mild, to extra hot. Ms. Jeffries likes to say, “It’s a 24 hour chicken. Hot going in and hot coming out.” The stack of crinkled dill pickle chips and slices of white bread that come with your chicken are the closest things to life rafts your taste buds will find.
At least thirteen other Nashville restaurants now serve hot chicken. And the Music City Hot Chicken Festival is in its sixth year. More recently, Nashville hot chicken has been recognized as a style of fried chicken. (Like Memphis barbecue, and Charleston she-crab soup, it’s totemic.) Restaurants from Birmingham, Alabama, to New York City now serve twists on the dish, billing it as “Nashville Hot Chicken.”
Other honorees this year include Kramarczuk's (Minneapolis), Frank Fat's (Sacramento), C.F. Folks (Washington D.C.), Keens Steakhouse (New York).
Prince's will receive their award at the foundation's annual gala on May 6.
Top Chef wrapped up its 10th season last night. Boston's Kristin Kish completed her big comeback, having fought through five Last Chance Kitchen episodes, to beat LA's Brooke Williamson in, what I thought, was a frustrating finale. Not because of the result, mind you, but because the Magical Elves production staff changed the finale format in a way which undermined the show's distinctiveness.
There are six things the show could do to improve next season:
Chef Jeremy Ashby of Azur Restaurant in Lexington, Ky.; chef Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia in Louisville, Ky.; chef Jeff Michaud of Osteria Restaurant and Amis Restaurant in Philadelphia; chef Jonathan Waxman of Barbuto in New York; and returning to Nashville is chef Robbie Wilson of Mattei's Tavern in Los Olivos, Calif.
Lee and Waxman are Top Chef and Top Chef Masters alums, and Ashby is a budding rock star in Lexington. It'll be nice to get the chance to enjoy Chef Wilson's food again and find out what he's been up to since leaving town. (You may remember him as the former culinary director for Nashville's M Street restaurant group.)
The chefs will prepare a multiple-course dinner with wine pairings, and guests will enjoy an acoustic performance, along with a silent auction benefiting Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee.
Now it can be told: Tickets just went on sale for this year's Iron Fork, presented by US Foods and set for 6 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, at Rocketown, 601 Fourth Ave. S.
The five chefs who are sharpening their knives and honing their clock-beating skills to fight it out at this year's event are:
Kristin Beringson from Holland House
Jamie Watson from Café Fundamental
Kevin Ramquist from F. Scott's
Bart Pickens from Loveless Cafe
Jessica Benefield from Virago
The judges are:
Laura Wilson (two-time Iron Fork champion) — Nashville Farmers' Market
Vivek Surti — Vivek's Epicurean Adventures
Beth Sachan — Beth Eats
Bites' own Chris Chamberlain — Nashville Scene
Ed Butler — US Foods
The party features bountiful food samples from a variety of restaurants. Admission also includes two drink samples (you must be at least 21 to attend). Admission is $40 ($50 after Thursday, March 14).
Get tickets and info here.
We'll see you there!
Tennessee Flavors, a fundraiser for the school, will be held Thursday, March 14, at Nashville State in West Nashville. Dozens of area restaurants, wineries, distilleries, caterers and food and beverage suppliers will be on hand to make this night quite a party. Participating restaurants include some of my favorites: etch, Copper Kettle, Fido, The Pharmacy, Sunset Grill and (ahem, husband’s favorite) B & C BBQ among many others. Wash down that great food with libations from Corsair Artisan distillery, Jack Daniel’s, Arrington Vineyards, and many more. It’ll be a great way to sample food and drinks from a wide variety of Middle Tennessee businesses. Check out the full list here. Looks to be a heckuva time and that proper planning will include a designated driver or a taxi company on speed dial.
Proceeds from Tennessee Flavors will provide funds for “scholarships and cooking equipment for the NSCC Culinary School students and other program needs at the college.”
Randy Rayburn School of Culinary Arts at Nashville State Community College
Thursday, March 14
5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
120 White Bridge Road
Tickets: $50 per person (includes all food and drink)
Buy tickets here
Before the Woods Amphitheater, before Cafe Fontanella, it was just Barbara Mandrell's li'l ol' house with a helipad out front, where she would hang out and occasionally cook blackened tuna and black bean salsa on TV with Oprah.
But these two products have been the entirety of the company's U.S. product line since 1999. Now it has finally made the leap into the world of premium bourbons that have a little more age on them with a new product, Bulleit 10. Unlike the orange label bourbon, which is bottled at 90 proof after at least six years in oak, Bulleit 10 is slightly hotter at 91.2 proof and is aged for at least a decade, thus the name.
The extra time in wood is immediately apparent on the nose, as a strong aroma of oak masks the more delicate maple and vanilla essences that characterize Bulleit. Give it a second to open up, and the oakiness will dissipate to reveal the caramel notes. At first taste, the flavors are more familiar to fans of Bulleit 10's little brother with the expected caramel and vanilla attacking the palate. But it's not long until the oaky tannins of the aging process start to dry out the sides of your tongue. It's not unpleasant and is certainly very different from most younger bourbons.
A lot of 10-year-old and older bourbons seek to try and smooth out the edges of the whiskey. Since many of them have higher wheat content thanks to that grain's ability to age a little more gracefully, the character of other premium whiskeys is much more muted. Bulleit 10 doesn't aim for the middle of the flavor zone.
It's called The Farm House — in honor of its farm-to-table approach — and the chef-owner is Trey Cioccia. He worked under Tyler Brown as sous chef at Capitol Grille, and later was executive chef at Cantina Laredo in the Gulch.
The menu at The Farm House will focus on "traditional Southern cuisine featuring modern technique and fresh, locally sourced ingredients," the company said in a release today.
Highlights include "house-cured and smoked meats, homemade vinegars and house-preserved produce," it said. Cioccia has lined up "a host of local purveyors including Allan Benton, Fall Mills, Wedge Oak Farm, Willow Farm, Hatcher Family Dairy and Anson Mills."
The restaurant will also offer a "refined bar program" with "high-quality bourbons, house-flavored moonshine, local microbrews and updated takes on Southern staples like the Old Fashioned."
The Farm House, which is scheduled to open in late spring, will serve lunch Tuesday through Friday, dinner Monday through Saturday and brunch on Sunday. Bites will share more details as they become available.
Check out the press release after the jump:
In the interest of equal time and to stimulate a little commentary here, I offer this news of an upcoming protest planned for tomorrow at the Walmart Neighborhood Market on Gallatin Road in East Nashville. I'm not the biggest fan of Wally World for many reasons, but I readily admit that I am not nearly informed enough on their specific practices to comment intelligently on these prickly issues.
Feel free to enlighten me after you read about the event:
South Pittsburg is the perfect home of the festival because it’s also the home of Lodge Cast Iron cookware. Any good Southern cook (or fan of good Southern cooking) can tell you that cornbread has to be made in cast iron. I have two Lodge cast-iron pans myself (both originally belonging to my great-grandmother), including a wedge pan that is specifically made for cornbread baking. Though according to my mother, my forebears would not be pleased at my inclusion of yellow cornmeal. I come from a long line of sugar-less, white cornmeal cornbread makers; my husband and his family are mostly sweet yellow cornbread eaters.
If you’ve got a great cornbread pan and an even better cornbread recipe (using Martha White cornbread mix), then you should think about entering the cook-off. Note, though, that a simple cornbread probably won’t win you a prize. Last year’s winners were Sweet Cornbread Shrimp Cakes with Mango Salsa, Sweet Yellow Cornbread, Sausage & Tomato Pie with a Garlic Cream Drizzle; and Marvelous Mediterranean Chicken Sausage Cornbread Dinner. Nicki Pendleton Wood mentioned some previous winning recipes in this post, too. And all these folks walked away with some fantastic prizes for their efforts. This year’s first-prize package includes $5,000 cash; a 30-inch stainless steel gas range from Five Star Professional Cooking Equipment, and gifts from Lodge Cast Iron and Martha White. Second and third prizes are nothing to sneeze at, either.
If you think you’ve got a winning recipe, you’ve only got a couple of days to submit your entry. The deadline for entering the competition is this Thursday, Feb. 28. A panel will then review each recipe and invite finalists to the actual competition. The entry form and rules are on the Martha White website. Good luck!
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