From left, chefs Sean Brock, David Pinckney and Josh Smith
Talk about luck! After months of planning Les Trois Chefs, the wine and food event benefiting Childhelp Tennessee, the folks at Childhelp got the good news that the restaurant owned by the event’s featured guest chef, Sean Brock, was named “best new restaurant in America” in the September issue of Bon Appetit magazine! That would be the much-buzzed-about eatery called Husk, located in historic downtown Charleston.
Alvin Hall serving rustic champagne cocktails with Buffalo Trace bourbon
The restaurant’s specialty is farm-to-table menus which means that if the food isn’t local, it is not served. Brock, a James Beard Award winner, even has banned olive oil from the kitchen because it is not from the region! He also owns Charleston’s McCrady’s restaurant.
Les Trois Chefs was held last Friday at Cherokee Country Club. Because it started at 6:30, guests got a chance to enjoy the stunning view of the curve in the Tennessee River, which to me is the best thing about the tony venue. A silent auction featured wonderful parties, outings and wines and the live auction offered trips to Palmetto Bluff, SC, Mexico and Napa, as well as a wild game dinner for 20 (no thanks!) and a delightful Mike C. Berry painting of an East Tennessee evening.
Five signature cocktails were invented by Robert Stevens of Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar. My favorite was the rustic champagne cocktail made with Buffalo Trace bourbon (and I normally don’t like bourbon), but many of my male chums preferred the Sazerac, a New Orleans-style concoction made with rye whiskey.
But the wine and food pairings were the stars, as you will see.
The view from the terrace during cocktails
Band members, from left, Justin Haynes, Nolan Nevels and Taylor Coker, delivered beautiful tunes as guests arrived.
Robin and David Purvis chat with Allan Benton, right, of Benton's Smoky Mountain Country Hams, during the silent auction.
Tina Rolen and Bill Pittman during cocktails and the silent auction in the River Room
Judi Starliper, right, with her daughter-in-law, Wendy Starliper
Kristin Seabrook, left, with Randy and Diane Miller
Here's a view of the festive activities at the bar in the River Room!
Alan Carmichael, left, with Denae D'Arcy of WATE and Tony Cappiello
Auctioneer Bear Stephenson and state Senate candidate Becky Duncan Massey
Foster Arnett, left, and Morton Massey
Mayoral candidate Madeline Rogero, left, with Russ Watkins and Alyson Ferine
Three Jays enjoy the evening: Adrian, Larsen and one on the way!
Meanwhile, it was a lot more peaceful in the sparkling ballroom, set for dinner.
The centerpieces were low and lovely.
Chef Brock, introduced as "America's new culinary rock star," described the upcoming meal.
The salad course was Benton's country ham with Bibb lettuce, grilled bread, a poached farm egg and red-eye vinaigrette. It was complemented by Sparkman Cellars Lumiere chardonnay. (I actually liked it - and I'm no chardonnay fan!)
Between courses, Sharon Donnell of Pilot Flying J, left, popped over to our table to visit with Richard and Dawn Ford.
Jim and Phyllis Nichols were at our table, too. (Moxley Carmichael was a silver sponsor of the event.)
Also at our table were Scott Bird of Moxley Carmichael and the city's special events director, Judith Foltz.
North Carolina catfist with cornbread puree and wild ramp chowchow came next. Served with Sparkman Cellars Wilderness Red, a blend of five wines.
Annette and Scott Brun
Susan and Bill Packard
Alan Hitchcock and Jennie Campbell
Rose Moseby, left, and Jackie Newman took a break in the ladies' lounge to catch up.
When I got back to my table, things had gotten a little frisky! The table-hopping Lindsay Duncan was visiting with Richard Ford.
And tablemates Scott Bird and Phyllis Nichols were getting friendly!
And then -- oops! -- with all the excitement I forgot to take a picture of the steak course! It was slow cooked beef with celeriac, smoked onions and wild mushrooms. Doesn't it sound yummy? Served with MadoraM Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon.
Here are Hugh and Angelia Nystrom. He's director of program operations for ChildHelp Tennessee.
Lindsay Duncan, back at her own table, with Lynne Fugate, right.
Hugh stopped by our table to say hello to Michael Foltz.
Olive and Sinclair chocolate with malt and caramel was dessert. ("Get that grass off my chocolate!" exclaimed one of my tablemates! Ha!) Paired with Rocca Family Vineyards syrah.
Alan says goodbye to our old friend Ross Dempster.