Saturday, August 1, 2009

Scenes from the Southern Food Festival

Posted By on Sat, Aug 1, 2009 at 10:11 PM

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Greetings from Delta Island!

Flyer Food News writer Pamela Denney and I arrived in Nashville late this morning to attend the Food Network Southern Food & Wine Festival. It's at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, which includes a wing that has boat tours. No lie — that's in the resort's Delta Island.

We caught Good Eats' Alton Brown, in a sold-out, two-hour presentation. He was great. Funny, a bit more cynical in person than on TV. He had lost a good amount of weight lately, and his talk focused on healthy fish dishes.

(Early in the talk, Brown asked if anyone in the audience had a heart attack. When no one raised their hand, he said, "Oh, right, the Deen family was yesterday" — a reference to the Friday-night appearance by Jamie and Bobby Deen, the sons of butter-tastic, Food Network queen Paula Deen.)

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After the talk, it was into the festival's main area with the vendors and stages.

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Josh Knotts' family makes a wonderful pimento cheese and pickled bologna(!). We also sampled chocolates, dips (lots and lots), pies, wines, beers, etc.

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While Pam went to see Pat and Gina Neely, I checked out today's Pro-Am Chef Competition, which pitted a team with a chef and a reporter from the Knoxville newspaper against a team with a chef and The Commercial Appeal's Jennifer Biggs. Since I was late and there were a ton of people on the stage, I never really knew who was who or what was what. All I know is that Biggs' team lost. Thanks, Jennifer, for letting Memphis down. Kidding. Mostly.

Read more in the Food Column in this week's Flyer hitting the stands on Wednesday.

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