When Underbelly chef Chris Shepherd created the nonprofit fundraiser Southern Smoke back in 2014, it was to honor his friend and former sommelier, Antonio Gianola, who had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Three years later, the event has raised almost half a million dollars for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and if the 2017 chef lineup is any indication, it will likely reach its goal this year of raising another $300K for a great cause.
Fans of barbecue (and of doing good deeds) will want to mark October 22 on the calendar. On that Sunday afternoon, Underbelly, Hay Merchant and Blacksmith will transform into one raucous street party, with loads of great wine and beer from around the world and, of course, a killer food lineup from these incredible guest chefs and pitmasters, all of whom rock some serious credentials in the greater South:
Aaron Franklin, Franklin's Barbecue in Austin
Rodney Scott, Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ Rodney Scott in Charleston
Ashley Christensen, Poole’s Diner, Beasley’s Chicken + Honey, Chuck’s and more in Raleigh
Mike Lata and Jason Stanhope, FIG Restaurant in Charleston
John Besh, Besh Group (August, Shaya, Willa Jean and more) in New Orleans
- HOUBBQ Collective including Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan of The Pass and Provisions, Ryan Pera of Coltivare, Justin Yu of Better Luck Tomorrow and Public Services Wine and Whisky and Chris Shepherd
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Tickets go on sale on Monday, August 7, at noon. VIP tickets are $350, which includes early entry, premium wines and a gift bag with participating chefs’ cookbooks. General admission is $200.
If you can't make it on October 22 or are looking for an even swankier fundraising experience from Shepherd and crew, Southern Smoke has also just announced a new event heading to Houston in spring 2018, focused on a more intimate experience with exclusive chef’s table dinners at private homes around town prepared by a local and visiting chefs, with 2017 Beard Award winner Hugo Ortega, Kata Robata's Manabu “Hori” Horiuchi and more chefs already signed on to participate.
Head to southernsmoke.org for more information.