People We Love – Ryman Auditorium
Lots of music venues are special in their own right: the Hollywood Bowl is iconic; you can’t think of punk music without picturing hordes of New Yorkers lining up outside CBGB in the East Village; Luckenbach, Texas is a one-horse town known mostly for it’s saw dust covered dance hall and the Waylon Jennings song that made it famous. But stepping foot into the Ryman Auditorium, the original home of the Grand Ole Opry and one and only Mother Church, is a sacred experience. The fact that we, as a catering company, get to step foot through those doors so often, is an actual blessing.
A Brief History. Built in 1892 by Tom Ryman, the Mother Church was, in its origin, a church. Then known as the Union Gospel Tabernacle, it housed thousands of people who gathered to hear revival lectures. The fate and future of the Tabernacle, however, was shifted when a stage was built to host the New York Metropolitan Opera’s tours of Carmen, Faust and The Barber of Seville – an unintentional foreshadowing of the little Tennessee-style “opera” with which the venue would later become synonymous. In the years leading up to the debut of the Grand Ole Opry, many a famous name graced the stage: Teddy Roosevelt, Charlie Chaplin, Harry Houdini, and Helen Keller – the first person to sell out the Ryman Auditorium’s 2,362 seats.
But it was in 1943 that the WSM Grand Ole Opry first premiered on the Ryman stage with the likes of Little Jimmy Dickens, Minnie Pearl, Bill Monroe – names that instantly bring to mind the twangy country and western sounds of Nashville in its heyday. The show continued there for 30 years, airing live and homes around the country three nights a week, before it relocated to the larger Grand Ole Opry House at Opryland in 1974. Since then, the Ryman has become known as a world class venue playing host to the brightest names in all musical genres.
Flavor + The Ryman. As a company, we are honored each time we are asked to cater an event there – be it backstage for a show, a reception in the newly opened Soul of Nashville room, or a plated dinner on that infamous stage. We work hand in hand with Ryman staff to meet the catering and hospitality needs of artists ranging from Aretha Franklin to Mumford and Sons, Jack White to Ed Sheeran.
But the Ryman plays host to more than just musical performances. We’ve catered a plated dinner on the stage for the Kennedy Center. Last summer, Interior Design Magazine held their Hospitality Giants of Design awards there, complete with three-piece string band and plated dinner on the stage. The Make-A-Wish Foundation and Kretschmar Deli granted the wishes of several children with a private concert and dinner in the Soul of Nashville Theater. Together we created a menu suited for kiddos (Mac & Cheese! Pizza!) using the company’s own products. But our favorite event at the Mother Church to date? Oh you know, just Ringo Starr’s birthday party. NBD.
Taking in a show at the Ryman is an experience every person who visits the city should have. You say you live here? You should go as often as possible. From the moment you step through the door to the moment you leave, you are guaranteed an incredible event. The most common refrain heard from any musician lucky enough to play the stage is, well, just that – how lucky they are to be playing the Ryman, to add their names to a roster as large and as legendary as any list. We are truly lucky this special place is in the heart of our fair city — what else is there to say? We love the Ryman.
Smoked Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Apple Chutney
Listen! the wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves.
We have had our summer evenings,
now for October eves.
– Humbert Wolfe
There are times when it feels as though summer’s end may never come — but with this first crisp in the Nashville air, we are finally feeling that fall is upon us. Sweaters and changing leaves and football and … smoked pork tenderloin with cherry apple chutney: that’s what we are really thinking of here at the Flavor kitchen. It is one of our favorite dishes to serve, and ever-popular for September and October weddings. But most importantly, it makes for a great dish to serve at home on these cool autumnal evenings…
CHERRY APPLE CHUTNEY RECIPE
- 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 large gala apples
- 1/4 cup dried cherries
- 2 tablespoons rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 cup bourbon (your favorite regional variety!)
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- pinch of salt
To prepare, dice apples into 1/4 inch cubes.
Melt butter in a large sauté pan. Once butter is hot, add diced apples and cook on high heat until apples are fully caramelized. Take pan off of heat and add bourbon. Replace on heat for the fun (and fantastically photogenic!) part: the flambéing of the apples!
Once flames die down, add dried cherries and continue to cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add brown sugar and vinegar and cook on medium heat until apples are soft. Mix in rosemary and salt at the last, and your chutney is ready to serve!
SMOKED PORK TENDERLOIN RECIPE
- 1 large pork tenderloin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- cherry wood chips, soaked for 4 hours
Add soaked wood chips to smoker, and turn on.
Mix smoked paprika, cayenne, garlic, sugar and salt in small mixing bowl.
Trim fat and silver skin off of the pork tenderloin. (Note: the “silver skin” is the thin white layer of fat on top of the loin. It is important to trim this off, because it contracts when cooking as opposed to melting away as regular fat does.)
Once the tenderloin is ready, rub spices onto meat and smoke for 15 minutes. Finish cooking pork in the oven for approximately 5 to 10 minutes, or until meat reaches 150 degrees. Let pork stand for 5 to 8 minutes before slicing. Cut meat at a bias and top with chutney, to serve.
Month in Review: March
This past March was a busy one for us here at Flavor! From intimate weddings to a lot of very cool concerts, there was no shortage of excitement.
The month opened with Jason speaking at a Leadership Music event about the ins and outs of catering backstage for major artists–something he knows quite a bit about. This month alone we fed some seriously amazing bands–think Crosby, Stills & Nash; Bob Weir and Rat Dog; Widespread Panic; Kenny Loggins; The Preservation Hall Jazz Band and The Moody Blues. We also dipped our toes into the world of theatre when the cast of Shrek the Musical held their wrap party mid-March at Lipscomb University. The best part? Getting to sample some adorably edible “Gingy” the Gingerbread Man cookies from Dozen Bakery.
On the 22nd, Vanderbilt Medical School held their annual Cadaver Ball at Marathon Music Works, an event dating from the 1960s. This year the theme was “Downton Vandy”–a cheeky twist on the popular BBC television series Downton Abbey. (We may have seen an episode or two…) We also helped Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management celebrate their Alumni Weekend, which was capped with a 250 person dinner of prime rib, lobster mac and cheese, twice-baked potatoes, grilled asparagus, and of course, cherry cobbler with creme anglaise. Finally, we kicked off wedding season by witnessing a beautiful young couple exchange vows at the historic Belle Meade Plantation. And so it begins!