Charlotte foodies, unite!
One of the best parts of my job is planning events I myself would love to go to, and as a foodie, the Next Plate event series for Camp North End fit the bill.
Camp North End in Charlotte is a revitalized industrial park that’s home to a number of businesses and work spaces. They merge creative businesses with historical buildings and community events to create a space unlike any other in the city. When one of the leaders approached me about having collaborative dinner experiences, I was immediately on board.
The idea became Next Plate, a four-week event series that features local chefs and artists to create a one-of-a-kind dining experience for the Charlotte community. For the first week on March 13 we worked with Chef Shai of Yafo Kitchen, Chef Paul of Mama Ricotta’s and Artist Debora Koo from Goodyear Arts.
For each dinner, the chefs of local businesses will work with Charlotte artists to create a menu representative of the restaurant’s background as well as the artist. Each artist may participate differently by showing their work or creating something special for their respective event.
Tasked with this, Chefs Shai and Paul created a four-course meal that married their Italian and Mediterranean styles with Debora’s Asian heritage. Debora had a “Food Series” for that also served as an inspiration for the color scheme of the event.
“When we were learning and reading more about Deb and her art and her life, we wanted to incorporate some of her heritage into our food,” Shai said.
“It’s really cool to create something on a plate and then she does that on a canvas,” continued Paul. “You can see her passion in her art just like what we did on those plates.”
Paul and Shai created a 5-course meal including dessert:
First course: Labneh Push Pops - layers of greek yogurt cheese infused with spirulina, za’atar, and harissa, garnished with a crispy laffah chip
Second course: Stuffed Burrata - a creamy mozzarella stretched around labneh on a bed of local greens with shaved marinated urban gourmet farms trumpet mushrooms
Third course: Prosciutto-Wrapped Scallop - served over saffron Israeli couscous risotto with a preserved lemon and herb gremolata
Fourth course: Shakshuka Ravioli - stuffed with goat cheese and a runny yolk over a spiced tomato sauce and merguez, a Moroccan lamb sausage
Fifth course: Malabi - a Middle Eastern almond milk custard served with cherry cardamom compote and a pistachio biscotti
When you’ve got local chef’s creating amazing menus like this and local artists showing off their work, it’s easy to see why a dinner for 40 sells out quickly. This is why we worked to find different artists and chefs for each of the 4 dinners. Everything is different each week, including the color scheme and decor.
The quick success of the event has us already discussing a fall Next Plate series that will work in much the same way. Stay tuned for more details about each unique Next Plate dinner in a future blog post!
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The J. Leigh Events team is expanding! This month we welcomed two new additions, both of whom happen to be named Sam. Head here to learn more about our new project manager, Sam Kimball, and our new event planner, Sam Poler.