Nashville: An Unexpected Foodie Heaven
Music City, USA has a lot to offer when it comes to food. You just have to know where to look.
This topic first came to my attention in Nashville, Tennessee of all places.
For vacation, I traveled with a group of my foodiest of foodie friends to eat our way through Music, City USA. To be honest, on the way down to Nashville, I did not have high hopes for the food. For me, Nashville has always been synonymous with country music, bachlorette parties, and honky tonk.
Boy, was I wrong.
The more we learned and ate, the more I realized how many hidden gems this city has to offer. We also kept getting word of New York City restauranters who are opening outlets in this Southern hub, which will no doubt draw more attention to the city’s restaurant scene.
Inspired by his Appalachian roots, traditions of the rural South, and his maternal grandmother, Audrey is his most personal project to date.
Sean Brock has garned a lot of attention for his work on documenting, preserving, and championing the Southern kitchen. Our dining experience included a tour of their R&D lab where we learned all about how they are working to create a Southern pantry.
At the basis of this work is fermentation and seedkeeping. Chef tolds us he has freezers full of seeds that he has collected over the years.
Through collaborations with farmers, he has been working to reintroduce varietals that would otherwise be lost.
This gets me excited for a number of reasons.
It used to be that every family had their own seeds. These would be passed down from one generation to the next, preserved and stewarded in the family garden.
If you watch the Chef’s Table episode with Chef Brock, you will hear him talk with a farmer about how different seed varietals were named after the families that kept those seeds. For example, The Jones family would have their own kind of bean. The Lawrences another.
In this way, everyone worked to create biodiversity. Different seeds were adapted to different places with different genetic compositions. This created resilience, which has been largely lost in our food system today. Perhaps more sad is that when the last of a seed is planted it goes extinct just like when the last animal of a species dies that animal goes extinct.
I deeply admire restaurants who are using their platform to forward the food system. From Colombia to Nashville, I am seeing chefs take up the fight to preserve their regional heritage, promote biodiversity, and advocate for nutrient dense food that is better for people and the planet.
You can listen to the full episode about the importance of seed keeping here:
Must Eats in Nashville
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