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Memphis Chefs 'Put Butter And Salt On Things Up In Chicago'

By Melissa McEwen in Food on Aug 14, 2014 4:00PM

"Newman farm pork shank, rice 'grits,' turnips, patty pan squash and baby carrots" via Restaurant Iris

In the past five years Memphis has earned its place on the food lover’s radar with restaurants cooking up Southern food both classic and new-fangled. Next Tuesday, Aug. 19 chefs from two of the Memphis' hottest restaurants, Hog & Homily and Restaurant Iris, will be in the kitchen at Trencherman (2039 W. North Ave.) for Dinner Upriver, Memphis Edition.

It’s a chance to get the perspective of these innovative Southern chefs. Chef Kelly English of Restaurant Iris grew up in southern Louisiana and says “what I really took away from the food I grew up with is that just like any culture they did the best with what they had … the central theme to great food is resourcefulness using what’s available for you. I like to cook things at Restaurant Iris that people in Louisiana would have eaten if they had settled here. My goal is to cook great food to show what it is we do down here with the products you have up there.” It's a perspective common to many of the best chefs coming out of that region, such as our own Alfredo Nogueira at Analogue. It is a welcome divergence from past Cajun trends that involved mainly restaurants trying to emulate the exact dishes from that region with shipped-in ingredients of questionable provenance and freshness.

It will be English’s second time in the city, but the first time it was “for the Notre Dame - LSU game … we were broke college students didn’t do much.” This time he’s looking forward to eating at Paul Kahan’s restaurants and going to The Aviary.

He’s also looking forward to putting “butter and salt on things up in Chicago” with Memphis chefs Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman from Hog & Hominy, known for their synthesis of Southern and Italian food, who will join Trencherman chef Patrick Sheerin in the kitchen.

The dinner is $95 a person and will start at 6:30 p.m. with 4 appetizers and a welcome cocktail. The dinner will start at 7 p.m. and will include four courses paired with an assortment of spirits, wine and beer. A portion of the proceeds will benefit urban farming non-profit Growing Power. Get your tickets at Brown Paper Tickets.