Foodies in Atlanta are in for a special state dinner of sorts as Georgia plays host to Virginia chefs during the first Piggy Bank Dinner on Sunday. The event benefiting the Southern Foodways Alliance is a chance for Taqueria del Sol chef Eddie Hernandez to cook and collaborate with two chefs from the Commonwealth: Jason Alley of Comfort and Pasture in Richmond and David Guas of Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery in Arlington.
The six-course spread is a meal fit for our Founding Fathers—David is cooking with stone-ground cornmeal from George Washington’s gristmill in Alexandria. “It doesn’t get more Virginia than that,” David says. He is the first high profile chef to use this product commercially from George Washington’s gristmill and will use the presidential product in a sweet corncake served with blistered blueberries and brown butter ice cream. He also plans to incorporate the cornmeal in the grits and cornbread at his restaurant.
Not to be outdone, Jason will bring Virginia-grown canned peaches to dinner. He’ll pair his “last year’s peach barbecue sauce” with beef tri-tips form White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, Georgia. Jason’s goal is to focus on seasonal, fresh, and local ingredients just like he does at his restaurants. For the second course Jason will serve up a salad with Virginia peanut-and-sorghum vinaigrette and Edwards bacon from Surry, Virginia.
For the three chefs, the dinner is more than just an opportunity for a culinary exchange. “Without groups like the Southern Foodways Alliance and the people who support it, we run a real risk of losing Southern traditions,” says Jason, who grew up in Appalachia, Virginia.
Cooking up a farm-to-table feast is a way for these chefs to give back to the Southern Foodways Alliance, the organization that preserves and celebrates the diverse food culture of the ever-changing South. “From barbecue and fried chicken to turnip greens, peach cobbler, and oysters from Virginia, you name it, we’ve got it,” Eddie says. “Us chefs need to work hard to make sure Southern food stays around for a long time.”
Can’t make it? Grab a seat at the next dinner on November 11 when North Carolina chefs Amy Tornquist of Watts Grocery and Bill Smith of Crooks Corner’s will get their chance to cook, and look out for more meals in 2013.
Tickets are $75 per person and include the six-course dinner with beer pairings.
July 15, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Taqueria del Sol
2165 Bridge Road
Check out David teaching us to make his Nana’s banana bread!
— Jessica Stringer