'4 Courses and 4:44' dinner themed to music of Jay-Z

Gwen Davis Photo / Kenyatta Ashford, chef de cuisine at Bridgeman's Chophouse in The Read House and a 2017 James Beard-Jean Louis Palladin Grant recipient, is a co-founder of the new dinner series "4 Courses and " with Carmen Davis and Alex Curry.

A new dinner series founded by Read House chef Kenyatta Ashford, Alex Curry and Carmen Davis is launching Sunday, Oct. 6, themed to the music of rap artist Jay-Z.

The dinner, "4 Courses and 4:44" is the first in the "4 Courses and" series aimed at bringing people of diverse backgrounds together to discuss topics covered within one musical project.

This inaugural dinner will begin at 5:30 p.m. Sunday in the Read House Silver Ballroom. In addition to Chef Ashford, it will feature James Beard Award-winner Michael Twitty and Ben Park, executive chef of The Flying Squirrel.

Not only will a portion of the dinner's proceeds benefit The Howard School's culinary program, but students will be actively involved in serving guests and assisting the chefs in the kitchen to prepare the food.

photo Johnathan M. Lewis / Chef Michael Twitty, 2018 James Beard Award winner and New York Times best-selling author of "The Cooking Gene," will be the featured guest for the first "4 Courses and" dinner on Sunday.
photo Staff File Photo by Tim Barber / Ben Park, executive chef of The Flying Squirrel.

The menu for each "4 Courses and ..." will be curated and prepared by influential up-and-coming chefs from around the country alongside Chef Ashford, chef de cuisine at The Read House. Each edition of "4 Courses and ..." will welcome an ever-changing lineup of chefs, along with a rotating venue and theme.

The 2019-2020 dialogue of the "4 Courses and ..." series is centered around topics covered in popular rap artist Jay-Z's album "4:44." This musical project highlights personal and political issues for Jay-Z and the African-American community. The menu and discussion for "4 Courses and 4:44" will focus on the song "The Story of O.J." For example, Ashford says the dinner entree will be Sorghum-Brined Chicken Roasted in Cabbage Leaves with Jollof Rice.

"The task of selecting a chef who can facilitate the dialogue around racial inequity and economic empowerment as it pertains to 'The Story of O.J.,' as well as carefully select an award-winning menu was not an easy one, but we found that person in Michael Twitty," says Davis, co-founder of "4 Courses and "

She adds that during Twitty's visit to Chattanooga for the event, he plans to give a demonstration and talk with Howard High students participating in the culinary arts program.

Tickets for "4 Courses and 4:44" are $150 per person and can be purchased at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/4- courses-444-featuring- michael-twitty-tickets- 70390346421