January 30, 2014 | Community Action Committtee, Cumberland Farmer's Market, IvyWIld, South Cumberland Food Hub, Village
Keri Downing Moser, owner and chef at IvyWild in Sewanee, has been named a Rising Star by StarChefs, a magazine for culinary insiders. In its recent survey of culinary professionals in Kentucky and Tennessee, Moser was selected as one of the chefs who represents the vanguard of the contemporary American dining scene.
From Louisville to Nashville and Memphis, the StarChefs team visited chefs and artisans across eight cities and small towns, considering more than 100 candidates in Kentucky and Tennessee through in-person tastings and interviews.
“We have an amazing community of restaurants and food service professionals in Sewanee. We plan events together and promote dining in the Village,” Moser said upon learning of the award. “It is gratifying to know this award is announced nationally. I want it to draw attention to what we’re doing here. This is such an extraordinary place to live, learn, play and eat.”
In its review, StarChefs wrote: “We’ll go out on a limb. IvyWild is the best little restaurant you’ve never heard of. It’s hidden well enough in the 2,000-ish-person mountain town of Sewanee, Tennessee, but we guarantee it’s worth pulling off exit 134 for a chance to eat Chef Keri Moser’s playful, offbeat cuisine.
“Moser sees compositions in colors and landscapes, and she works backward to edit in ingredients and techniques, building her plates with improbably good and often wild flavor combinations. Moser nods occasionally to the region’s Southern foodways—and supports them wholeheartedly as a champion of local farmers—but her food reflects a deep curiosity, an artistic bent, and a creative streak that’s unencumbered by the culinary establishment or her small-town status. She’s defining her own path, one that more chefs should dare to follow,” the review concluded.
StarChefs wrote that the dishes that “clinched it” for them were: Smoked Salmon, Cracked Wheat and Black Barley, Elberton Blue Cheese, Tomatillos, Romanesco and Chamomile-Lemon Aïoli; and Pork Shoulder, Pickled Peaches, Cornbread, Foie Gras Butter and Sorghum Vinaigrette.
Moser said, “Food is so much more than sustenance—it can be an experience, it’s exciting, it’s art, it’s community (both in and outside the restaurant) and I want to share that.” Chefs identified as Rising Stars “have strong, compelling culinary philosophies, are able to see beyond the four walls of their restaurant, and are committed to fostering a culinary community by sharing their knowledge with fellow professionals,” according to StarChef editors. “Ultimately, creativity, ambition, exquisite presentation and, most important, delicious food wins a chef the designation of StarChefs Rising Star. They are the future of American cuisine.”
“It is extremely important to me to know as much as possible about the ingredients I use to feed my friends, family and community,” Moser said. “Having a personal relationship with the farmers and food artisans makes that possible. The Cumberland Farmers’ Market and South Cumberland Food Hub are a key part of our success—they help provide optimum conditions for the farmers to succeed. Helping in the effort to make sure my community and IvyWild have access to a premium, responsible food supply is a critical goal.”
The Community Action Committee is one of Moser’s favorite food-related charities. She said, “Sewanee is a little bubble of privilege in a deeply depressed area. The CAC works to make sure there is food available for people who need it, whether that’s through boxes of groceries or organizing community meals. We host some of the community meals at IvyWild.”
IvyWild opened in 2010 in the building that once housed the old steam laundry at 36 Ball Park Road. It is open Thursday through Sunday evenings.
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the Jan. 27 meeting of the Sewanee Community Council, University Vice-Chancellor John McCardell announced that this meeting marked the 50th anniversary of the council. The council posed for an anniversary photograph.
At the Dec. 2, 2013, meeting of the council, they approved renewal of the current garbage collection contract with Joe B. Long through June 2015.
The current contract for garbage collection expires on June 30. Anticipating the expiration of the contract, Barbara Schlichting, superintendent of leases, conducted a preliminary review of garbage collection and related issues. Schlichting said more information was needed in order to prepare a request for proposals (RFP) and invite bids. “Glass recycling costs $4,000 over what the glass makes,” she said by way of illustration.
Schlichting recommended the council extend the current contract for one or two years to allow time for research. Schlichting said Long agreed to a one- or two-year extension without a rate increase. The current monthly rate for residential pickup is $23.25.
Council representative Chet Seigmund said he knew of several contractors who were interested in bidding on garbage collection services in Sewanee.
Acknowledging that time was needed for research, the council approved extending the contract with Long for one year with the stipulation the Lease Office prepare a RFP by January 2015.
Reporting on the plans to revitalize the downtown area, Frank Gladu, the vice president of administrative services, said the University would be working with the architectural firm Ayers Saint Gross this spring to create the next steps in the process, building on research and community input acquired over the past few years. Three workshops are planned.
The next meeting of the council is Feb. 24.
September 26, 2013 | Deer Cull, Retirement Community, Roundabout, Sewanee Community Council, Village
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the Sept. 23 meeting of the Sewanee Community Council, the council heard updates on the proposed roundabout, the retirement community survey and the upcoming deer cull. The Council also approved changes to the constitution and bylaws.
Frank Gladu, vice president for administrative services at the University, presented an overview of the roundabout proposed for the Highway 41-A intersection in downtown Sewanee. Vehicles would navigate the roundabout in a counter-clockwise directions. Gladu stressed that roundabouts increase pedestrian safety because pedestrians only need to watch for traffic from one direction and because traffic travels slower, typically about 15 mph. The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) must approve the project. TDOT has reviewed the design, Gladu said, and they “seem receptive.” TDOT suggested state or federal funding might be available. The Council voted to endorse the roundabout project to emphasize community support.
Gladu also reported on the Retirement Community Survey conducted by the market research firm ProMatura to determine if Sewanee could support a retirement community on campus. Eight groups who potentially have interest in a Sewanee retirement community were invited to participate in the survey. Twenty percent of those receiving questionnaires have responded so far, Gladu said. (ProMatura said a 7–10 percent response rate was typical.) The survey included questions about the type of residences preferred, such as homes compared to various apartment arrangements. Three possible campus locations have been identified. The survey closes on Sept. 30. To request a questionnaire call (800) 201-1483.
Among the factors to be considered is whether Sewanee could sustain a retirement community, Gladu said. He cited the statistics that the average age of individuals entering a retirement community was 84, and the average stay was two years, meaning on average there is a high turnover rate.
University Domain Manager Nate Wilson updated the council on this year’s deer cull plans. Statistics show a 25 percent drop in the deer population since this time last year, Wilson said, and a 40 percent drop in the past two years, but the population reduction is “not evenly distributed.” To address this, the cull will target herds that frequent certain locations, a strategy first used in 2012. The full schedule of deer cull dates and times and zone boundaries will be published in the Messenger. [See page 6 for the pre-cull hunt information and zone map.]
In the past, meeting minutes were taken by the council member elected secretary. To allow full participation of the members in discussion, meeting minutes are now taken by a non-council member. To reflect the change in procedure, the council voted to remove references to the secretary from the constitution and add the following sentence to the bylaws: “A secretary designated by the council will take minutes.”
The next meeting of the Sewanee Community Council is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 28.
February 2, 2013 | Village
by Pagie Wilson C’14, Messenger Intern
“Sewanee is a crossroads,” according to Irene and Richard Emory, owners of the new Crossroads Café that features Singapore cuisine.
“Singapore is a crossroads, too,” Irene said, describing one of the places where she and Richard have lived.
Many Asian countries, including China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and the Philippines, shape the food and culture in Singapore. Crossroads Café incorporates these influences in its food as well as in its décor, combining furniture and artwork that Richard and Irene have collected.
The Emorys want Crossroads Café to become a comfortable meeting place with accessible food.
"People enjoy being here so much, they just stay on,” Irene said. “That’s what we want.” They designed Crossroads Café with an open and inviting atmosphere to accommodate this. Irene and Richard believe that building relationships with their customers is just as important as the food.
“Food is a celebration, and it should be shared with others,” Irene said.
Crossroads Café is bringing different flavors to the Mountain, but Irene said she is paying close attention to the wants and taste buds of the local community. Irene cycles through different recipes to better understand her customers by learning what dishes they like and dislike. This allows her to bring out the traditional Singapore taste without having to strip her recipes of traditional ingredients, and she encourages customers to tell her what they like.
“We understand that it is important to make the food affordable and we want the Sewanee Community to enjoy our food,” said Irene. “We are very blessed to be in a small community that is kind, accommodating and patient.
Irene’s menu items are derived from recipes her family would use to cook for festivals and events in Singapore. While some of the ingredients have been difficult to find, Irene has been able to work with area farmers to obtain many ingredients.
Irene and Richard have traveled and lived around the world since 1999, moving eight times and living in six different countries for Richard’s job as an architect.
Settling in Sewanee for their son’s education at St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School and to be close to Richard’s family in Knoxville, Irene and Richard have both put their talents to work by opening Crossroads Café.
Crossroads Café is open 11 a.m.–8 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and is located at 38 Ball Park Rd., Sewanee, adjacent to IvyWild.
Join with friends and family this afternoon, Nov. 30, when Sewanee lights its Christmas Tree in the Sewanee Angel Park and ushers in the holidays on the Mountain with music and fun.
The festivities will begin at 4:30 p.m. Bonnie and John McCardell will do the honors of turning on the lights.
To help families in need in Sewanee, participants are encouraged to bring unwrapped toys for Operation NOEL, which will be collected by members of the Sewanee Fire Department for distribution on Christmas Eve. Also, gifts of money and nonperishable food will be collected for the Community Action Committee (CAC).
The Sewanee Chorale will lead Christmas carols. Refreshments will be served, and Santa Claus will be available for pictures with the children. Bring your own camera.
This event is organized and sponsored by the Sewanee Business Alliance. Organizers hope that this celebration can be a new holiday tradition in Sewanee.
In case of inclement weather for the tree lighting, refreshments and Santa will be hosted by Locals, across the street from Angel Park in the Sewanee Village.
By K.G. Beavers, Messenger Staff Writer
In the Sewanee Village, one can always tell what season it is by looking to Taylor’s Mercantile. During the spring and summer, the front yard of the business is abloom with color and houseplants and bedding plants. During the fall, the landscape changes inside and out to oranges, yellows and browns. There are all sorts of flowers, tablescapes and rugs to decorate a home.
And, it is the start of the holiday season when Ken Taylor decorates his store for his annual open house, which is Saturday, Nov. 3, and Sunday, Nov. 4.
People come near and far for the open house, which is now in its 28th year.
“For years I was told that I could not start decorating for Christmas until after Thanksgiving. So during the Thanksgiving weekends we would spend countless hours decorating. Then somebody well-respected in the retail business told me I needed to start getting the holiday merchandise out early,” said Taylor.
For many, the open house is the highlight of their holiday tradition. “People from all over come to the store. Some come to just purchase a few items and some to just get decorating ideas. For most, coming to Taylor’s during the holiday season is the beginning of their holiday tradition,” said Taylor.
“Some come for the Santas. Some come for flowers. Some come for holiday tableware. Then there are a few who without fail come and purchase their nutcrackers every year from us,” said Taylor. “This is the highlight of their holiday.”
This year, each retail business in the Village will take part in the open house. “It is neat that everyone wants to be involved,” said Taylor.
Taylor’s Mercantile began on January 1, 1984, when he and his mother, Evelyn, bought the old hardware store owned by Jeanette and Bill Hamilton. The building was previously Brooks General Merchandise. The original building burned in 1918, and the building was completely rebuilt in 1921.
“When we purchased the building, the back half of the store was still filled with the hardware inventory,” said Taylor. “In the front of the store, I had purchased an old Coca-Cola cooler and filled it with flowers. We went to the markets in Chattanooga with about $1,000, and purchased merchandise to fill in the front part of the store.
“Obviously, I have purchased more items than that throughout the years,” said Taylor.
The hardware part of the store lasted another 10 years at Taylor’s. As big box stores replaced the smaller hardware stores, Taylor moved to offering what he liked best: unique gifts and flowers.
He did not always want to be a shop owner. As a graduate student, he was accepted to medical school at Vanderbilt. “I dropped out because I was not passionate about it. I have found that this store is my passion.”
After purchasing the building, he and his mother both continued to work at the Sewanee hospital. “We took turns running the store.” That hard work and dedication have paid off. “We have worked to grow our business into the exceptional, not just the ordinary,” said Taylor.
In addition to the seasonal gifts, weddings and party decorating, Taylor is also known for his work in the annual greening of All Saints’ Chapel during Lessons and Carols weekend. He started this in 1982.
“Now, the greening has grown into a huge event, with 100 –150 people helping to decorate All Saints’.” He and his wife, Lynn, still wait until the last minute to decorate the lectern and pulpit with fresh flowers and greenery themselves. He continues to volunteer his time for this annual event because “it is the right thing to do for the community. The community makes Taylor’s my favorite part of being in business. You get to share good news with people, such as their weddings or other special occasions,” said Taylor.
“And, we always hear how we have made their day special,” he said.
On Saturday, Oct. 20, the downtown village will transform itself for the Second Annual Sewanee Angel Festival, hosted by the Sewanee Business Alliance. There will be food, drink, dancing and crafts for folks of all ages at the Angel Park.
Ashley Cleveland will open the festival at 7 p.m. She is a three-time Grammy and two-time Dove Award winner who has released eight critically acclaimed albums. “God Don’t Never Change,” her most recent effort (2009), features songs rooted in a “host of traditions: black spirituals, folks songs, 18th-century hymns, gospel blues and jubilee.” The Austin American-Statesman called it, “One of the best rock n’ roll albums of the year.” Taking the stage after Cleveland will be Towson Engsberg & Friends, a talented local blues and cover band.
There will be booths offering food, drink and information (see related story on page 9). Among the local offerings will be items from the Blue Chair Café & Tavern, Sewanee Sweets and Julia’s. Members of the Sewanee Arts & Crafts Association will also be displaying their work. The Sewanee Business Alliance has also commissioned a limited quantity of printed Hatch Show Print posters for the festival. They will be for sale, along with bricks and T-shirts, during the Angel Festival. Proceeds from these items benefit the park.
The Angel Park is being built by donations from local businesses and community members. So far, $60,000 has been raised and another $40,000 is needed to fully fund this new and exciting venue. Personalized bricks will be available for purchase during the festival.
“We are expecting hundreds of people to attend this event” said John Goodman, Sewanee Business Alliance president. “We could not produce such high quality music without the support of more than 25 local sponsors this year.”
Goodson encourages folks to bring a chair or blanket, enjoy the park, listen to incredible music, enjoy great food and drink, and savor the fall weather. The festival is free to the public.