With his first, much-anticipated pop-up dinner in Nashville on Saturday, chef Brandon Frohne is out to create modern interpretations of regional comfort food for a new audience of Southern diners. Drawing its name from a cooking show pilot that Brandon described as a hunt for unique Southern eats, Forage South dinners are just that.
Guests lucky enough to score a seat at Saturday’s 20-person dinner (held at an undisclosed location) will find Brandon turning Southern cuisine on its head with offerings such as tableside liquid nitrogen ice cream soda with bourbon ice cream. He’s also got bone marrow, fried chicken terrine with brown butter turnip puree, and pumpkin beignets planned for the first dinner. Backed by a team that includes his sous chef Jonathan Humphrey and mixologists Jon and Lindsey Yeager from PourTaste, Brandon hopes to hold Forage South dinners in a different secret spot in Nashville once a month.
After a decade of stints in Southern kitchens and participating in a dozen culinary competitions, for Brandon, like other chefs, part of the appeal of a one-night-only dinner is the chance to veer off menu. “It is a creative outlet for us to push ourselves, push culinary boundaries, and expose our guests to a new foodie outlook,” Brandon says. In his case, the dinners are an opportunity to test innovative ideas on an audience without the investors or capital required for a restaurant.
And diners across the country are eating up these unique ideas, menus, and collaborations. Thanks to the modernization of the food scene in the South and the work of the farmers, artisans, and forward-thinking chefs, Brandon says consumers are enjoying the increasing number of chances to chow down up close and get to know a chef and their cooking style and philosophies.
Not content with just one series of distinctive dinners, Brandon is planning an even more exclusive secret underground supper club called Antebellum Tonic Supper Club. The invitation-only club will hold its first meeting in Nashville on January 25 and will travel to nine other cities across the country in true pop-up form. Working with Ben Vaughn (from Food Network’s Heath Inspectors), Brandon will join forces with top chefs from each city and collaborate on a menu that celebrates the local heritage and cuisine.