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

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