The third annual Southern Chef's Potluck returned to the bucolic grounds of Serenbe yesterday. The sold-out crowd lined up for heaping plates of barbecue chicken, tomato pie, watermelon salad, cornbread, pickled okra, squash casserole and so on while keeping cool with cocktail-filled mason jars. In the distance, the goats and chickens of Serenbe lounged in the shade. A few bands from Atlanta played tunes for the crowd before the real main event: an auction to benefit Wholesome Wave Georgia. When the day ended, the event had raised more than $50,000 for the organization.
That good cause (Wholesome Wave doubles foodstamp dollars at area farmers markets) is, of course, the main draw for the potluck, but there's much more to it than that. Despite bringing in more or less the best chefs in Atlanta, the potluck is decidedly casual. Most big tent food events seem to stick to a single format: rows of tradeshow-like booths where chefs and bartenders dole out single bites and sips. It's a good way to showcase a large number of chefs at once while allowing them complete control of the presentation. The only problem is that drinking a cocktail out of a plastic souffle cup while trying to balance a paper plate or two isn't so relaxing. The potluck works because they treat it like a potluck: a big spread piled with good food and long tables to sit down and enjoy.
Check out some pictures from Twitter below.
Photo of Serenbe goat by the author