james beard in nashville

September 7th, 2008 · 28 Comments

catfish coujonettes with tartar sauce
(joe shaw from
the standard – nashville, tn)

i love nashville.  i really do.  and i live here by choice because, well, i could pretty much live anywhere i wanted.  i’m, for the most part – unencumbered.  yet i live here, in the buckle of the bible belt – to the amusement of some and the befuddlement of others… 

now, to say that nashville, a city of well over a million – is perhaps wanting in a few areas, would certainly be an understatement. the lack of worldly culture, the fashion, the food scene… don’t even get me started. but even i must admit that it’s suddenly coming along in leaps and bounds. so even if i am not louis vuitton and tiffany’s, or anthropologie and urban outfitter’s target demographic, it’s somehow comforting for me to see that they’ve hung their shingles here – as have whole foods and trader joe’s (thank you god.) 

yes, i love nashville.  but it’s all because i am part of a community of people that i deeply respect and adore.  after 10 years of working closely with the songwriting community and now more recently, steeping myself in the food world, i’ve encountered some of the greatest people i could have ever wished to know.  talented, worldly and brilliant people with big hearts and open minds… and that trumps culture and fashion – even restaurants, any day.  plus our music scene will KICK YOUR ASS no matter where you’re from and no, it ain’t just country…  and well, if you think i’m wrong – think again…

so, lookie here!  it was the james beard foundation’s maiden voyage to our fair city – a dinner to benefit ‘an oral history project that seeks to preserve the lore and techniques of classic american cooking traditions’.   so like ok, it’s not exactly starving children in need, but hey, i for one love a good story and i’m just glad they deemed nashville worthy of the event.  so last thursday night, we were graced with the lovely presence of diane harris brown, beard’s director of educational and community programming – who, by the way does a STUNNING julia child impersonnation… and then there were the chefs, hailing from the southern regions…

so, the first shot of the evening (above), and my white balance was on the wrong setting.  i am really so very not a photographer – i just play one on my blog.  but boy did i ever come across as effective with my nikon rig.  the flash diffuser really pushed my look over the top into pure professionalism on steroids.  so i did what i could within my limited knowledge of how the buttons and settings work, and here was the event in pictures, be it as it may…

duck breast bruschetta with sweet potato spread and onion sweet pepper relish
(joe shaw from
the standard – nashville, tn)

shucked oyster shooters with mennonite tomato puree, horseradish and pickled okra
(joe shaw from
the standard – nashville, tn)

open faced blt with candied hog jowl bacon and randy barnes heirloom tomatoes
(joe shaw from
the standard – nashville, tn)

the little blt’s were by far the best of the hors d’oeurves – but as you know, it’s hard to beat candied bacon

house cured salami with lima beans sott’olio and sartori reserve sarvecchio parmesan
(tandy wilson from
city house – nashville, tn)

low country shrimp torchon, vanilla cream corn panna cotta and smoked blueberry
(tyler brown from
capitol grille – nashville, tn)

i thought this was quite good…

over easy raviolo with gardner grove pullet egg, sage brown butter, kabocha squash and chanterelles
mike lata from FIG – charleston, sc)

ATTENTION !!! … this dish from mike lata was STUPENDOUS.

black eyed pea dusted sunburst trout with benton’s country ham and field pea ragout
(john fleer from
sunburst trout company – canton, sc)

collard wrapped dw farms lamb barbacoa with spiced peach compote
(martha stamps with karla ruiz from
martha’s at the plantation – nashville, tn)

peanut crusted eaton creek sweet potato pudding pie with sky high meringue and jack daniels plum sauce
(martha stamps with garret wallace from
martha’s at the plantation – nashville, tn)

a huge thank you to martha stamps from martha’s at the plantation for making the evening both possible and a success…

Tags: local

28 responses so far ↓

  • 1 nicole // Sep 7, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    Wow. Wish I would have known about the event – everything looks yummy!

  • 2 Amy at Minimally Invasive // Sep 7, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    Argh. Serious jealousy here.

  • 3 Mary Coleman // Sep 7, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    Nashville is a great place to live and eat! And just keeps getting better all the time!

  • 4 Julia // Sep 7, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    It all looks fantastic! I especially love the play on shrimp and grits!

  • 5 Robert // Sep 7, 2008 at 9:01 pm


    Interesting twist. This aint my Grandmas southern cooking.

    But, it is strangly familier……..

  • 6 Heather // Sep 7, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    Heh, now I see why you go on raw food retreats every so often. Is coujonette derivative of the Spanish cojone?

  • 7 Vincent // Sep 8, 2008 at 1:20 am

    in the words of my uncle anthony… “holy crap”

    blackeyed pea dusted sunburst trout – beautiful.

    the raviolo dish seems a bit early – it’s like i would want to wear a coat eating that one. sage hangs in the back of my mind…its one of my fall flavors. it can make a lusty feeling in summer, i just like it in the fall.

    and im kinda over panna cotta. really.

  • 8 Donald // Sep 8, 2008 at 5:48 am


    Wish I’d known about that event; may have driven up for it. Yeah, as if normal people like me could have gotten in!

  • 9 Mari // Sep 8, 2008 at 7:31 am

    Regardless of what you say, your pictures most certainly made my mouth water, especially that last picture of the sweet potato pudding…YUM!

  • 10 Jack // Sep 8, 2008 at 9:39 am

    Can I just touch the hem of your garment? YOU ROCK!!

  • 11 Ethel // Sep 8, 2008 at 10:49 am

    Well well well Nashville made the food map. How fun it must have been to be part of the James Beard experience. Loved hearing about it and the photo’s are just FAB. I want that pullet egg dish NOW. If you think that’s the best then it was the best. You are my food maven. I enjoyed reading this blog sooooooooooooo much, still ahing and ohing over each dish.

  • 12 Brittany // Sep 8, 2008 at 11:45 am

    What fun! look at all those little nummies!

  • 13 Susan Symonson // Sep 8, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    This was great to see because i have heard about the Nashville food scene and it’s good to see some progress is being made! Loved your post. The James Beard Foundation does great things.

  • 14 Luca // Sep 8, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    Go Nashville! Loved seeing the pictures. So just to make you jealous now (my turn) the weather here up in Napa is wonderful this time of year. You should see our tomatoes! Found your site from Carol at French laundry at Home. She’s doing Alinea’s book next! Crazy!

  • 15 Traci @ Soup of The Day // Sep 8, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    PLUS — don’t you have that doctor, Travis Stork? (Is that his name- The Bachelor guy)? He’s cute.

  • 16 Greg in Chattanooga // Sep 8, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    Think James Beard will ever come to Chattanooga? I am laughing myself silly over the thought. Well, we are closer to Blackberry Farm than you are! Start saving for your weekend in heaven! I have never commented on your blog before but have been an avid reader for some time now. I really enjoy reading. Thanks.

  • 17 Lesley // Sep 8, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    My hope is someday Nashville will be, um something enough to support some meatless fine dining and maybe even an event like this that I could attend.

    Yes, I know. Won’t happen. But it would be nice to have a really nice all-vegetarian restaurant. Even Memphis used to have one.

  • 18 Robert // Sep 8, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Almost speechless. You were asking about produce in Alaska, well I don’t get goodies like that.

    Suddenly the egg yolk ravioli is everywhere.

    I was hoping those shooters were bloody mary’s.

    What a lovely meal and thanks for the share.

  • 19 maybelles mom (feeding maybelle) // Sep 8, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    delicious. I love those shooters.

  • 20 melissa // Sep 8, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    I definitely choose to live where I live as well and for a plethora of reasons. I’m glad you enjoy being where you are.

    I want the catfish, the oyster shooter and the raviolo please.


    I’m waiting. *Tap tap tap*

  • 21 melissa // Sep 8, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    P.S. Have I told you lately you’re the best thing ever? Cause, really, you’re, like, the best thing ever. 😉

  • 22 Laura // Sep 8, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    Um… you have a Trader Joe’s? GGRHHGHHHGGDAMMITGGRRR.

    All those great restaurants we have in Louisville that I told you about all these months ago? Screw them. I want a Trader Joe’s.

  • 23 ponyboat // Sep 8, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    OK, I know what I want now! You did get the recipe for the ravioli(o), yes?

  • 24 chefectomy // Sep 8, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    C – I really love southern food and the south is finally getting it’s due in larger cities where innovation is fusing with tradition. The low country shrimp torchon, vanilla cream corn panna cotta and smoked blueberry gig is so right on. Very enjoyable – Thanks.


  • 25 Robert // Sep 9, 2008 at 9:21 am


    “The low country shrimp torchon, vanilla cream corn panna cotta and smoked blueberry gig is so right on.”

    Im thinking thats just about the exact opposite of my comment. Forgive them, Grandma.

  • 26 Kitchen Confit // Sep 9, 2008 at 9:59 am

    A wonderful homage to what Nashville has to offer. And thanks for the great pictures of the food from the event. Looks wonderful.

  • 27 Lauren // Sep 9, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    I’m sick right now as you well know, but I think I could be miraculously cured by Martha’s at the Plantation. I’m serious. Have you other readers read the menu?

  • 28 jodycakes // Sep 9, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    In the words of Jerry Maguire…you had me at BLT…and mini at that…OMG…all of these looked to die for…I had never thought to do pickled okra with an oyster shooter…had something similar (perhaps a spicy green been or pickled green tomato) at Commander’s Palace once…LOVELY
    And yes, your music scene does kick ass

  • 29 Olaifa // Oct 16, 2015 at 3:17 am

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