I was flipping through the James Beard Foundation's December events guide when I spotted a familiar face: Tony Coturri, the maker of organic wines in California who's been a favorite at farm-to-fork dinners around here for several years.
Then I spotted another familiar face on the same page: Joe Bonaparte, at the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Charlotte.
It turns out Bonaparte is leading a lineup of AI instructors (Walter Leible of Phoenix, Larry Maston of Dallas and Michael Nenes of Texas) to cook dinner at the James Beard House for New Year's Eve.
It isn't cheap: $200 for foundation members, $250 for nonmembers. But the menu is luxe, including foie gras, rabbit, lobster, caviar, scallops, pork belly and duck breast. What really amused me was the toast at midnight: Shelton Vineyards Blanc de Blanc with a truffle from the Secret Chocolatier here in Charlotte. Nice to see attention for local food makers.
If you're planning to be in New York and that's your kind of price and experience, go to www.jamesbeard.org for details and tickets.