Taste of Music City will again feature an opening night reception 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, June 3, at Public Square Park downtown. The kickoff event will feature local breweries with selections available for your sampling pleasure. Admission is $25.
On Saturday from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m., the party expands to include Deaderick Street as downtown turns into a giant tasting pavilion where festivalgoers can buy tickets to sample food and drink from 50-plus of Nashville's favorite restaurants, as well as all of the best local breweries in Nashville and Tennessee in the beer garden, or take a walk through the Jack Daniel's Distillery Tour Experience. Families can enjoy live music all day, a Kids Zone and street performers. The Saturday festival portion of the weekend offers free admission and a pay-as-you-go system for food and drink samples. For a list of participants and more information, visit the Taste of Music City website.
As if that wasn't enough, festival organizers have added two new components to the weekend with Savor Nashville, a Nashville Lifestyles event that brings in six nationally prominent chefs (all James Beard Award winners), who will team up with several Nashville chefs. Here's the official rundown of Savor Nashville:
Savor Nashville kicks off with a VIP celebrity chef dinner on Saturday, June 4, at 7 p.m. at the Hilton Nashville Downtown. Celebrity guest chefs will partner with esteemed local chefs for a six-course gourmet meal featuring locally sourced ingredients. Grammy, ACM and CMA Award-winning songwriters Tim Nichols and Craig Wiseman will provide a special acoustic performance with surprise guests. Tickets are $150 per person, which includes access to a silent auction with 100 percent of auction proceeds benefiting Community Food Advocates.
The six visiting chefs are all James Beard Award winners: Robert Del Grande, executive chef and partner of the renowned Cafe Annie in Houston; “Godfather of American Cuisine” Larry Forgione; Bob Kinkead, chef and owner of Kinkead’s in Washington, D.C.; Bradley Ogden, executive chef for San Francisco's renowned Campton Place Hotel; Lydia Shire of Locke-Ober restaurant of Boston; and Norman Van Aken of Norman’s in Orlando.
Local chefs participating in Saturday night’s dinner include Matt Bolus of Watermark, Matt Simonds of Nashville Downtown Hilton, Brian Uhl of Midtown Cafe/Sunset Grill/Cabana, and Megan Williams of Capitol Grille, with more to be announced.
On Sunday, June 5, at 2 p.m., Nashville chefs will compete in a shrimp & grits cook-off at the Hutton Hotel. Visiting chefs will judge to determine the winners, while guests sample the dishes and enjoy live entertainment. Tickets are available to the public for $40 per person. Participating restaurants include Bound’ry, Cabana, Delicioux, The Dogwood Room at Park Manor, F. Scott's, Fish & Co., Red Pony Restaurant, The Standard at Smith House, Union Station and 1808 Grille, with more to be announced.
Those are definitely some big hitters coming to town to cook for you on Saturday night. I've been fortunate enough to taste Chef Forgione and Chef Ogden's food in the past, and I promise you won't be disappointed. Add to that the opportunity to see and enjoy their work with some of our local culinary aces, and it should be an evening to remember.
The shrimp and grits competition could definitely also be interesting. This ubiquitous Nashville menu item is ripe for updating, and it will be a challenge to see how the chefs offer a new spin on two fairly plain ingredients. My moneys on smoked gouda making a featured appearance in someone's dish.
For ticket information, go here.