Chef Jonathan Waxman Talks About Nashville, Kings of Leon and Their Chef-Studded New Food Fest

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As reported yesterday, Nashville is getting a new food and music festival this September. Music City Eats: Nashville Food, Wine & Spirits Festival is the project of Kings of Leon's Caleb and Nathan Followill; Ken Levitan and Andy Mendelsohn of Vector Management (which manages the band); and C3 Presents, the producers of Austin City Limits Music Festival, Lollapalooza and the Austin Food & Wine Festival, among other large events around the country.

Also part of the team is chef Jonathan Waxman of Barbuto restaurant in New York (and Season 2 of Top Chef Masters), who became friends with the Followills. He helped hatch the plan to make the festival a showcase both local chefs and nationally known culinary figures (his buddies, as he puts it). It adds up to a couple dozen chefs, a pretty impressive lineup.

Locals include Erik Anderson and Josh Habiger of The Catbird Seat; Carey Bringle of The Peg Leg Porker; Matt Farley of The Southern; Sarah Gavigan of Otaku South; Joseph Lenn of The Barn at Blackberry Farm; Pat Martin of Martin’s Bar-B-Que; Deb Paquette of Etch; Giovanni Pinato of Giovanni Ristorante; Barclay Stratton of Merchants; and Tandy Wilson of City House, who hosted yesterday's festival announcement.

Besides Waxman, the out-of-town guns include John Besh; Tom Colicchio; Giada De Laurentiis; Mike Lata; Edward Lee; Tim Love; Aaron Sanchez; Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo; Nancy Silverton; Michael Symon; and Trisha Yearwood (who in addition to being a country star has authored best-selling cookbooks and has a show on Food Network).

Check out the video above, in which Waxman talks about how impressed he is by Nashville's restaurants and food community: "The current scene is just blossoming like crazy. And it's not repetitive, which is really nice. You don't have everybody doing the same menu." He adds that the Nashville scene keeps getting better, "and I think the festival will help with that expansion, create more of a broader platform."

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