Chris Carter & James Peisker — Co-owners, Porter Road Butcher. Listed as one of the five best artisanal butcher shops in America by Bon Appetit in 2012.
Kristen Gregory — Executive chef, Firefly Grille. Winner, 2013-14 season premiere of Chopped.
Hal Holden-Bache — Executive chef, Lockeland Table, named a 2013 semifinalist for Best New Restaurant in America by the James Beard Foundation.
The competitors are teams of two — with the exception of the Porter Road Butcher duo, each chef gets to have a sous chef assist during the competition. Each team must prepare a dish based on a secret ingredient. Last year’s secret ingredient was maple syrup, which winner Jess Benefield used to prepare a butter-poached New York strip with a green Sriracha-chimichurri, coconut powder and maple syrup soy sauce. That was accompanied with a papaya salad topped with maple syrup candied pecans and a shrimp toast with a sweet maple chili sauce. That dish also won Chef Benefield (now of Two Ten Jack) a spot at the coveted judges’ table for this year’s event. The secret ingredient will once again be supplied by US Foods. I’ve got no early intel on what it may be, but I’m hoping it is something exotic and green.
While you’re watching the competition, you can enjoy drinks from Blue Chair Bay Rum, Four Roses Bourbon, Three Olives Vodka, and Boodles Gin as well as beers from Newcastle, Heineken, and Dos Equis. And there will be more than 20 restaurants and artisan food companies sampling from their menus, including Amerigo, Bar Louie, Boca Loca Cantina, Cafe Fundamental, Drake’s, Jim and Nick’s, Lucky Bamboo, Mere Bulles, Music City Tippler, Nashville Farmers’ Market, Nashville Jam Company, Olive and Sinclair, Opryland Hotel, Qdoba, Salsa, The District and Two Bits.
You can read my round-up of the sampled bites at last year's event in the archive.
Tickets are available online for $45 per person, with all proceeds benefiting Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. If the event does not sell out in advance (it has in the past), tickets may be available at the door.
Wednesday, April 16
6 to 9:30 p.m.
The Commodore Ballroom at Vanderbilt University
310 25th Ave. S.
Tickets (for people 21 and older only): $45