Brooks Museum's Art of Good Taste — Memphis' premier gastronomic and vinous series — has rebranded itself the Memphis Wine & Food Series. Since its inception, this fund-raiser has brought some of the best chefs and winemakers to Memphis. Last year saw Chef Celina Tio, a competitor on Next Iron Chef and Top Chef Masters, and Giacomo Neri, whose Brunello di Montalcino was awarded number-one wine in the world by Wine Spectator.
This year, the Brooks is hosting one of the biggest names in Napa Valley, Silver Oak, which was arguably the first "cult" Cabernet.
"We got involved because of [event chair] Frank Muscari. He is an ardent fan," says Charlie Campbell, Silver Oak's director of national sales.
"This business is all about relationships," Campbell adds. "This is a great event for us and a great opportunity to get involved with such a vital part of Memphis' arts and culture."
While the Silver Oak name alone could draw a crowd of wine trophy hunters, the Wine & Food Series planning committee didn't stop there. Silver Oak's executive chef Dominic Orsini will join Brushmark chefs Wally Joe and Andrew Adams and Felicia Suzanne's Felicia Willett to create the courses for the series' Patrons Dinners on May 6th and May 7th.
"Every year, the Memphis Wine & Food Series brings creative chefs to the museum," says Adams, who is the Brushmark's chef de cuisine. "Even after 16 years of working with Wally Joe, I still learn something new every day. This year, I am excited to work with Felicia and Dominic.
"Memphis has come a long way in the past decade with its food availability," Adams continues. "Every week, I am introduced to new products or familiar products that are now local."
Those fresh, local products will be featured throughout the Patrons Dinner menu. "I am excited to see how Dominic uses our Tennessee duck to make his 'Duck Prepared Two Ways': seared breast over spring vegetable fricassee and leg cannelloni with morel mushroom ragu," Adams says.
Highlighting the local bounty alongside one of the most coveted wines in California makes perfect sense considering the national love affair with Southern food. What food lovers have at their fingertips in Memphis is covet-worthy, and events such as this showcase why.
"As busy as the week of Patrons Dinner and the auction is, the best part is anticipating and then finally walking past the farmers' booths [at the farmers market] and seeing what we will actually cook," Adams says.
"We will have the absolute freshest, seasonal local food. I am really excited to get rich golden farm eggs, which will be going into my chocolate cremeux."
Supporting one of the important arts organizations in Tennessee while eating delicious food and drinking awesome wine seems like a no-brainer.
"The arts and culture are part of the soul of a city. They are what define the personality of a city," Campbell says. "The museum is right there in one of the most beautiful parts of our city. What's not to love?"
For more information about the Brooks Museum's Wine & Food Series, visit memphiswineandfoodseries.org