As part of our sixth annual Friends of the Café Dinner Series, we are excited to round out the year’s slate of star chefs. Both are familiar faces who continue to surprise us with their culinary evolutions, and their food lends itself to the comfort and sense of community that these café dinners always offer.
In addition to co-hosting a Friends of the Café brunch with collaborator Angie Mosier, longtime friend and James Beard Award-winning essayist Lisa Donovan has made multiple contributions to past dinners. She has become a prominent voice in the culinary community when it comes to women’s stories, diversity, and representation – and she has a memoir, Our Lady of Perpetual Hunger, due out later this year. Her expertise as a pastry chef has led her to work in a number of prominent kitchens, including Margot Café and Bar, City House, and Husk – and she created a pop-up dinner series called Buttermilk Road in her hometown of Nashville. In late January, Lisa shared stories from years of her notebooks in Food & Wine. Most recently, Lisa has announced a collaboration with Julie Saunders, artisan baker, on a new venture, Rêverie, a chance for small groups to work and learn with them through travel and hands-on kitchen work. Their inaugural trip is scheduled for June in the South of France. Lisa will curate her dinner at The Factory, benefitting the Southern Foodways Alliance, alongside a surprise group of respected friends on August 27th. Copies of her book will be available for purchase.
Adam Evans has also served alongside other chefs at our past dinners and created his own menu in 2016. A Muscle Shoals native, Evans has spent years perfecting his craft at places like La Petite Grocery, Craft, and acclaimed Atlanta seafood restaurant, The Optimist. Since his last dinner with us, his desire to return to Alabama led him to open Automatic Seafood & Oysters in Birmingham. It features a wide range of fish from the Gulf of Mexico and a large selection of oysters from a variety of locations across the country. Sustainability and variety are important to him. As he told Garden & Gun, “As a chef, I was buying literally tons of seafood, and I realized that if I feel strongly about sustainability then I could actually make a difference.” Last year, Automatic Seafood & Oysters was named one of the Best New Restaurants in America by Esquire. Adam will present his dinner on October 1st at The Factory and will benefit Project Threadways.