I t’s springtime in Nashville and another wedding season is upon us. But, for men, wedding season is sometimes better known as “bachelor-party season.”
Just the mention of this manly rite fills the head with images of drunken, debauched dudes seeking out regrettable circumstances as they grieve the loss of yet another member of their stinky, belching tribe. My most recent experience of this all-important guy’ night out was a perfectly respectful meeting for dinner at Merchants, enjoying apps, wines, and beers, lingering over entrees—I had the trout—and getting to know our new British friends from the bride’s side of the family.
This trend of “gourmet guy time” is catching on, and when Local Table invited Hank Delvin of Delvin Farms, Bob Woods of The Hamery, Josh Corlew of Hands on Nashville’s Urban Agriculture Program, and Tom Maddox of Carter Creek Green—all of Nashville’s slow-food community—to Mason’s to grab a beer, light a fire, and feast on the creations of chef Brandon Frohne, it quickly became a party.
“I was honored to be included,” says Delvin. “We’re all dressed up, kicking back and drinking beers and eating delicious food.”
Chef Frohne’s menu included fries sprinkled with truffle salt, bone marrow and beef cheek confit, and lardo glazed scallops.
“I’m a champion of Brandon’s,” says Woods. “He works harder than any chef I know.” Of course, Woods loved the food, but it was the experience that he’ll remember most. “It’s not often I wear a $600 sports coat curing ham. It was fun and completely different than the kind of thing I usually get to do.”
When heavyweights like these fellas get together, the talk inevitably turns to local, sustainable food, and it’s a subject they all take very seriously.
“First and foremost it eradicates the carbon footprint,” said Maddox. “Our travel time from harvest to table is 20 minutes.”
The taste and nutrition of just-picked foods speak for themselves, but between local food deserts and grocery aisles overflowing with processed foods and chemical additives, it’s a message that can be easily missed. In order to meet these challenges, local farmers and chefs have to be educators as well as producers.
“We have a program called ‘crop city’ at our urban farm,” explains Corlew. “We teach kids how to grow, we talk about nutrition, we spend a lot of time cooking, and then we look at the impacts of the current food system on the environment and health, and contrast that with the journey of a locally produced tomato from seed to plate. There are a lot of hidden costs associated with cheap food. We have to understand all of those impacts if we’re going to have a food system that’s healthy and just.”
“Educating people is a huge part of what we do,” says Frohne. “When I’m not cooking food, I’m talking to people about it. We’re all advocates when it comes to local, sustainable foods.”
And a little knowledge never tasted so good.