Local Chefs Support Upcoming Artists With Thea’s Blue Plate Special

October is brimming with events, fundraisers, fall festivals, and more. If you blink, the entire month could be over, and you might have missed the highlights.
That’s why it’s absolutely necessary for you to mark your calendar for Monday, October 16, for Thea Foundation’s annual Blue Plate Special. From 6 to 9 p.m. guests will enjoy one-of-a-kind dishes from local chefs, indulge in delectable cocktails from mixologists, and mingle with artists and personalities on the Capital Hotel’s Mezzanine level.
Presented by Malvern National Bank (MNB) and chaired by MNB President Mark Roberts, the event will combine the talents of 10 touted chefs and two mixologists in support of Thea Foundation’s scholarship program.
This year’s chefs include: Ben Blain, South on Main; Jeff Owen Ciao Baci; Payne Harding, Cache; Gilbert Alaquinez, Forty-Two; Marc Guizol, Capital Bar & Grill; Brian Kearns, Simply the Best Catering; Stephen Burrow, Skye’s Bistro at Stratton’s Market; Amanda Ivy, Old Mill Bread; Mark Abernathy, Red Door; and Kelli Marks, Sweet Love.
Mixologists on tap are Ben Franks of Petit and Keet, and Luiggi Uzcategui, of Big Orange Midtown.
Assisting the chefs and mixologists include local artists and personalities: Renee Shapiro, reporter and film critic, KATV News; James Hayes, glass artist; Chris Kane, anchor, KATV News; Genine Latrice Perez, musician; Steve and Vicki Farrell, comedians, The Main Thing; Lisa Fischer, morning show host, B98.5; Rodney Block, musician; Jonathan Nettles, film critic, THV11; Greg Henderson, editor, Rock City Eats; Michael Shaeffer, artist; Amy Garland Angel, musician; and Rusty Mathis, general manager, Ben E. Keith.
Food is a type of art in and of itself, which is why so many of the chefs involved feel that the event is more than a worthy cause to support.
Stephen Burrow of Sky’s Bistro has a soft spot for this particular event. Not only does he support Paul Leopolous and the Thea story, but he has an artistic side himself. “Growing up, I was always an artist, in multiple mediums – painting, drawing, charcoal, etc.,” he says. “I truly believe that my artistic side is what sparked my interest in cooking, specifically fine dining. Plates are a canvas and food is an artistic medium.”
He anticipates this year will be better than ever thanks to the incredible line-up, as he says, “I’m excited to see some fresh names and talent brought to the event this year.”
For participating chef Amanda Ivy of Old Mill Bread, stepping up to the plate is like coming full circle as she was involved in the event in culinary school. “I try to support many causes, but the one involving the arts speaks to me most,” she says. “I see what good in the world I have been able to do because I am an artist, and I want to encourage our community to always support that. I’m very honored to be included with so many incredible chefs for such a great cause.”
New to the event but not to the scene, Sweet Love’s Kelli Marks is pumped for the event. Marks got into food through art classes she took in high school and college. “I enjoy that I still get to be artistic, but instead of working with paints and charcoals, I work with food color and fondant,” she says. “Art is an important aspect of a well-rounded student and it shouldn’t be overlooked. I hope that these scholarships will help a student like myself to take their passion and be able to turn it into a career.”
All of the proceeds from the event will benefit all of Thea’s programs. Save your spot by purchasing your ticket here. Learn more about supporting the arts through the Thea Foundation here.

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