This is a guest post by Drew McDonald of The Plaid Apron in Knoxville, TN
The Plaid Apron is a cafe tucked into the historic Sequoyah Hills neighborhood in Knoxville, TN. We consider ourselves to be a “relationship driven” restaurant. We rely on many local and sustainable resources; utilizing what’s here and working closely with farmers and small producers, who we know by name, is just how we roll. This is the “circle of life” of the local movement! This summer, we’re taking part in the Bristol Bay salmon dinner series.
At first glance, you may wonder why a chef in East Tennessee could care about the precious Bristol Bay area. One word: gift! God has blessed us all with this world, and we have done all but ruin many of the valuable resources she bestows. The Bristol Bay region of Alaska is a precious resource that remains untouched, and it’s not too late to protect this special place. It’s also a place that touches people across the world; from the plates in restaurants across the country to the families that have been fishing there for hundreds of years.
On the 13th of July we hope to gather a group of 100 or so at the historic Riverdale School House to feast on the beautiful Bristol Bay Wild Sockeye. This 100+ year-old schoolhouse sits just above the majestic French Broad River and provides a view to the Smokey Mountains section of the Southern Appalachians. As expected we are calling this meal the Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon BBQ, we are in East Tennessee after all.
The food will range traditional southern picnic sides, to grilling and smoking the salmon over open coal just a few yards from the table. We aim to provide education about the issue at hand while doing what we all enjoy; sitting at a table with good food and good friends even if we just met.
Outside of home-cooked meals, I believe that chefs provide more meals to individuals than any other people on earth. Why do we do what we do? Because we love it. If you love what you do why would you not take care of those whom allow you do what you love?
From farmer to fisherman to forager we work as a community, a sort of supporting cast in the big picture. Bristol Bay is a major segment in the picture and we are the subtitles between the scene and the viewer!