Can I just move to Orange Beach, Alabama, so that I don’t miss even one of this summer’s seven Southern Grace Dinner Series, a season’s worth of the South’s hottest chefs taking up residence on the Gulf Coast for the weekend and whipping up a gorgeous dinner for 100 or so lucky guests at Fisher’s at Orange Beach Marina restaurant?
For the third delicious summer, Fisher’s will host the series featuring eight award-winning and celebrity chefs from across the South (see the drool-worthy lineup, below). Bill Briand, executive chef and 2016 James Beard Award nominee, shares his kitchen with each chef for a dinner that not only showcases all those culinary chops, but celebrates the diverse bounty of the Gulf Coast. (Part of the weekend includes taking the visiting chef for a boat tour of Alabama’s Gulf shores, including visiting local fishermen and seafood farmers.)
The dinners allow guests the chance to hang out with the chef at a 6:30pm cocktail reception pre-dinner, followed by a communal-seated dinner at 7:30 in Fisher’s–which is pretty much a expanded iteration of the perfect beach house. This year, a portion of the proceeds benefits Gravy, a wonderful print journal/podcast from the Southern Foodways Alliance that was named the James Beard Foundation’s Publication of the Year in 2015.
Here’s a peek at the dining room at Fisher’s:
Now, without further ado, check out this summer’s killer lineup:
MAY 12 – Chef Nina Compton of Compère Lapin in New Orleans, Louisiana (A native Saint Lucian and owner/chef of the hot New Orleans restaurant, Compton was also runner-up in Season 11 of Bravo’s Top Chef.)
JUNE 9 – Chef Alon Shaya of Domenica, Pizza Domenica, and Shaya in New Orleans, Louisiana (Named the James Beard “Best Chef South” in 2015, Shaya (the restaurant) also was lauded by Esquire and Eater as “Best New Restaurant in America” for 2015. The restaurant is also a 2016 Beard semifinalist for “Best New Restaurant.”
JUNE 16 – Chef Isaac Toups of Toups’ Meatery in New Orleans, Louisiana (Since opening the restaurant with his wife, Amanda, in 2012, Toups has three times been named a James Beard “Best Chef South” semifinalist and is a 2016 finalist. He also recently made it to the top four on Bravo’s Top Chef California and was voted the Fan Favorite.)
JUNE 30 – Chef Frank Stitt of Highlands Bar & Grill, Bottega, and Chez Fonfon in Birmingham, Alabama (Considered by many to be the patron saint of Southern cuisine, Stitt’s Highlands Bar & Grill has been named a James Beard finalist for the coveted “Outstanding Restaurant” award for eight years, including 2016.)
JULY 14 – Chef Adam Evans of Brezza Cucina in Atlanta, Georgia, and Chef Justin Devillier of La Petite Grocery and Balise in New Orleans, Louisiana (Devillier was a contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef New Orleans and has been a James Beard Award finalist for “Best Chef South” every year since 2012.)
JULY 21 – Chef Ryan Prewitt of Pêche in New Orleans, Louisiana, featuring beer pairings from Blackberry Farm Brewery of Walland, Tennessee (Prewitt hit the ball out of the James Beard culinary park when Pêche was named “Best New Restaurant” and Prewitt was named “Best Chef South” in the same year–2014.)
AUGUST 11 – Chef Bill Smith of Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, North Carolina (Smith is as well-known for his sumptuous take on Southern comfort food as he is for his exceptional food writing — including the New York Times “Notable” and Food & Wine Best-of-the-Best cookbook, Seasoned in the South, and the bestselling Savor the South title, Crabs & Oysters. Smith is the only James Beard Foundation “America’s Classic Restaurant” chef to have also been named a final-five finalist for Best Chef in the Southeast — twice.)
Want to get a feel for things? Check out this video from last year, with thanks to Jeff Nelson Studios for the share:
Tickets are $130 per person with wine pairings, $100 without. The dinners have traditionally sold out, so don’t wait to reserve your spot at the table right here.
And bring your appetite. I know I am.
Can’t make the May 12th dinner with Nina Compton? Tune into Coastal Living’s Facebook Live broadcast from inside the kitchen on the Big Night! More details to come!
Love seafood like I do?