Local Chefs and Farmers Celebrate

Get Tix Now and plan on spending the evening of Thursday Nov 8, 2023, from 5:30 pm till 9:30 pm – with some of Charlotte’s long time local chefs and farmers.

The group will gather for an amazing dinner at the Trolley Barn Fermentory & Food Hall, at 2104 South Blvd. in Charlotte to celebrate the early days of the farm to fork movement in the Queen City and the beginnings of the Piedmont Culinary Guild.

A Blast from the Past

I am proud to say that from the time I started writing about local food and chefs for The Leader Newspaper in 1989 till now, I’ve written about every single one of the chefs, farmers and artisans featured in this dinner. Over the years, as a free-lance writer, I’ve written for a number of local and regional print and digital publications, and have featured many of these chefs and their restaurants on TV and radio, as well. Delighted to be writing about them all once again.

Back in those early days up through the 1990’s while chefs new to the city knew of each other, they had no sort of culinary community to call on for help or support or a vehicle to create strength in numbers.

Enter the Piedmont Culinary Guild in 2012, the brain child of the group’s executive director from the beginning, Kris Reid.

“The Guild is a gathering place and hub for innovative chefs, farmers, food artisans, culinary educators, and other professionals in the local food community committed to sharing our strengths and building our local food economy – founded on the idea that sharing resources and promoting educational opportunities can help develop and secure our local food system.”

Read More about the Piedmont Culinary Guild at PiedmontCulinaryGuild.com

At the time, I was delighted to have been asked by then PCG Board Member and chef/owner Luca Annunziata to join the group as one of the first media members of the Guild.

It’s been wonderful to see how this group of chefs and farmers, and their adjunct group of the community’s culinary enthusiasts called Tastemakers, has grown and developed. The guild has been a vehicle to bring the culinary community in Charlotte and greater Mecklenburg County together, act as a eat local support system and make the mission of support and awareness all the stronger.

Read All About It

As many of you know, I’m a huge “Eat Local, Shop Local” proponent and continue to love and support all the work these and many other chefs in the city and across the Carolinas, who are not involved in this dinner, do and have done to support local farmers and producers. They each have brought so much to our collective table.

Learn and Taste More on Nov 8

The November 8 event, dubbed, the Founders Feast is being hosted and organized by Charlotte’s Piedmont Culinary Guild. The dinner is one of PCG’s 2023 fundraising events and is dedicated to recognizing some of the chefs, farmers, and food advocates that set the farm-to-table standard in Charlotte.

What to expect from this evening’s 19 featured culinarians

The evening will feature 17 local chefs and 2 mixologists – all pictured above. Things kick off at 5 pm to 6:30 pm with a cocktail hour featured passed bites and drink options. The cocktail hour will be followed by a seated, coursed dinner. During the dinner Chef Marc Jacksina will interview former Charlotte Observer food editor Kathleen Purvis and former Charlotte Observer restaurant critic, Helen Schwab.

Tickets cost for the reception and the dinner is $225 pp. Tickets are available here. Dinner beverages will be available onsite at an additional cost. Gratuity is not included.

Wow what a line up! Here’s who is cooking and what’s on the menu:

During the reception, guests will drink local with cocktails from mixologist Bob Peters of Built on Hospitality; and non-alcoholic Old North Farm shrubs From Jamie Swofford. The local chefs who will be providing passed appetizers include:

  • Chef Joe Kindred of Kindred Restaurant and Hello Sailor will be serving his Milkbread Shrimp Rolls.
  • Chef Jamie Barnes of What the Fries CLT is making Beef & Potato Hand Pies with Tallow Pie Crust , Appalachian Gold Potatoes, and a Caramelized Shallot Aioli
  • Chef Jon Fortes of the Flipside Restaurant Group which includes Flipside Cafe, Flipside Restaurant, Salmeri’s, Fortes Mill Eatery, Flip Out Burger and Flipside Catering is going meatless and serving a Soy Chorizo Pupusa with Sweet Potato, Chimichurri and Hot Sauce
  • Chef Ashley Boyd of 300 East is preparing a Pan Con Tomate with Fennel & Sheep’s Milk Yogurt
  • Chef Chris Coleman of The Goodyear House, Old Town Kitchen & Cocktails and most recently, of Haymaker is making a Monte Cristo with Duck Ham, Gruyère, and Raspberry Mustard
  • Chef Greg Collier, of Leah & Louise and Uptown Yolk is baking up Anson Mills Grit Biscuits, served with Braised Oxtail, Sweet Potato Chow Chow, Charred Onion Sabayon
  • Chef Jamie Lynch, of 5 Church Restaurants which includes La Belle Helene, Sophies Lounge, and Church and Union restuarants in Charlotte, Charleston, Nashville and Atlanta is crafting a Spicy Cucumber Salad with Shiitake mushroms, Sesame, Pine Nuts, and Mizuna.
  • Chef Alyssa Wilen of Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen is presenting a Miso Butter Bok Choy with Rice Crisp and Apple Powder
  • Chef Ben Philpott of Meadow Wood Farm is serving a Chicken Liver Mousse, with his infamous Smoked Duck Ham and Small City Farm Pepper Jelly
  • Chef Shai Fargian of YAFO Kitchen will be there too.

Then, these local chefs will each create a plated course for the seated dinner

Chef Matthew Krenz, Krenz Ranch Beef, formally of the Asbury and before that, at Passion 8 where he worked with Chef Luca Annunziata. Matthew will be preparing Krenz Ranch Beef Tallow Biscuit with Fall Squash Butter, Pickled Apple, Chicken Liver, Pot De Creme and Variegated Thyme

Chef Tim Groody of The Asbury – who also holds the distinction of being the first Charlotte area chef to put a farmers name on a menu – will be preparing Pickled Peach & Butternut Salad with peppery greens and a mushroom fig chimichurri

Chef Bruce Moffett of Moffett Restaurant Group which includes Barrington’s, Good Food on Montford, Stagioni and Bao and Broth who will be preparing Cauliflower soup, blue crab salad, black truffle

Chef Fran Scibelli of Fat Cat Burgers + Bakeshop who will be preparing Lightly smoked NC mountain trout cake with autumn slaw

Now at Legion Brewing, Chef Gene Briggs, will be preparing Oxtail Ragu over a Small City Farms Sweet Potato and Swiss Chard Gratin

From Santé Restaurant, Chef Adam Reed will be preparing New Town Farms Slow Roasted Ossabaw Pork Shoulder with Popcorn Grits and local Muscadine Grape BBQ Sauce and Pickled Cucumbers

The Everyday Market in Belmont NC is home for Chef Majid Amoorpour who is preparing a dessert of covered with Chocolate hazelnut, cocoa nibs, ginger bread with Crouching Hippo candied ginger

Local Chefs salute Local Farmers, too!

While it’s an incredible feat to have all of these talented chefs cooking under one roof. Nothing in any culinary community happens without local farmers and producers.

It’s the relationship between chefs and farmers, chefs and fishermen and chefs and local artisans that make North Carolina’s Farm to Fork movement so very impressive. I am glad to be a part of it all and to keep spreading the word.

Gotta love that consumers in North Carolina are being inspired by chefs to do the same. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see so many chefs and homecooks shopping at local farmers markets every weekend.

It goes without saying, that event goers can expect a lot of local on the menu at the Founder’s Feast. Many of the farmers who you will see on the menu will be in attendance.

In addition PCG is offering a shout out this evening to several farmers who have been providing Charlotte with local produce, proteins and product for years.

Mindy Robinson of Tega Hills Farms with her very popular harvest Squash Blossoms

Among them, are several farmers I’ve been shopping local with for decades, including, Sammy and Melinda Koenigsberg of New Town Farm, Jennifer and Dean Mullis of Laughing Owl Farm. Both New Town and Laughing Owl continue to sell on Saturdays at the Matthews Community Farmers Market. Mindy Robinson of Tega Hills Farm and Denise Smart of Nise’s Herbs, will be there as well. Both of these ladies have retired now but are well remembered for their veggies, lettuce and microgreens. Mindy sold at the Matthews Community Farmers Market while Nise sold at the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market.

Here’s the Why

Chef Matthew Krenz, Heidi Billotto, Chef Chris Coleman from back in the day with Matthew and Chris were cooking together at The Asbury at The Dunhill Hotel in Charlotte

“The Piedmont Culinary Guild has been an integral part of the local food movement in Charlotte for more than a decade,” says Chris Coleman, PCG Board Chair and chef/partner of the locally owned restaurant group, Built on
Hospitality .

“As a collective of chefs, farmers, food artisans and makers, the Guild is a space for the entirety of our food & beverage workforce to collaborate, brainstorm, network, and share.

“The chefs we are celebrating are some of those responsible for bringing
light to Charlotte’s farming community, and were the first to represent their efforts on menus all around town.”

How You Can Join in on the Celebration

Just do it. Its going to be a very delicious evening. Make your reservations now – tickets are available here.

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