FOOD+Friends Dinner Series

Throughout the Week and Weekend

Local restaurants will be hosting guest chef friends, from near and far, for one-night-only collaborative menu offerings. These dinners will not be ticketed, allowing the entire community to get a taste of FOOD+Culture Fest, and driving traffic into our local restaurants.

Simply make a reservation on the restaurant’s website, or walk-in for restaurants without reservations.



Featuring Host Chef James Huckaby
Guest Chef Edward Reese
Owl Cafe, Apalachicola, FL

Florida Golden Spoon Award

Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, 2020



Featuring Host Chef Frank Stitt
Guest Chef James Briscione
Angelena’s Ristorante Italiano, Pensacola, FL

Chef Briscione is the first-ever two-time champion of Food Network’s Chopped. He has since become a Food Network regular, serving as a host and judge on television as well as starring in original Food Network digital series and streaming platforms. Chef Briscione is a frequent guest on The Dr. Oz Show and was named one of People Magazine’s ‘Sexiest Chefs Alive.’ Together, he and Brooke have authored four cookbooks, including their award-winning, best-seller, The Flavor Matrix (HMH ’18). Prior to his current post as Executive Chef of Angelena’s in Pensacola, FL, Chef Briscione cut his culinary teeth at the age of sixteen in the kitchens of Jubilee on Pensacola Beach. While in college in Birmingham, Alabama, Chef Briscione began crafting wood-fired oven pizzas for Chef Frank Stitt at Bottega Café. In his six years under Stitt’s tutelage, Chef Briscione worked his way up to become chef de cuisine of the multi James Beard Award-winning Highlands Bar & Grill.


Featuring Hosts Brandon Loper + Trent Stewart
Guest Chef Bryan Stanfield
Trattoria Zaza, Birmingham, AL

Knox Fanelli 
Larder Foods, Birmingham, AL

Born in Tennessee, Bryan Stanfield’s family moved around a lot during his childhood before settling in Alabama. Though his father was a chef, Stanfield shied away from cooking until college. While attending the University of Alabama at Birmingham, he applied for his first restaurant job at Trattoria ZaZa in 2011 (then named Trattoria Centrale). He’s been there ever since. Stanfield worked as a server, a dishwasher, and a line cook before purchasing the restaurant in 2015 from its original owners. In 2019 he completely renovated the restaurant, located in The Frank Nelson Building on 20th Street North, which is known as Birmingham’s ‘Main Street.’

*No reservations. Walk-ins welcome.


Featuring Host Chef Adam Evans
Guest Chef Christine Lau
The CLAU Group, New York City, NY

Raised in Oakland, California by parents who emigrated from Hong Kong, Christine first started cooking alongside her brother as a hobby to feed themselves when their parents worked long hours.  A love of restaurants was instilled by her mother who despite not sending her to Chinese school on the weekends, made sure she could always order proficiently off the menu.

Christine got her start working in restaurants at the age of 17, at One Market Restaurant in San Francisco as part of a school project.  In her early career she was sous chef at Centovini under Patti Jackson where their menus relied heavily on greenmarket produce, seasonality, and simplicity.  Christine dedicated herself to handmade pasta and learned a philosophy of Italian food that would change her approach to cooking.

After cooking Italian food for several years, she jumped at the opportunity to open Bar Basque with Japanese American Chef Yuhi Fujinaga.  Working under Yuhi, Christine learned a natural approach to marrying Japanese ingredients and techniques with Spanish cuisine.  Christine furthered her Japanese culinary education when she opened Bar Chuko Izakaya with a trio of Morimoto alums.  Based on the casual, Japanese, late-night gastropub concept, Christine’s menu was made up of fun shareable plates and a full yakitori menu – the kind of food best enjoyed with a few drinks after work amongst friends.

In August 2020, just a few months into the pandemic, Christine opened Kimika – her take on Itameshi.  Kimika married Italian and Japanese cuisine while celebrating seasonality and local produce.  Christine’s Heirloom Tomatoes with Housemade Tofu was named Eater New York – 15 Best Dishes of 2020.  Her Shrimp & Prosciutto Tortellini in Brodo was named Food & Wine Magazine’s Best Bites of 2021.  In 2022, Kimika was named a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation Best New Restaurant award and lauded by Pete Wells of the New York Times:  “It takes a light hand to mash up Italian and Japanese cuisines and not get mush.  At Kimika, that hand belongs to Christine Lau.”

Currently, she can be found popping up in cities across America on her quest to connecting cultures through food.



Featuring Host Chef Victor King and Kristen Hall
Guest Chef Rob Newton
New York, NY

Arkansas-native Chef Robert Newton combines his passion for food and travel in everything he does. He has helmed and opened several highly regarded restaurants throughout his career, both in Brooklyn and in the South. He is the author of the cookbook “Seeking The South: Finding Inspired Regional Cuisines”.


Featuring Host Chef Chris Hastings
Guest Chef Austin Sumrall
White Pillars Restaurant & Lounge, Biloxi, MS

Since opening the White Pillars in December of 2017, Chef Austin has been recognized for his culinary excellence locally and regionally through cooking competitions and award nominations, alike. In 2020 he was nominated by the prestigious James Beard Foundation for “Best Chef South.” 2021 brought on the new title of “King of American Seafood 2021.” after winning top prize in the Great American Seafood Cook-off. Most recently, in May of 2023, Austin was featured as an expert in Southern food representing Mississippi on the Food Network cooking competition show Alex vs America. Austin won the televised competition, beating lauded Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli and two other Southern food masters hailing from Tennessee and South Carolina.


Featuring Host Chef Ryan Westover
Guest Chef Pat Pascarella
The Porchetta Group, Decatur, GA

Born to an Italian immigrant family, Executive Chef Pat Pascarella has a love for authentic Neopolitan cuisine that runs as deeply as his roots. He grew up savoring the traditional Italian cooking of his mother and grandmother, and it wasn’t long before he found himself training under James Beard Award-winning chefs and helming his own kitchens throughout Connecticut, New York, and Atlanta, Georgia.

*No reservations. Walk-ins welcome.


Featuring Host Chef Jason Templin
Guest Chef Roscoe Hall
Birmingham, AL

Roscoe Hall is not only a chef, but also an accomplished artist who works in a variety of media. He was introduced to fine dining at a young age and immediately wanted to get into the kitchen. He started as a dishwasher at a small local restaurant until he landed a job as a line cook at Chez Panisse, where he trained for two years under Alice Waters. He then moved up the culinary ranks learning various cuisines at multiple restaurants in St. Louis and Portland, before heading to New York City to work under Chef David Chang at Momofuku Saam Bar. He later moved to Birmingham, AL and served as Executive Chef for Rodney Scott’s BBQ and then as culinary director for Post Office Pies. With a kick ass wife and two hilarious children, Roscoe is now focusing on his other passion, art.

*No reservations. Walk-in’s welcome.



Featuring Host Chef Victor King and Kristen Hall
Guest Chef Rob Newton
New York, NY

Arkansas-native Chef Robert Newton combines his passion for food and travel in everything he does. He has helmed and opened several highly regarded restaurants throughout his career, both in Brooklyn and in the South. He is the author of the cookbook “Seeking The South: Finding Inspired Regional Cuisines”.

Check back for more announcements!