Farm, Fork & Cork 2018
This year's Farm, Fork, & Cork was dramatically different than last year's in one big way...weather. Last year the weather was hot, hot, hot and very humid, check out the blog here. This year the weather was a driving thunderstorm with buckets of rain. It was a perfect example that rain can never stop a giving heart. I have to say that the St. Jude staff, chefs, and attendees, all weathered the storm very well (couldn't help myself there).
The main reason for the annual event is fundraising for the kids at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. At the end of the evening, after all the auctions had closed, emcee Maneet Chauhan, announced the preliminary fundraising number for the evening. Everyone was blown away by the well over $300,000 that was raised, which far surpassed the original goal. It is truly amazing to see the generosity of people.
As the introductions began the seated portion of the evening, the attendees were treated to host Michael W. Smith, inviting Amy Grant up on stage for a duet.
Although she was the host emcee and did not cook, it was a pleasure to have Chef Maneet Chauhan bring her creative flair to the dinner in another capacity.
When you think of a salad course, you don’t typically think steakhouse chef, but Chef Steven Chandler from Kayne Prime has changed the way I think. Chef Chandler kicked off the menu with a truffled burrata and heirloom tomato salad with Meyer lemon vinaigrette and shisho. The dish was bright, colorful and full of flavor. It was one of my favorite courses and a great way to start the meal.
I was really excited for Chef Julia Jaksic from Café Roze because I haven’t had the chance to eat there yet and I have heard really great things. She served a farro risotto with swiss chard, spiced tomato, feta, and olives.
Chef RJ Cooper, a James Beard Award Winning Chef, made a garganelli pasta dish with chicken liver, spring garlic, and cultured butter. I was eagerly anticipating his dish the most and it exceeded my expectations. Apologize for lack of picture here, but this dish disappeared faster than I could snap a picture.
Though Chef Chauhan did not present her own dish, she was kind enough to bring along Chef Tom Eckert with Tansuo. He delivered a chickpea miso Shanghai braised pork with kimchi fried rice. It had a great Asian flavor, and nice funky kick of kimchi.
A staple at this event is always the incomparable Chef Deb Paquette from Etch and Etc. Not one to disappoint, she prepared a smoked bistro steak with creamed horseradish parmesan potatoes, pea pesto, pea shoots, tomatoes, and a mushroom vinaigrette. This was by far my favorite dish of the night. Homerun!
I always look forward to the dessert to close out the meal. Chef Kayla May, the Pastry Chef at Josephine, went big on presentation. A blueberry cobbler with wild Maine blueberries and Jeni’s vanilla ice cream. I didn’t turn into Violet from Willy Wonka, as I expected, but they did have to roll me out. Luckily the only thing that turned blue was my teeth.
My desire is for every person that attended this event to feel as humbled, blessed and hopeful as I did. If you haven’t had the opportunity to attend Farm, Fork, & Cork, or any of the other great St. Jude events locally, you are missing out and should make it an intention to go.