published Monday, September 12th, 2011

Off the Couch: Celebrity chefs and polo ponies on the way

BARRY COURTER: Lisa, there are so many things coming up this week worth mentioning, it's almost hard to know where to start. I may sit right here on the couch and think about it for days.

Andrew Zimmern, who foodies will know from his "Bizarre Foods" show on the Travel Channel, will be at 212 Market on Tuesday teaching a class on how to make the restaurant's shrimp and grits. He'll be joined by 212 chef Nick Goeller. The $100 class fee will go toward a tornado relief fund.

I'm pretty open to trying new foods, but that guy will eat anything.

LISA DENTON: I always like to reassure my dinner guests by telling them, "The last time I cooked, hardly anyone got sick," but I believe I could feed Zimmern without a worry in the world. If he'll eat squirrel brains, surely he could sit down to my pork chops. And preparing one of the house specialties with 212 Market's resident chef should really show him what good eating is all about.

He's not the only prominent chef heading to the Scenic City. Alton Brown is coming to launch Serve & Protect, a sustainable seafood effort, with the Tennessee Aquarium. But that's not until Sept. 22-25, so you have a few more days to sit on the couch for that.

BARRY: Brown is also going to be involved in the Cast-Iron Cookoff at the Chattanooga Market that Sunday, and I think I'm judging, so that will be fun.

We should also mention that Mother's Finest will headline the Trail of Tears Kickoff Party Friday at Thunder Creek. They might be Chattanooga's favorite funk-rock band, but then again "Baby Love" is impossible not to love.

And let's not forget that the highfalutin set will be up in McDonald, Tenn., watching the polo matches this weekend. They play a similar game up your way, don't they, but with riding lawn mowers and a duct-taped Mountain Dew bottle?

LISA: Well, we prefer the lowercase mountain dew where I come from, at least Granny Denton always did. And when you drink it, you don't need a lawn mower to race around the field.

But I've seen "Pretty Woman" plenty of times, and I watched the news coverage of the Hollywood visit by Prince William and Princess Catherine, so I think I know which end of the mallet is up, Mr. Smarty-Pants.

But you don't have to be highfalutin to enjoy these polo matches -- just curious about a sport we rarely see played here. The players will be out at 10 a.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, weather permitting, at Bendabout Farm.

I know it's a long shot, but I'll be keeping my eye out for the prince.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

about Lisa Denton...

Lisa Denton is deputy features editor and content editor of Current. She previously was a lifestyle, entertainment and region reporter/pod leader for The Chattanooga Times, which she joined in 1983. Lisa is from Sale Creek and holds an associate’s degree in journalism from Chattanooga State Community College. Contact Lisa at 423-757-6281 or

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