We held the first of our new Culinary Collaborations Series this past Saturday.  The Dining Hall was transformed. Two large banquet tables, covered with beautifully laid place settings, flowers and candles filled the Ferebee Room.  Small lights shone on the immaculate flower arrangements. And wonderful Mediterranean aromas filled the air.  I think most people were simply amazed by the dramatic change in the Dining Hall, but then came the food.  It was culinary artistry at its best.  The chefs, Randy Harris, Steve Cipriano, Jerri Fifer, Barbara Swell, Nanette Davidson and Andrew Brown, gave us an experience to remember. Their combined cooking expertise and culinary design was apparent in each uniquely crafted course.

The meal started with an assortment of wood-fired flat breads coupled with several delicious spreads.  The red pepper & walnut spread was amazing (I was lucky enough to take a little home and I am trying desperately to ration it).  Andrew and Nanette starting cooking the flat breads in our outdoor bread oven (which is newly stuccoed) on Friday night and worked diligently through the evening. The woodland mushroom soup with rosemary dumplings prepared by Randy Harris was absolutely delicious and unlike anything I have ever tasted.  The entrée of stuffed flank steak with sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, spinach and pine nuts coupled with shrimp scampi topped in a beurre rouge sauce, prepared by Steve Cipriano and Jerri Fifer, was magnificent. And don’t get me started on the dessert.  I don’t normally eat dessert but my wife “made” me try a bite of her Italian polenta almond lemon drizzle cake and home-made rhubarb ice cream prepared by Barbara Swell.  To be completely honest after one bite I had to sneak off to find my own piece.  The night was topped off with delightful Italian wine and the serenading jazz guitar of Chad Hallyburton of Sylva, NC.

So I walked away from this event full and happy with several years of abstaining from dessert down the drain.

So if you happened to miss this event or waited too long to purchase a ticket, you are in luck.  We are currently planning the next event in the Culinary Collaborations Series for the fall of this year.  Hope to see you there.  Come hungry and prepared to fudge on your diet a bit!

The Culinary Collaborations Series helps raise funds for the Forging the Future Capital Campaign.  To read more about this campaign or to make a donation please click here.

To see more photos from this event please click here.