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Music City Food + Wine Festival Is a Fine Feast For the Senses in Nashville

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Taste, touch, scent, sights and sounds. The Music City Food + Wine Festival had all this and more during four separate ticketed events scheduled over three memorable days on September 20-22, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Music City Food + Wine Festival Is a Fine Feast For the Senses in Nashville

The seventh annual incarnation of the Music City Food + Wine Festival once again brought together the stars of Nashville's culinary scene with acclaimed chefs and beverage experts from around the South and across the country at-large for an appetizing and thirst-quenching celebration of the culinary arts, restaurants, wine & spirits and musicians.

The Friday Night Throwdown kicked things off at the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park with renowned chefs Carla Hall (chef, author, TV personality) and Tim Love (Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Woodshed Smokehouse, Queenie's Steakhouse, Love Shack, White Elephant Saloon, Gemelle) for the ultimate culinary throwdown as they went head-to-head in a spirited cooking demo, captaining teams featuring celebrity sous chefs from the Nashville Predators and Tennessee Titans. Each team was tasked with the challenge of creating a meal from a surprise ingredient box with a celebrity panel of judges determining the winning pair.

Music City Food + Wine Festival Is a Fine Feast For the Senses in Nashville

Festivities continued on Saturday with the Eat + Drink portion of the flavorful festival. Attendees were treated to immersive cooking demonstrations, a dynamic roster of chefs and artisans serving signature dishes and drinks at Chef Showcase, intimate Meet the Maker and Tasting Sessions, Book Signings and several other palate pleasing activities. Throughout the weekend participants were able to get up close and personal as chefs led interactive and fun Cooking Demonstrations featuring the likes of James Beard Foundation Award winner Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, Xoco, Leña Brava, Cruz Blanca, Frontera Cocina, Bar Sótano); Scott Conant (Mora Italian); Sarah Grueneberg (Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio); Tyler Florence (restaurateur, chef, TV host, author and media producer); Martina McBride (Country music artist, TV Host, author); and Aarón Sánchez (Johnny Sánchez).

On Saturday evening the fun moved to downtown's Walk of Fame Park for Harvest Night that included an all-star line-up of chefs and live music under the Nashville skyline. Chefs who served signature dishes as night descended in Music City included Rick Bayless; Jessica Benefield & Trey Burnette (Two Ten Jack, The Green Pheasant); Matt Bolus (The 404 Kitchen); Scott Conant; Tyler Florence; James Beard Foundation Award winner Sarah Grueneberg; Carla Hall; Matt Hyland (EMILY, EMMY Squared, VIOLET); James Beard Foundation Award winner JJ Johnson (Fieldtrip, Henry at Life Hotel, NYC); Cheetie Kumar (Garland, RaleighDurham, NC); Tim Love; Margot McCormack (Margot Café & Bar, Marche); Rob Newton (Gray & Dudley); Deb Paquette (Etch, etc); Aarón Sánchez; James Beard Foundation Award winner Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto, Adele's, Jams, Brezza Cucina); and James Beard Foundation Award winner Tandy Wilson (City House).

Music City Food + Wine Festival Is a Fine Feast For the Senses in Nashville

This being Nashville there was a captivating cross section of musical genres represented. The newly Nashvillian Kathie Lee Gifford was on hand to represent her own wine and serve as a hostess. Country Music icon Martina McBride was hawking her latest cookbook. But, the music really got cooking on Saturday night with the Ronnie Baker Brooks fronted Chicago Plays The Stones with two generations of Chicago Blues stars paying homage to The Rolling Stones, whose own sound was inspired by the greatest bluesmen of all time. Throughout the night this high-octane act was joined by special guests John Hiatt, Aaron Lee Tasjan, The McCrary Sisters - and straight off of his appearance at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Concerts - six string wizard Sonny Landreth.

In the South it's especially appropriate to pray over one's meal so Sunday's Music City Food + Wine's Gospel Brunch at Walk of Fame Park fit in perfectly with the theme as an acclaimed group of chefs and restaurants served their brunch favorites set to a spirited live gospel performance. Signature offerings from many of Tennessee's most beloved chefs served alongside eye-opening cocktails, wines and coffee from Skylar Bush (Edible Nashville); RJ Cooper (Saint Stephen); Katie Coss (Husk); Laurence Faber (The Barn at Blackberry Farm); Romain Fournel (Stompin Grounds Market); Rob Newton; Genevieve Ingham; Emma Livingston (The Old School Nashville); Jonathan Searle (Proof on Main, Louisville); and Ryder Zetts (Star River Sound) provided a heavenly way to conclude a truly blessed event that we were thankful to attend.

Music City Food + Wine Festival Is a Fine Feast For the Senses in Nashville

In addition to wine there was no shortage of beverage service through-out the tantalizing three days. We sampled ample amounts of gin and vodka based mixed drinks, a variety of seltzer based coolers and some very tasty moonshine. But, our favorite display on the drink side was the whimsical two-story outpost set up by the Angry Orchard that traced the history and evolution of their hard cider product line complete with a high-tech demo courtesy of Oculus 3D goggles.

As for our favorite tasting of the weekend nothing could beat the Unbeetable Burger dreamed up the The True Food Kitchen. They start their variation on the favorite sandwich with a made-from-scratch beet & kuzu patty, packed full of anti-inflammatory benefits with sweet & savory flavor and topped with a brush of teriyaki sauce that gave it a slight kick. Jicama slaw and butter lettuce added crunch while a creamy avocado, vegan mayonnaise all contained neatly within their classic flaxseed bun rounded out the flavor to perfection. We watched as patrons effusively praised it's pleasing flavor in between every bite.

Music City Food + Wine Festival Is a Fine Feast For the Senses in Nashville

This was one of the sweetest events we've participated in Nashville and that was only underscored by the delicious Chive and Orange Blossom Honey Waffles with Spicy Garlic Honey Chicken provided by the National Honey Board. Their modern take on a classic set taste buds abuzz as they worked to inspire a passion for honey, nature's finest food, and an appreciation for the honeybees that make it possible. Their appealing appetizers proved that honey truly is a versatile ingredient that can elevate dishes and inspire with its deliciously unique flavor and endless possibilities.

About Music City Food + Wine Festival: Music City Food + Wine is generously sponsored by Nashville Convention + Visitors Bureau, Toyota and FOOD & WINE and produced by founding partners Vector Management, GRAMMY-award winning artists Kings of Leon, world-renowned chef Jonathan Waxman and Austin-based C3 Presents - producer of Lollapalooza in Chicago's Grant Park, and Austin City Limits Music Festival in Austin's Zilker Park. FOOD & WINE is the ultimate authority on the best of what's new in food, drink, travel, design and entertaining with an extensive social media following along with a monthly magazine in print and digital formats and much more.

Music City Food + Wine Festival Is a Fine Feast For the Senses in Nashville

Related Links: For more information on MUSIC CITY FOOD + WINE FESTIVAL and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- Music City Food + Wine Festival | FOOD & WINE


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