6 degrees of Southern: Community Table 2018
When you arrive at the annual Community Table, be it a farm or a historic mill, the view is often rustic with rolling pastures, a beautiful old barn, and horses in the distance, tails swaying. But this year’s Community Table was a bit different. Just a stone’s throw from downtown Greensboro, the annual fundraiser graced the grounds of the beautiful, historic Double Oaks Bed & Breakfast. Tucked in the backyard of the B&B were 150 guests of all ages, all walks of life, some new faces, some seasoned attendees gathered as 13 chefs prepared multiple courses of locally sourced ingredients mere yards away.
It’s the 8th annual Community Table by Greensboro-based Triad Local First, a nonprofit that supports and promotes local businesses. Community Table raises money for their fiscal year including holiday marketing campaign to encourage folks to shop locally owned businesses rather than online or at big boxes. The chefs volunteer their time and every single item for the event, from the salt to the linens, dinnerware, flower arrangements…everything is donated. It’s amazing how it all comes together. Chairwoman Luck Davidson said it wouldn’t be possible without donations and volunteers. “It’s unbelievable how many small and independent businesses contribute to make this the event that it is every year.”
Organizers from TLF feature a new executive chef each year to headline the event. This year’s featured chef, James Patterson of Sedgefield Country Club, canvassed 12 chefs from across the Triad to join him in putting their stamp on each course calling the menu “6 ° of Southern.” “We were tossing around ideas, and we wanted to play with the idea of six degrees of separation (meaning everything in the world is six or fewer steps away from one another) and take Southern dishes and give it an Asian or Mexican twist using our local ingredients,” Patterson said.
East Meets West
Gochujang Corn Pudding, Collard Green Kimchi, Charred Scallion Aioli
Kris Fuller, Crafted
Oysters two ways was a fun “way” to kick off the courses. The charred scallion aioli was a dream and a beautiful savory contrast to cool sweet corn pudding.
JP’s Uptown DownSouth
Shrimp & Grits
Coastal Carolina Shrimp, Tasso Ham Gravy, Cajun Fried Guilford Mill Grits, Shaved Parmigiana, Crispy Homeland Creamery Buttermilk Shallots, Fair Share Farms Micro Greens
James Patterson III,
Sedgefield County Club
Chef Patterson is somewhat known for his take on shrimp and grits. The creamy sauce on a crispy Creole flavored grit cake is a fun twist on the original.
From The Fields
Sweet Tea Grilled
Manchester Farms Quail
Sweet Potato-Carrot Agrodulce, Dressed Greens, Angostura-Tarragon Muscadines, Brown Butter Walnut “Soil”
Reed Gordon, Greensboro Country Club
This dish was definitely unique in presentation and flavor with hints of early fall with muscadines and the brown butter walnut soil almost played like a deconstructed crouton for the tiny salad alongside the tiny bird. Photos didn’t do this pretty dish justice.
Rising Meadow Farms Smoked Lamb Tamale, Black Eyed Peas, housemade Homeland Creamery Ricotta Salata, Charred Faucette Farms Cherry Tomato Salsa Roja, Harmon Family Farm Poached Egg, East Branch Ginger Micro Beet and Cilantro Salad, Smoked Corn Crema, Bone Broth
Chris Blackburn, Scrambled Southern Diner; Lindley Park Filling Station
Whew! That description is a mouthful, but there’s good reason. It was super flavorful and truly embraced the abundance of our local farms. One of my favorites dishes of the night because its twist of Tex-Mex. The egg couldn’t have been more perfect (if you like it a tiny bit runny). This tamale would be the perfect breakfast for me who doesn’t really like a “breakfasty” breakfast.
Sweet Southern Sampler
Caramel Chocolate Pecan Pie, Key Lime Pie
Blackberry Merengue Cone, Chocolate Chess Pie, Strawberry Icebox Pie
Brian Dicey, Starmount Country Club
A selection of mini desserts for whatever suits your fancy. You could take your pick of pecan pie or chocolate chess pie or key lime. Except you didn’t have to choose.
Patterson said early on that he made a short list of the team he’d like to assemble. “I wanted to bring in the who’s who of the Triad and who I’ve got good relationships with. But I’d also thought it’d be fun to bring in chefs that people might not normally get to see like Reed Gordan and Brian Dicey.” Past featured chefs, Jay Pierce of Mozelle’s and Travis Myers of Willow’s spearheaded pre-dinner treats along with Anders Benton of Gia, Michael Harkenreader of Undercurrent, John Jones, and Jeff Bacon and Janis Karathanas of Providence Restaurant Group. Bread service was provided by Niki Farrington of Niki’s Pickles and Mary’s Gourmet Diner. It really is a full-scale, all-in, jovial event from the time the first dinner bell rings to the last. Travis Myers told a full-bellied crowd, “The growth of this whole project is incredible, Luck and Mary do all the hard work. We chefs just make the food look good.” What guests walk away with is that these chefs truly feel its an honor to be there.
Chef Mary Lacklen, who organizes Community Table each year told me what she loves about the event is not only the community of the people who are attending but the community of the chefs. “All these chefs who are competitors working together, unloading each other’s trucks and helping plate each other’s food, asking the chef who created the dish how they want it…it’s just amazing to watch. That’s community in its own sense.”
Kristi Maier is a food writer, blogger and cheerleader for all things local who even enjoys cooking in her kitchen, though her kidlets seldom appreciate her efforts.