Sunday, May 20, 2012

Savor Nashville

If you couldn’t already tell, I’m a huge foodie. Though I’ve always enjoyed food as much as the next person, it wasn’t until I became deeply passionate about animal welfare and our agriculture system that I started to really examine food.
Union Station Hotel

It started small with experimenting in my own kitchen, continued to grow as my husband and I broadened our horizons in our then-hometown of Seattle, and exploded into a near obsession after a month-long backpacking journey across Europe.

Porta Via's Bacon Spuma over Goo Goo Crust w/Spring Mix and whiskey vinaigrette
When we relocated to Nashville nearly two years ago, we were convinced that the food scene consisted of only chain restaurants and steak houses. Little did we know we were embarking on one of the hottest new foodie towns in the U.S. featuring an incredible array of local restaurants with progressive attitudes toward food and, surprisingly, an equally sophisticated customer base.

Puckett's Shrimp & Grits
Today, in our on-going quest for great food, we attended the Savor Nashville Challenge to the Chefs Cook-Off at the historic Union Station Hotel. The challenge: acclaimed Nashville chefs had to prepare dishes consisting of at least two of these key local ingredients – Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey whiskey, Goo Goo Cluster, and Benton’s Bacon. Attendees and a panel of judges would vote for their favorite and winners would be named.

Etch's Goo Goo Cluster Hot Dog
Although you really had to be there to appreciate the magnitude, it was truly a feast for the senses. We sampled 10 different dishes ranging from salads drizzled with whiskey vinaigrettes to bacon lobster sushi rolls to Goo Goo Cluster hotdogs, along with generous servings of Grey Goose Le Citron Bloody Marys, juice shots and sips of sweet Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey whiskey.
Prime 108's Bacon Lobster Roll & Jack Daniels Honey Sea Bass

And, along with meeting many of the chefs I admire and food bloggers I follow, I got to meet one of my local foodie heroes, Jeremy Barlow, of Tayst and Sloco. Author of Chefs Can Save The World, he is known locally and nationally for his approach to local, sustainable food and animal welfare. It was an honor to meet someone so vocally passionate about the same things I am, and who is using his vocation to further the message. And, although I’ve met many celebrities in my career, I sort of had a geek out moment getting him to sign a copy of his book and take a photo with me.

Tayst's Goo Goo Cannoli
No matter where you live or what your culinary aspirations (or lack thereof), check out your local food scene. Not only will you eat better and support the local economy, you may just find some real gems and chefs who are doing great things in the culinary world.
Chef Jeremy Barlow and Me

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  1. It was so great to meet you yesterday, and glad you got to meet Jeremy too. He's awesome! Hope to see you at other events in the future :-)

    1. It was wonderful to meet you too, Beth! And yes, meeting Jeremy was definitely a lot of fun.