Dish: Exploring Life Through Food

Come and share the insights and recipes of leading chefs and renowned food writers as they explore how the production, preparation, and consumption of food bring meaning to our lives.  Local chefs Andrea Reusing of Lantern and Bill Smith of Crooks Corner will be joined by food memoirists Kim Sunée and Jessica Harris to discuss how food binds families, defines identities, and marks the milestones—happy and sad—of our lives.  Moderated by novelist Randall Kenan, the discussion will be lively and entertaining.  Can a life’s narrative be contained in a recipe box?  Does barbecue reveal the meaning of life or does pizza?  Can cake solve all problems?  Join us and find out.

Tickets are $100 per person. Drinks and appetizers included.

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Meet the Panelists

Jessica Harris

JesA leading expert on the food and foodways of the African Diaspora, Jessica Harris’s most recent book is  My Soul Looks Back: A Memoir. She has written twelve critically acclaimed cookbooks, including Iron Pots and Wooden Spoons: Africa’s Gifts to New World Cooking, The Welcome Table: African-American Heritage Cooking, The Africa Cookbook: Tastes of a Continent, and Beyond Gumbo: Creole Fusion Food from the Atlantic Rim. Her book, High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America, was the International Association for Culinary Professionals 2012 prize winner for culinary history. Her award-winning journalism has appeared in numerous national and international publications ranging from Essence to German Vogue. Most recently, she’s has been contributing editor at Saveur.  In 2012, she began a monthly radio show on Heritage Radio Network, My Welcome Table, that focuses on food, travel, music, and memoir. She received a lifetime achievement award from the Southern Foodways Alliance, of which she is a founding member.

Randall Kenan

Randall Kenan

Randall Kenan remembers his childhood in rural Duplin County, North Carolina, as a “moveable feast.”  “My home, my world,” he writes, “was always edible.”  In 2016 he collected his food memories and those of other North Carolina writers in The Carolina Table: North Carolina Writers on Food.  He takes food writing seriously.  “History, geography, business, culture, science, demography, labor, narrative, myth, and folklore, even music,” he writes,  “all intersect in the world of food.”  A professor of English at UNC-CH, where he teaches a course on food writing, he has written about food for a variety of publications, including Garden and Gun.  He is the author of the novel A Visitation of Spirits and the critically acclaimed short story collection Let the Dead Bury Their Dead.  His non-fiction includes The Fire this Time, published in 2007. He has received numerous awards and honors, including the North Carolina Award for Literature in 2005, and was elected to the Fellowship of Southern Writers in 2007. He also is the recipient of the John Dos Passos Prize and the Rome Prize of the American Academy or Arts and Letters.

Andrea Reusing

Andrea Reusing“My strongest childhood memories,” writes Andrea Reusing, “involve food”:  eating Peking Duck, savoring smoky Lebanon baloney, scooping up the remnants of a delicious accident when one of her grandmother’s chicken pot pies hit the floor.  Such experiences led her to become a chef, a career decision that has brought satisfied smiles to diners throughout the Triangle.  Gourmet ranked her Chapel Hill restaurant Lantern as one of the nation’s top fifty, and her restaurant/bar at the luxury hotel The Durham has become a dining destination. In 2011 the James Beard Foundation declared her the best chef in the Southeast.  That same year saw the publication of her cookbook Cooking in the Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes, which features some of her favorite childhood dishes and highlights local producers and products.  Her latest essay “Farm-to-Table May Feel Virtuous, But It’s Food Labor That’s Ripe for Change” demonstrates that the focus of her writing goes well beyond food memories and kitchen favorites.

Bill Smith

Bill Smith

In his contribution to The Carolina Table, Bill Smith describes a quintessentially Tar Heel moment.  “We’re sitting on the deck of a cottage somewhere out on Hatteras Island . . . Heat radiates up from the sand as the breeze cools you at the same time.  When this happens, tension magically leaves my neck and shoulders for a second.  I feel like I am where I belong.”  And belonging means sharing hard crab stew “at a long, newspaper-covered table” on the lawn.  Bill Smith belongs on Hatteras but fortunately for diners he also belongs in Chapel Hill in the kitchen of Crooks Corner.  His work there has gotten him nominated twice for a James Beard Award.  He has described his magic in two cookbooks, Seasoned in the South and Crabs and Oysters, and will tell us more in a forthcoming memoir.

Kim Sunée
Kim Sunee

photo by Roberto Frankenberg

Kim Sunée was born in South Korea, adopted, and raised in New Orleans. She is the author of the national bestselling memoir Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home (Grand Central Publishing), which has been translated into Korean, Chinese, and Hebrew.  She is also the author of two cookbooks, A Mouthful of Stars (Andrews McMeel) and Everyday Korean (Norton/Countryman Press) and has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Ladies’ Homes Journal, People, ELLE, and Glamour.  She ate and lived in Europe–mostly France–for ten years before working as a food editor for Southern Living and Cottage Living magazines. Her writing has appeared in Food & Wine, The Oxford American, Cooking Light, and Asian American Poetry and Writing.



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