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While it seems that these days a lot of events like this one feature a whole hog, the Piggy Bank Dinner at Flight, a fund-raiser for the Southern Foodways Alliance (SFA), is not particularly porky, nor at first glance, does it appear overtly Southern.

But as Flight chef-partner Joshua Perkins points out, the menu for the five-course dinner reflects the fact that there are a lot of animals in the South, and the Southern flourishes are there in dishes such as the slow-smoked Newman Farm pork shoulder, which is served with a sweet garlic tamale tart and a barbecue demi-glace.

Other dishes include Hawaiian big-eye tuna carpaccio and Muscovy duck with pumpkin ravioli, brandy jus, and cranberry-orange sauce. For dessert, there's pineapple upside-down cake topped with rum-basted pineapples and tres leches ice cream.

Perkins, who went to culinary school in Italy, says his cooking is influenced by his travels in Europe. His style leans more toward fine dining than pig roast. But, he says, "I'm a 13th generation Southerner. Everything I'm going to touch has the soul of the South."

Perkins is a member of SFA and enjoys the organization's writing and how it manages to capture all the diverse culinary offerings of the region while bringing everyone together over a shared love of food.

"In my family, there's a table in almost every photograph," he says. "Those deeper, political conversations are always easier over a table of food."

Piggy Bank Dinner at Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar, Thursday, January 23rd, 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $75. For tickets, call 521-8005.

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