Southern fundraiser at Tupelo Honey Cafe in Chattanooga

Southern fundraiser at Tupelo Honey Cafe in Chattanooga

October 2nd, 2013 by Anne Braly in Life Entertainment

Tupelo Honey Cafe in Chattanooga

Photo by Angela Lewis/Times Free Press.

It's only been open for a few weeks but already Tupelo Honey Cafe at Warehouse Row is gearing up for a Crafted by Southern Hands event to help raise funds for the Southern Foodways Alliance, an organization dedicated to preserving the food culture and recipes of the South.

The Friday, Oct. 11, event at Tupelo Honey Cafe will not only give you a chance to visit the new cafe, founded in Asheville, N.C., and now the third to open outside Asheville, but also view a screening of Southern Foodways Alliance's new documentary, "Pride and Joy." The film chronicles the lives of dozens of individuals who have dedicated their lives to growing, catching, cooking, serving and studying the depth and breadth of the food culture in the South.

The admission fee to the event will directly benefit the work of the alliance's Oral History Initiative, a program aimed at inspiring appreciation and understanding of the South's many foods.

Warehouse Row is co-sponsor of the event, and the film will be shown in its motor court, the walk-through area between the two buildings, starting at 8 p.m. But before the documentary film begins, the area will be transformed into a grassy, park-like setting with live music. Following the film, there will be time for a question-and-answer session.

Tupelo Honey Cafe will open at 6:30 p.m. so you can have dinner from the restaurant's made-from-scratch Southern-inspired menu and try its two signature Chattanooga Whiskey cocktails: Benton's Bacon Manhattan and Tupelo Honey's Blueberry Mint Julep. The eatery's proprietary beer, Tupelo Honey Ale, made in Tennessee with real Tupelo honey and rye malt from Asheville, will also be served. All of the food and drink is included in the ticket price.

Tickets can be purchased in advance online at southernfoodways.org for $50 per person or $75 per couple. There will only be 100 tickets available.


On a side note, Tupelo Honey Cafe has done much to add to the flavors of Warehouse Row. But if you want to try to recreate the restaurant's tastes at home, there's a cookbook with stories, photographs, and recipes that tell a tale of local foods and people and how they work together to bring brilliance to the table.

"Tupelo Honey Cafe: Spirited Recipes From Asheville's New South Kitchen" is by Elizabethe Sims, food writer and a former president of the Southern Foodways Alliance, and Chef Brian Sonoskus, farmer and executive chef at the Asheville restaurant. It can be purchased at your favorite bookstore and at Tupelo Honey Cafe.

Here's an example of the recipes you'll discover.


Fried Green Tomatoes with Goat Cheese Basil Grits

2 large green tomatoes

1 cup white cornmeal

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 teaspoon Lawry's seasoned salt

1 egg

1/3 cup milk

1 cup canola oil

3 cups water

1 teaspoon sea salt

1-1/4 cups quick-cooking grits

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 tablespoons cream

4 ounces goat cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (for garnish)

For the tomatoes, core and slice off the ends so each end is flat. Cut the tomatoes into 4 round slices each and set aside. In a small bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, paprika and seasoned salt. In a second bowl, whisk the egg and milk until thoroughly combined. Dredge each tomato slice in the seasoned flour mixture, then dip in the egg wash and return to the flour mixture to cover.

In a cast-iron skillet or heavy sauté pan, heat the canola oil until bubbling. Place the breaded tomatoes in the pan and cook for about 2 minutes per side or until golden brown. Transfer the tomatoes to paper towels to drain.

To make the grits, in a heavy saucepan bring the water and salt to a boil over high heat. Stir in the grits and butter and bring back to a boil. Add the cream and decrease the heat to low, simmering for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is creamy and thick. Remove the pan from the stove and whisk in the goat cheese till melted. Add tomatoes on top of grits. Garnish with the basil.

Makes 4 servings.

Contact Anne Braly at abraly@timesfreepress.com.