Travel Advisory: James Beard Dinner in Memphis is Worth the Trip

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Hudman and Ticer
  • Hudman and Ticer
One of the highlights of the Nashville Wine Auction's Pairings Dinner event earlier this month was the course prepared by Tyler Brown of the Capitol Grille and Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman of Hog and Hominy and Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen in Memphis. There was a whole lot of culinary talent represented on that plate, not to mention Andy and Michael's brilliant appetizer of a sort of beignet filled with uni and dusted with a dehydrated lardo powder in lieu of the expected confectioner's sugar. (OK, I guess I DID just mention it, but damn, it was marvelous!)

All three of those chefs were nominated as James Beard Foundation semifinalists for Best Chef in the Southeast, and the foundation has selected Memphis as one of the sites for their traveling Friends of James Beard Benefit series of dinners. On Sunday, April 14, chefs Ticer and Hudman will host five up-and-coming guest chefs from various regions for a seven-course meal: David Posey of Blackbird in Chicago; Jason Fox of Commonwealth in San Francisco; Jason Stanhope of Fig in Charleston, S.C.; Jeff McInnis of Yardbird in Miami Beach; and Stephanie Prida of Manresa in Los Gatos, Calif.

I was fortunate enough to sample some of McInnis and Stanhope's food at the recent Charleston Wine + Food Festival, and I'm on record as being a huge fan of the Memphis boys, so trust me when I suggest that you clear your calendar for that weekend. According to the official event announcement:

The theme of the evening is "Know Your Food, Know Your Roots." Each chef will be encouraged to use products rooted in their respective regions, and to create a dish that symbolizes their "roots" — whether their hometown, their present city, their ancestry or childhood inspirations."

The dinner is a little pricey at $300 per person ($250 if you're a member of the JBF), but proceeds benefit the James Beard Foundation, a not-for-profit culinary organization whose mission is to celebrate, nurture and preserve America’s diverse culinary heritage and future. So you'll be helping out a worthy cause while you enjoy what might be one of the best meals presented in Tennessee this year outside of fried chicken day at Arnold's.

This dinner will sell out, so if you're interested, act soon. Tickets are limited and can be purchased by contacting Brittney Andres, marketing and events manager, via email (brittney@enjoyam.com).

Know Your Food, Know Your Roots
Friends of James Beard Benefit
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen
712 W. Brookhaven Circle, Memphis, TN 38117
5:30 p.m. cocktails, 6 p.m. seven-course Meal
General public $300, JBF members $250
Seven courses including beverage pairings (tax and tip included)

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