Thank you to Lauren Miller of Moxley Carmichael for writing this guest post for the Blue Streak. –Cynthia Moxley
Chef Matt Gallaher delivered a winter meal that warmed and wowed.
Guests gathered on a recent Friday evening for the first fundraising event to benefit a Knoxville nonprofit that brings us the Market Square Farmers’ Market and East Tennessee Local Food Guide, among other programs.
Nourish Knoxville was officially formed in 2013 to cultivate and support relationships among farmers, producers and East Tennesseans and to build healthy communities through connections to local food.
It was only fitting that the fundraising event focused on seasonal food and drink. The winter harvest-inspired supper featured locally sourced ingredients prepared by Knox Mason owner and chef Matt Gallaher. The dinner was expertly paired with a selection of locally brewed beers provided by The Casual Pint – Downtown and Hexagon Brewing Co.
Located at First Christian Church Knoxville at West Fifth Avenue and North Gay Street, the event brought together an eclectic group of about 80 diners who enjoyed draft brews and passed appetizers as we mingled during social hour.
When we were seated for dinner, Chef Gallaher stepped out from the kitchen to welcome us. In addition to applauding the work of Nourish Knoxville, he praised the contributions of his friend and mentor Sam Beall, the proprietor of Blackberry Farm, on the day of the news of Beall’s sudden passing.
Click here for a recent post about Beall’s important impact on the East Tennessee community, as well as the national and international culinary and hospitality industries.
Gallaher said he owed his career to Beall, who above all wanted people to be happy, well fed and enjoying a good wine or a good bourbon. He then raised his glass, as did everyone there, in a toast of “Here’s to Sam.”
The meal that followed was a worthy tribute to Gallaher’s mentor and a celebration of Nourish Knoxville’s commitment to local, seasonal ingredients.
Lanterns guided us to the event entrance at First Christian Church Knoxville.
Nourish Knoxville board president Forrest Kirkpatrick, left, and Claire Metz
From left, Matt McMillan, Kelly Absher and Stephen Apking. Stephen is the owner of Hexagon Brewing Co.
Knoxville City Councilman Marshall Stair and Natalie Robinson Stair.
Emily Faye Abbott, left, and Meredith Slemp.
From left, Fiona McAnally, Brian Blackmon and Kristy Keel-Blackmon.
Casual Pint Downtown owners Alan and Natalie Knauth. (Photo by Amanda Shell Jennings)
From left, Matt Mowrer, Brian Wagner, Lila Honaker and Jen Mowrer. (Photo by Amanda Shell Jennings)
Glenn and Suzi Richters.
Krissy and Jeffrey DeAlejandro, owner and chef of OliBea.
From left, Mark Jennings, Amanda Shell Jennings, Lauren Miller and John Miller. Amanda and Lauren work at Moxley Carmichael. (Photo by Emily Faye Abbott)
Everyone seated for dinner. (Photo by Amanda Shell Jennings)
First course was Colvin Family Farm smoked pork shoulder and kimchi stew with Danny Shelton’s polenta and Sweetwater Valley Farm cheddar. The beer pairing was with Fanatic Brewing Company Fireside ESB. This was so good, that I genuinely was surprised people weren’t licking their bowls clean.
From left, Diane Reynolds, Mary Beth Tugwell and Katie Tugwell. Mary Beth works with Dewhirst Properties, which provided the space for the evening.
John Miller with Melinda Grimac, center, and Kevin Grimac.
Second course was Mountain Meadows Farm butternut squash soup with crispy Welsummer salami, smoked Cruze Farm creme fraiche and pecans. It was paired with Yee-Haw Brewing Company Pilsner. We found this to be the most adventurous dish of the evening.
From left, John Schmid, Charlotte Tolley and Robin and Whitney Yeary. Charlotte is the executive director of Nourish Knoxville.
The main course was Mitchell Family Farm beef ribeye with Loudon County mushroom gratin, red Russian kale, Sequatchie Cove Creamery Cumberland cheese and Kentucky soy sauce dressing. The pairing was Casual Pint’s Dirty South Brown Ale. All the lovely dishes were provided by Leanne McQueen of McQueen Pottery.
Dessert was Circle V Poultry duck egg pound cake, Muddy Pond Sorghum Mill sorghum buttercream frosting and Mossy Creek Mushrooms sassafras meringue. (Photo by Emily Faye Abbott)
The dessert was paired with a Cruze Farm chai milk “White Russian” with Knox Whiskey Works vodka and coffee liqueur – which was so good we finished our drinks before getting any photos. This was a great first-time event. We’re hoping for seconds!