FRIENDS OF THE CAFÉ: CHEETIE KUMAR + A SUMMER COCKTAIL RECIPE

In August 2019, The Factory Café hosted celebrated chef and literal rock star Cheetie Kumar for a special evening of savory and sweet offerings highlighting her Indian and American culinary background. We were also joined by renowned wine importer Eric Solomon, who curated delightful wine pairings for each dish. Benefitting the Southern Foodways Alliance (SFA), the dinner was hosted by SFA director John T. Edge and Natalie Chanin, and featured a special performance by singer-songwriter John Paul White and a book signing by renowned author Dana Thomas.

Cocktail hour began with passed appetizers of cheesy tapioca profiteroles with hot honey, smoked fish dip with pickled shallot on rye toast, and curry leaf polenta with spicy tomato chutney accompanied by beer graciously donated by Blackberry Farm Brewery and The Summer Lily cocktail (find the recipe below).

The evening’s first course brought a watermelon and peanut chaat paired with a Johanna Cecilion Divona Cidre, an organically grown cider featuring a blend of indigenous Breton apples complementing the flavors of Cheetie’s dish.

The second course consisted of coconut poached royal red shrimp, creamed corn and tapioca pudding, and Bengali Five Spice, accompanied by a 2016 Clavien Païen, a Sauvignon blanc highlighting the dish’s herbal essences.

For the third course, guests enjoyed Cheetie’s Punjabi grilled summer squash casserole and soft paneer with roasted tomato vinaigrette. This dish was paired with two wines, a 2016 Courbissac Farradjales and a 2016 Palacios As Sortes, offering a variety of palate-enhancing experiences.

Guests experienced a savory dish of lemongrass summer brisket with tomatoes, fingerling potatoes, and pickled green tomatoes paired with a 2016 La Uvas de la Garnacha for the fourth course.

Our evening ended with a dessert course of buttermilk cardamom panna cotta topped with peaches, olive oil granita, pickled blueberries, meringue, and almonds served alongside a vintage #74 Olorosa “Montilla”.

Enjoy the dinner playlist curated by chef Cheetie Kumar, and find a summer cocktail recipe below.


The Summer Lily Cocktail

Prosecco or Champagne
1 oz. Jack Rudy Elderflower Tonic
1 drop of Hibiscus Flower Concentrate

In a cocktail glass, add a drop of Hibiscus Flower concentrate. Then, add 1 oz. of Jack Rudy Elderflower Tonic and top off the glass with chilled Prosecco.


Purchase tickets for upcoming Friends of the Café Dinners below, and view our full 2022–2023 event schedule here.

Adam Evans | September 29th, 2022

Josh Quick | October 27th, 2022

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