Some of the country’s most notable culinary talents will gather Jan. 10 through 13 at the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Blackberry Farm resort just outside of Knoxville for the Southern Foodways Alliance’s ninth annual Taste of the South. The event, held every year at this tony 4,200-acre resort in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, features cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, alimentary education and some downright fabulous food.
SFA, a nonprofit organization based at the University of Mississippi, exists mostly to celebrate farmers, artisans and chefs below the Mason-Dixon Line — and to have a blast in the process. Receiving induction honors this year is SFA’s new fellow, Sean Brock, executive chef at McCrady’s and Husk in Charleston, S.C. The widely respected Brock was nominated for the James Beard “Outstanding Chef” award in 2012 and won Beard’s “Best Chef in the Southeast” honor in 2010. The culinary star became a television celebrity back in 2008 when he was the victor in the “Next Great Chef” episode of the Food Network Challenge.
The impressive slate of guest chefs stirring the pot alongside Brock at this year’s event will include Tyler Brown, chef of Four-Star Capitol Grille at The Hermitage Hotel in Nashville; Vivian Howard of Chef and the Farmer in Kinston, N.C.; and Mike Lata of FIG and The Ordinary in Charleston, S.C. Scholar-in-residence David Shields (the McClintock Professor of Southern Letters at the University of South Carolina) will regale visitors with his knowledge of food and fine wines.
Speaking of vino, there will be plenty of it poured. Guest vintner Jamey Whetstone (founder of Whetstone Wine Cellars, a small, family-owned, luxury brand) may be based in Napa, but he owes his Southern pedigree to being born and raised in South Carolina. Rounding out the libation presenters will be Julian Van Winkle and son Preston of Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery in Frankfort, Ky., now on its fourth generation of distillers.
In addition to wine tastings and an elaborate gourmet gala dinner on Saturday night prepared by the guest chefs, Taste of the South will also feature a silent auction to benefit SFA’s documentary work.
For reservations, call 800-557-8864 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo Courtesy of Blackberry Farm