On March 2, 2024, the City With Soul will feature more than 20 local and regional chefs at the JXN Food & Wine Festival.
From down-home soul food to fine dining, JXN, Mississippi’s Capital City, offers a multitude of opportunities to discover a bite of Southern culture presented in vibrant restaurants springing up all across the city. JXN Food & Wine Festival 2024 represents the city’s diverse chef talent and the region’s top culinary and beverage artists.
A portion of the proceeds help fund the Mississippi Restaurant Association Education Foundation. This fund provides scholarships to students seeking a post-secondary degree in restaurant management or culinary arts.
Meet the Culinary Maestros
Get ready to embark on a delectable journey through the world of culinary artistry. Our talented chefs are at the heart of the JXN Food & Wine Festival, bringing a diverse array of flavors to your plate. From celebrity chefs to local legends, passion for food is a testament to the soul of Jackson, Mississippi.
Cat Cora is a celebrated world renowned chef, author, restaurateur, television host, philanthropist, and proud mother of six. The Jackson, Mississippi native, who trained at the Culinary Institute of America and went on to cook at two three-star Michelin restaurants in France, was crowned the first female Iron Chef, and was also the first female inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame.
Cora has opened more than 18 restaurants across the United States and globally, highlighting her platform on health, wellness, and sustainability. Outside of the kitchen, she is the president and founder of Chefs for Humanity, a nonprofit dedicated to reducing hunger worldwide, as well as Ambassador of Little Kitchen Academy, a Montessori-style culinary school for ages 3 through teen. Cora most recently won Fox Network’s competition show The Real Dirty Dancing, appeared on Stars on Mars, and is a judge on Food Network’s Tournament of Champions. Cora received the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Volunteer Service Award from President Barack Obama.
From his hometown of Jackson, Mississippi, chef Nick Wallace has redefined modern, Mississippi-influenced cuisine by combining his upbringing on a family farm with his culinary innovation. He has earned his way onto the title lists of “Best Chef of Mississippi” and “Best Chefs America” by leveraging his innate talents to highlight Southern food, understanding flavor profiles, and touching lives in his community.
Wallace is the owner of CHURN Creameries 2022, Nick Wallace Culinary, Nick Wallace Catering, and Nissan Café by Nick Wallace. Additionally, Wallace is the founder of Creativity Kitchen, a nonprofit aimed at providing nutrition education, exposure to farm-to-table practices, and access to flavorful, healthy meals and culinary experiences for young public school students and their families.
In addition to flexing his leadership skills as an executive chef at some of America’s prominent museums and hotels, Wallace has appeared in various network programs such as Bravo’s Top Chef and Chopped.
Demo Stage Talent
Ashleigh Shanti – Good Hot Fish
Ashleigh Shanti, the chef and creator of Good Hot Fish, a fish fry pop-up in Asheville, North Carolina, pays homage to Black foodways through her culinary artistry. This commitment to her roots was evident as she competed in Top Chef: Houston. Recognized for her talent and innovation, Shanti received the 2019 Eater Young Gun award and emerged as a 2020 finalist for the James Beard “Rising Star Chef of the Year.”
Damarr Brown – Virtue Restaurant
Damarr Brown, chef de cuisine at Chicago’s Virtue restaurant, draws inspiration from his Mississippi roots; when he grew up he was savoring his grandmother’s authentic recipes, including fried chicken livers and collard greens. His culinary prowess gained national recognition when he competed on Bravo’s Top Chef: Houston, reaching the final four and earning the title of “Fan Favorite.” This year, Brown’s culinary journey reached new heights as he was named the James Beard Foundation’s Emerging Chef.
Buddha Lo, an accomplished Australian chef, achieved the remarkable feat of becoming Top Chef’s first two-time winner, securing victory in two consecutive seasons: Top Chef: Houston and Top Chef: World All-Stars. His culinary journey began at the age of 12 in his parents’ restaurant, and from there he embarked on a global exploration of diverse cuisines, honing his skills and knowledge along the way. Having worked at the three-star Michelin restaurant Eleven Madison Park in New York City, Lo now serves as executive chef of Marky’s and Huso, the only caviar tasting menu restaurant in the Americas.
Secure Your Culinary Pass
The countdown to the JXN Food & Wine Festival has begun, and your seat at this culinary extravaganza is just a few clicks away. This is your opportunity to be a part of Jackson’s premier gastronomic event.
Get your tickets today at jxnfoodandwine.com/tickets.
- by Erin Byers Murray
- by TLP Editors
- by Erin Byers Murray
- by TLP Editors