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Les Dames d’Escoffier’s “Afternoon in the Country” at Serenbe

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Les Dames d’Escoffier’s “Afternoon in the Country” at Serenbe
Photos by Ben Rose

Things taste better when paired with fresh country air, pastoral grounds, bucolic vistas, bouncing goats and braying donkeys, mixed with Atlanta’s best chefs celebrating Georgia’s farming community, libations aplenty, a bluegrass band and a guest list comprised of true food lovers. All this tasty goodness is Les Dames d’Escoffier’s “Afternoon in the Country” at Serenbe, which celebrated its 13th year on Sunday, November 3.

A special thing about this event is that the chefs act like it’s their day off, like they’re preparing bites for friends over for a backyard party. They interact with guests, the vast majority of whom are genuinely interested in meeting the chef and chatting not only about the dish in front of them, but about their restaurant, the ingredients they like best, their favorite farms and purveyors and whatnot. It’s not uncommon to hear a chef and a guest discussing something awesome like, “So which farmer do you think turns out the best sunchokes?” Or, “Whose varietals of tomatoes do you like for sandwiches?” “How do you make your mayo?”

There’s a convivial community spirit, with chefs sending runners with armfuls of food over to the guys pouring beer from SweetWater Brewing’s draft van (it’s tie-dyed and has taps affixed to it, by the way), who then return holding as many beers as possible. Then there’s theAmerican Spirit Whiskey founders smuggling mini Mason jars of their good stuff to the gals at the Champagne table and the guys grilling sausages. Like elementary school kids trading one mom’s specialty for another, and everyone is silly giddy about it.

And we just ate and drank it all in, eating and drinking into the night. Make a note for next year, all. It’s “country living” at its best.