The VIP Section at the Pilgrimage Festival will be LIT

The VIP Section at the Pilgrimage Festival will be LIT

The time is near – in just a few short days the Pilgrimage Festival will finally be upon us! It’s the perfect combination of some of my most favorite things. There’s the obvious – a killer lineup of incredible musicians playing in an undeniably gorgeous location during one of the prettiest months of the year. As if that isn’t enough, the folks at Made South pull together some really incredible vendors who will be showcasing their work in the Makers Village. Make sure you bring some extra cashola so you can take home some unique trinkets!

But here’s my truth – as much as I love all of those things; music, chillaxing, shopping – one of my most favorite things to do is eat. And the amazing thing about the Pilgrimage Festival is that the folks who put it on also like to eat so they wanted to make food offerings a top priority. This year, for the first time, we here at Strategic Hospitality are manning the VIP area’s food offerings and it’s going to be LIT – literally - with live fire components that will be equal parts show and sustenance.

Live fire. It just sounds thrilling, doesn’t it? There’s something about the raw, natural, gritty idea of cooking over an open fire that appeals to the caveman or woman in us all. We are lucky enough to have some truly talented chefs here in Nashville, and they are going to be hanging out with us in the VIP area at Pilgrimage preparing some delicious bites over a live fire – trust me, it will be a loooooong way from your hot-dog-on-a-stick Scout days!

I asked our resident expert, AKA Chef Levon Wallace (remember him?) what to expect with the live fire set up this weekend, and he gave me full the rundown.

“We’re going to have a large ‘pit’ area with several different types of equipment to create that live fire showcase,” Levon told me. “Green Eggs and Arteflames will be along the sides, creating several areas for chefs to prepare a variety of items and be a bit more interactive with Pilgrimage guests.”

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I had never heard of Arteflame before but believe you me, I know what a Big Green Egg is. We are the proud owners of extra large Egg at home, complete with several tools and a pizza stone and all the other accoutrements. I know Big Green Egg users are often times a DEVOUT group who are VERY loyal to their Egg. My dad has a friend who I think may know more about the Big Green Egg than the Big Green Egg people themselves. That’s how much he loves his. He likes to tell me about all the ways we need to care for our Egg and new meats he’s cooked on his Egg and basically anything he can think of, as long as it’s pertaining to the Big Green Egg. The slow and low, consistent radiant heat that an Egg provides is an ideal way to cook steaks, pizzas and ribs.

The Arteflame is like the tall, sleek cousin to the Big Green Egg. It looks different and cooks differently but it’s also a cooking tool you can have in your backyard and easily fire up for family dinner or the chance to entertain. The Arteflame is more of a grill top and ideal for searing. It produces an outcome similar to that of a plancha, which is more primitive in appearance. At Pilgrimage we will also have a more primitive plancha set up in the pit, complete with a grill and iron cage. The word plancha means griddle in Spanish, and that’s essentially what it is. A thick, flat metal plate that rests a few inches above the heating element – in our case, embers – that eliminates hot spots. This allows steaks to be cooked to perfection without fear of drying out and makes items that can be hard to sear (such as citrus) easier to manipulate. Between the Big Green Egg, the Arteflame, and the plancha, the live fire situation - and the food coming off of it - will be next level.

“The three live fire elements at Pilgrimage will lead to a delicious, fun and interactive kitchen theater experience,” said Levon.  “I’m excited to get out there and share some delicious meats and vegetables with both old and new friends.”

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