An Evening with Southern Chefs to Benefit Share Our Strength

Last month I felt so fortunate to attend the Share Our Strength’s Benefit Dinner in Nashville at the incredible Hermitage Hotel. Seven top notch southern chefs prepared an array of five courses for “A Tasteful Pursuit” to raise money to end childhood hunger in American by the year 2015. The Chefs involved included Tandy Wilson of City House in Nashville, Hal Holden-Bache of Eastland Cafe in Nashville, John Currence of City Grocery in Oxford, Ashley Christensen of Poole’s Diner in Raleigh, Tyler Brown of Capitol Grille in Nashville and Anne Quatrano of Star Provisions, Bacchanalia and Abbatoir in Atlanta. Above was our Pre-Dessert: House-Made Nasturtium Yogurt with Charentais Melon Gelee, Compressed Edisto Musk and Blackberry Honey by Anne Quatrano. Amazing, huh? Also, see the fabulous menu (below)

All of these chefs had fun creating this unbelievable menu. You can see Hal Holden-Bache, of Eastland Cafe in Nashville, cooking it up in the kitchen (below).

And, this is a great shot of Chef John Currence, of City Grocery, Snack Bar and Big Bad Breakfast in Oxford, Mississippi (below).

Tyler Brown, Chef of Capitol Grille at The Hermitage Hotel, is a Nashville icon and a man with great heart and talent. His work and farming prowess are on display at the Land Trust for Tennessee’s “Garden at Glen Leven” which is where he farms and grows produce used in his restaurant as well as to donate to charities in Nashville that incorporate fresh vegetables in their food programs. The day before the event, all of the chefs visited this garden to choose the produce used in this benefit dinner.

The Hermitage Hotel in Nashville was the ideal venue for this event. Honestly, it is also one of my favorite hotels in Nashville. The rooms, the ambiance, and it’s character are unlike any other southern hotel. Besides its fabulous restaurant, Capitol Grille, there is a fabulous bar which is one of my favorites in the city. This infamous summer cocktail, called “Watermelon Sour” is a mixture of Jack Daniels single barrel and watermelon puree from watermelons grown at Glen Leven was served before the event (below).

 Share Our Strength is such a great cause. More than 17 million children in America struggle with hunger. Share Our Strength’s campaign, “The Time is Now: No Kid Hungry”, is a national effort to end childhood hunger in America by 2015. I must thank Tyler, Janet (below) and everyone from Share Our Strength for making it possible.

Need a Getaway? Rosemary Beach, Florida

Last week I went on my first nonworking vacation in a long time. I chose one of my favorite spots to take the kids: Rosemary Beach, Florida. It’s a spectacular community that is great for anyone: families, couples, girls trips, guys trips and retired people. The town is adorable, filled with cool architecture, eclectic shops, galleries and wonderful restaurants. Can you say white sand? It’s breathtaking.

From the shopping to the food, there is something for everyone. I couldn’t include them all,  but I thought I would share a few. Gigi’s is an adorable spot with incredible unique toys and baby clothes.

The restaurants in Rosemary are fantastic and diverse. They really have covered the bases: family-friendly restaurants, casual dining, tapas and chocolate fare to fine dining. One of our child-friendly favorites is Cowgirl Kitchen which serves anything from nachos to healthy salads and great pizza (ideal for kids).

My favorite adult restaurant is Restaurant Paradis which has anything from Oysters Rockefeller to the best Ahi Tuna I have ever had. It’s romantic, fresh and divine all in one.

The kids have plenty to do in Rosemary Beach from pools to awesome beaches and plenty of bike riding. Rosemary even has a well organized kid’s camp to give parents a break. Mine were particularly fond of the very famous Sugar Shack and newer New Orleans Snow Balls where they had so many incredible flavors (even pomegranate).

Leigh enjoyed it just slightly. That smile never lies…

Rosemary’s newest addition happened to be one of our favorites. The Hidden Lantern is an old-time English style book store. The layout and books are amazing. Honestly, you could sit and read all day long.

The book store has children’s events for different ages, and a great spot for other events as well. We bought three books and one card as gifts, and we almost didn’t make it out to the beach the morning we stopped in there.

What I really love about Rosemary is that when you come, you really don’t need to leave very often. With great running paths and trails, tennis courts, pools, great workout facilities, Aveda Spa and more, everything is so close and easy to get to (no car needed). Bike riding is huge, and I love this shot of all the bikes parked one morning right in front of the beach walkway.

I highly recommend a vacation at Rosemary Beach. It was a wonderful getaway.

Rosemary has a lot of great events coming up including Rosemary Uncorked in October, writing festivals, girls getaways and more. For more information see Rosemary, see http://www.rosemarybeach.com/