Memphis Chefs Unite at the James Beard House



For this edition of “Made in Memphis,” something made in New York City. Specifically, the Made in Memphis dinner held at the prestigious James Beard House on April 22nd. Nine chefs made the trip north to show the sold-out crowd what Memphis tastes like.

On the A-Team: Felicia Willett of Felicia Suzanne’s; Patrick Reilly of the Majestic Grille; Ryan Trimm and Brady Bryan of Sweet Grass, Sweet Grass Next Door, and Southward Fare & Libations; Jonathan Magallanes of Los Tortugas Deli Mexicana; Miles McMath of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; and Andy Ticer, Michael Hudman, and Ryan Jenniges of Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen and Hog & Hominy. Michael Hughes of Joe’s Wines & Liquors and Big River Bitters was there to stir things up with a creative welcome cocktail and wine pairings, and Mayor A C Wharton made the trip to give opening remarks.

Each chef or team of chefs was responsible for one passed hors d'oeuvre and one course — each designed to showcase what they do best. A dry run of the event was held in February at Felicia Suzanne’s, not only to iron out any wrinkles as far as the dishes and labor-flow, but also to raise money to help offset the $20,000 it would cost the chefs for the Beard House dinner. Only slight changes were made: the order of two courses swapped, a different cut of beef, a portion size reduced.

By all accounts the dinner was a smashing success. National press was there; each course was followed by a round of applause.

“It was really special,” says Deni Reilly, who owns the Majestic Grille with her husband Patrick. She describes the scene: nine chefs in a tiny kitchen, a Beard House staff member skeptical that so many chefs could work together without conflict. But this group of chefs, famously supportive of each other, won this man over. Reports Reilly, “He said, ‘Wow! You guys really do all like each other.’”

 

MADE IN MEMPHIS DINNER MENU

Passed

 

Pollen & Potato (Michael Hughes)

Prichard’s Tennessee whiskey, Delta Dol Farm honey-thyme-sweet potato shrub, Cocchi Americano, Big River Bitters


 

Oysters (Andy Ticer, Michael Hudman, Ryan Jenniges)

sorrel vichyssoise, truffle, yolk


 

Oreille de Cochon (Miles McMath)

Boudin, Beignet dough, Mennonite cane syrup


 

Braised Pork Shoulder (Ryan Trimm, Brady Bryan)

hot water cornbread, pepper relish


 

Donnell Beef Tartare (Patrick Reilly)

tarragon, bone marrow


 


Crispy Fried Mushroom Tacos (Jonathan Magallanes)

with salsa verde


 

Chow Chow Deviled Eggs (Felicia Willett)

with Flo’s tomato jam


 

Dinner

First Course


Creole Bronzed Lemon Fish (Miles McMath)

soft-shell crawfish, butter-bean farrotto, sauce ravigote


 

Second Course


Pirlau (Ryan Trimm, Brady Bryant)

Stone Crab, Florida Pink Shrimp, Benton’s ham, sweet fennel sausage, yellow squash,


 

Third Course

Pollo en Mole Verde (Jonathan Magallanes)

pumpkin seed tomatillo and fennel served on a tostada


 

Fourth Course

Tennessee Pork (Patrick Reilly)

sugar-glazed carrots, sorghum sauce and sorghum popcorn, tobacco onions


 

Fifth Course

Veal Breast (Andy Ticer, Michael Hudman, Ryan Jenniges)

ricotta, favas, tonno del chianti, morels, asparagus, and soia fermentata


 

Sixth Course


Classic Butter Roll (Felicia Willett)

Prichard’s dark rum sauce, spiced pecans, buttermilk brown sugar ice cream


 

Take Home Course

Flo’s New Orleans Milk Punch (Felicia Willett)

with homemade cookies

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