The Polk County Film Initiative will host A Cajun Occasion, a fundraiser dinner and dance for the Tryon International Film Festival 2021. The event will be held Sunday, June 6, from 5-10 p.m., at Mountain Brook Vineyards.
A Cajun Occasion will feature a served (not buffet) and all-you-can-eat meal of classic Cajun favorites, including boudin balls, muffaletta bites, crawfish, shrimp, NOLA red beans and rice, gumbo, gator sausage, bread pudding with bourbon sauce, and Madi Gras cupcakes.
Other foods will include charcuterie in Mason jars, beef brisket, chicken, low country boil (with and without meat), southern cornbread, garlic bread, and banana pudding. The wine will be provided by Mountain Brook Vineyards, and craft beer will be provided by Upcountry Brewing Co. of Asheville. Throughout the evening, there will be Cajun (Zydeco) and other party music for listening and dancing. The event’s emcee will be actor and producer John Oliver.
A special feature will be a highly competitive and entertaining gumbo cook-off between Film Festival Co-Founder Beau “Gumbeaux King” Menetre, a native of New Orleans and connoisseur of all things crawfish, and Sarah McClure, chef at Southside Smokehouse and the 2018 South Carolina Chef Ambassador for the Upstate. Southside Smokehouse specializes in Louisiana Cajun and Creole cuisine. The cook-off’s color commentator will be Kirk Gollwitzer, co-founder of the film festival, which is scheduled for October 8-10.
“We usually have a fundraiser for the year’s film festival,” says Menetre, “but this one will be special – close to my heart – and close to my stomach. I’m from New Orleans, and for me eating good food is only second to seeing good films. I don’t mean to brag, but my gumbo is pretty darn good. It is certainly authentic. I invite everyone to come out for a good time, great food, dancing, wine, beer, and watch me show Sarah what real gumbo is.”
“Beau might be from the Big Easy, but that doesn’t make him a chef,” McClure counters. “My daddy started Southside Smokehouse with New Orleans-style food, and today it is one of the best restaurants in the state. Plus, I have the credentials and worldly experience to make award-winning gumbo. It’s going to be a gumbo through-down, and the only one getting up will be me.”
In recent years, McClure has become a local celebrity chef, featured in many regional magazines. This past September, she was a contestant on the popular Guy’s Grocery Games, a Food Network cooking-competition television show. In the episode The Ultimate Grocery List, she made it through two rounds of cooking with limited ingredients.
“As you can tell, Beau and Sarah are chomping at their bits to show who is the better gumbo maker,” Gollwitzer says. “I just hope I keep the peace as they cook that night. To say the least, this will be ‘extra spicy.’”
The competition will have three judges, and the winner will get bragging rights. “Hey, this is a fundraiser,” Gollwitzer said. “We’re here to raise funds to show great films. Bragging rights is a currency when it comes to food.”
This outdoor event will allow for social distancing because of the large space being provided by Mountain Brook Vineyards. Guests are asked to bring their face masks and to use the provided hand sanitizer. In the event of rain, the event will be taken indoors on the property site.
Advance tickets prices are $50 per adult (includes two drinks) and $30 for youths ages 10-20. At the door, the adult price will be $60. Advance tickets can be purchased online at TryonInternationalFilmFestival.com. Recommended attire is dressy for outdoor eating and dancing.
Sponsors for this event are Mountain Brook Vineyards, Southside Smokehouse, Upcountry Brewing Co., and New View Realty, which is the title sponsor of Tryon International Film Festival 2021.
Mountain Brook Vineyards is located at 731 Phillips Dairy Road, Tryon. For more information, visit MountainbrookVineyards.com or call (404) 379-5762.