Iron skillet evangelist: ‘The only pan you’ll ever need.’

Skillet Love author Anne Byrn, left, with Cheryl Barksdale, who won a Lodge cast-iron skillet at the dinner.

A 12-inch Lodge cast-iron skillet was one of the most popular wedding gifts in the United States last year, according to Zola, a wedding planning and registry service. In fact, it was THE most requested wedding gift in seven states (followed by a waffle iron in five).

This is no surprise to Nashville cookbook author Anne Byrn, who was in Knoxville recently as a guest of Union Ave Books to promote her latest tome, Skillet Love. The cookbook features 150 recipes you can make in your cast-iron skillet. To prove the point, Chef Drew McDonald of The Plaid Apron and his staff made eight of the book’s recipes for an appreciative group of diners who paid $80 for the dinner and a copy of the book on a recent Wednesday night.

I have a cast-iron skillet, of course. But I only use it to make cornbread. At least that’s the only use I’ve had for it until now. With this book in hand, I plan to branch out to wilted salads, vegetables, chicken and even dessert. The Mississippi Mud Cake that Chef McDonald turned out from the book ranks among the top five desserts I’ve ever had. Read on to see some of the dishes from this personable New York Times best-selling author. Continue reading

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Leadership Knox Class of ’93: still going strong

Carolyn Pearre, left, and Jane Creed were members of the Leadership Knoxville Class of ’93, aka “the best class ever.” Carolyn came from Nashville for the group’s annual party.

Every Leadership Knoxville class is special. But to all of you classes who think you are “the best class ever,” I have one thing to say to you: Call me in 26 years!

That’s how long my Leadership Knoxville class, the class of ’93, has been consistently holding its annual fall party. Without fail. Every. Single. Year.

This year we gathered at the lovely West Knoxville home of class member Jane Creed and her husband, Kenneth. As always, everyone was asked to contribute by bringing either a soup, salad, appetizer or dessert. Plus, wine, of course. And we always pick a non-cook to bring bread.

The Sunday evening weather was marvelous. It was before this cold snap hit, and we were able to make it an indoor-outdoor event. As always, the camaraderie was even warmer than the delicious soups!

Come on, you other classes. If we can do it, you can do it! Continue reading

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Cancer Society event raises hope — and lots of money

Amanda Hara, a news anchor on WVLT-TV, was the emcee for the evening. She’s holding an adorable Goldendoodle puppy who attracted big interest in the live auction, ultimately going for $4,500.

For a few festive hours on Friday night, you easily could have felt as if you were in Cuba — without leaving downtown Knoxville!

The Press Room, the beautiful event center at 730 N. Broadway, was transformed through lights, music, food and flowers into a virtual dinner club in Havana, the capital city of the island nation. The occasion? The 2019 Hope Gala, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society’s Knoxville branch. The theme was “Havana Nights.”

The evening also provided a tribute to several local cancer survivors who explained during a touching video how important it is for those diagnosed with cancer to have hope. It is the ultimate goal of the American Cancer Society to one day have “a world free from cancer.”

Here’s hoping! Continue reading

Filed under: Downtown, Events, Knoxville | 7 Comments

Hallelujah! The new Knox Mason opens Thursday!

Alan Carmichael was in dessert heaven last night as he sampled the delicacy called “Barb’s Snickerdoodle Whoopie Pies” with Muddy Pond sorghum buttercream and cinnamon sugar.

Finally! One of our favorite Knoxville eateries is reopening in a fabulous new location.

As all Knoxville foodies know, chef-owner Matt Gallaher closed his tiny — but awesome — restaurant called Knox Mason located on the 100 block of Gay Street what seems like a million years ago. It actually was closed less than a year, but boy are we glad to have it back!

Knox Mason opens to the public this coming Thursday in the brand new Embassy Suites hotel in the 500 block of Gay Street. The restaurant is holding a soft opening for a few days to train the staff and work out kinks, so we are able to give you a sneak peek here.

The bottom line is that Gallaher, an alum of exclusive Blackberry Farm and a stint cooking for former Gov. Bill Haslam and his wife Crissy in the Tennessee Governor’s Residence, has expanded the limited menu of his former restaurant for the new location which is about twice its size. With a continued focus on Southern staples done with an upscale twist, the new Knox Mason is sure to be another hit for Gallaher, who also owns Emilia, a popular gourmet Italian restaurant on Market Square. Continue reading

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Clinton 12 honored for high school heroism

Members of the Clinton 12 — Jo Ann Crozier Allen Boyce, seated, and Bobby Cain, in purple shirt — receiving the Whitney M. Young Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award at the Urban League Gala at the Knoxville Convention Center.

Another Urban League Equal Opportunity Awards Gala has come and gone. Yes, the music, decorations, camaraderie and dancing were fun. But, the real hit of the evening? The presence of two members of “The Clinton 12,” who received the Whitney M. Young Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Clinton 12 were a group of students who led the integration of Clinton High School in 1956. Prior to 1956, African Americans in Clinton were required to attend a segregated high school in Knoxville, 18 miles away. In 1954, in the historic case, Brown v. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregation in schools was unconstitutional, and that African Americans had the right to learn in the same environment as whites.

U.S. District Judge Robert Taylor ordered Clinton High School to desegregate with “all deliberate speed” in the fall of 1956. When the new school year began that year, 12 African Americans went to Clinton High School. The result was protests by locals and outside agitators, one during which a white minister accompanying the Clinton 12 to school was severely beaten. Continue reading

Filed under: Downtown, Events, Knoxville, Music | 2 Comments

Planners: Think twice about Thursdays!

Maria Cornelius of Moxley Carmichael expertly handles EventCheckKnox, which has a blog with excellent original content that is worth sharing with Blue Streak readers. Thursdays are (still) overbooked as you will read below. Wednesday is wide open. Event planners, please look before you book! -Cynthia

Thinking about holding your event on a Thursday? Think again. The fourth day of the week has become as crowded with events as Friday and even Saturday.

We used the In Any Event blog space to address this issue on April 1, 2015. We weren’t fooling then, and we aren’t fooling now.

The reception for new Lady Vols basketball Coach Kellie Harper was held on a Tuesday – and it was packed. From left, Daryl Johnson of Johnson Architecture, Polly Fisher, Charis Kraski and Art Clancy. (Blue Streak photo)

Continue reading

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Another enchanting ‘Evening Under the Stars’

Saxaphonist Alex Thompson is one of the 17 members of the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra.

If it’s October, it must be time for one of the most enjoyable fundraisers of the season. “Evening Under the Stars” is a night of great music, great food and great camaraderie. And, as a big bonus, here’s what it DOES NOT have: a silent auction, a live auction, speeches or heart-tugging videos. Isn’t that refreshing?

The super fun and low-key event is held at the beautiful lakeside home of Sherri Lee and features the music of the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra, which is the beneficiary of the soiree. Nancy Kendrick of Creative Catering does the delicious food, and the wine is generously provided by Randy Burleson and Bistro by the Tracks.

The big news for the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra right now is the recording of a new CD to celebrate the group’s 20th anniversary. The collection includes some of the orchestra’s favorite arrangements from throughout the years and some of its favorite guest artists. A release party is set for next week. Continue reading

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Two Knoxville friends among top state artistic talent

Two of the Governor’s Arts Awards winners were singer Brenda Lee and editorial cartoonist Charlie Daniel. Daniel was the first editorial cartoonist to win the award. (Photo by Duane Grieve.)

We went to the Governor’s Arts Awards in Nashville last week because we wanted to see our friends Charlie Daniel and Ashley Capps receive the high honor.

And what we got during those two hours in Conservation Hall at the Tennessee Residence was even more than that. It was a joyous celebration of a vast range of arts all across the state of Tennessee. I think it’s safe to say that everyone in the small invitation-only audience was smiling ear-to-ear with delight the entire time.

“Like the Volunteer State’s diverse landscapes that stretch from east to west, the creativity and talents of these outstanding Tennesseans contribute to the breadth, depth and superiority of the arts and culture we enjoy,” said Gov. Bill Lee, who, with First Lady Maria Lee, hosted the event.

Oh, and we also got to meet singers Brenda Lee and Richard Penniman, better known as Little Richard. Continue reading

Filed under: Art, Events, Music | 11 Comments

People who live in glass houses

The glass house is 40-by-40 feet square and is situated on 1.2 acres.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the famous “glass house” built on a cliff in South Knoxville’s Lakemoor Hills neighborhood by longtime University of Tennessee architecture professor William Starke Shell. He donated it to the Knoxville Museum of Art when he passed away in 2017.

“I would describe it as the most beautiful and the most impractical house in Knoxville,” the museum’s executive director, David Butler, told the News Sentinel last year when the museum put the home up for sale.

It was purchased by Jon and Toni Lawler for $545,000. Jon currently uses the 1,600-square foot one-bedroom, one-bath home as an office. The Lawlers generously offered to let the Knoxville Symphony League hold one of its “Elegant Dining” events there recently and the dinner quickly sold out. Continue reading

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‘What do I wear?’

Maria Cornelius in her go-to jacket for University of Tennessee events.

This is another guest post by Maria Cornelius of Moxley Carmichael. Maria expertly handles EventCheckKnox, which has a blog with excellent original content that is worth sharing with Blue Streak readers. EventCheck Knox is designed for planners, but it can be accessed and enjoyed by anyone. Look before you book. And in this case, look before you get dressed! -Cynthia

RSVP? Check. Time of event? Check. Location? Check. Attire? Help.

An event invitation that includes attire is always beneficial for attendees, but what is the difference between cocktail and dressy? Business casual and dressy casual? Even the most seasoned partygoers can get tripped up by dress codes.

With a little help from some style mavens on the Blue Streak, let’s clear up any confusion with descriptions and photos. (And each photo links to the specific event in the caption credit if you want to see more attire examples.)

Black tie means very formal. For men, that means a tuxedo. For women, floor-length gowns are preferable. Cocktail dresses are acceptable, but a long gown elevates the look. Black tie on the invitation is like prom for adults.

Brooks and Karen Clark with Jeff Pappas, right. (Blue Streak photo)

Black tie optional elicits a sigh of relief, especially for men, because it means tuxedos are fine, but so is a dark suit and tie. Women can choose an evening gown or cocktail attire without any worries about not being suitably dressed. Continue reading

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