Celebrated Oxford chef cooking for library fundraiser



By Ginna Parsons

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Oxford restaurateur and James Beard award-winner John Currence will be the celebrity chef at Tupelo’s third annual “A Novel Affair.”

Sponsored by the Friends of the Lee County Library, this year’s event is at the Summit Center on March 10. Doors open at 6 p.m. for a social, seating begins at 6:30 p.m. and the program, which features a cooking demonstration and a three-course meal, starts at 7 p.m.

“The Friends of the Library are so excited to make this announcement,” said Becky Rollins, president of the volunteer group. “We pursued John really hard beginning in September. We knew we wanted him and we went for it.”

Sponsorships that provide seating for 10 guests are on sale now. A gold sponsor is $5,000, a silver is $2,500 and a bronze is $1,000. Individual tickets for $50 will go on sale March 1.

Currence was recipient of both Restaurateur of the Year and Chef of the Year awards from the Mississippi Restaurant Association in 1998. In 2009, he was awarded the James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef South.

In Oxford, he has five popular restaurants: City Grocery, Bouré, Big Bad Breakfast, Snackbar and Fat Eddie’s Lamar Lounge. He is the author of two cookbooks, “Big Bad Breakfast” and “Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey.”

“‘A Novel Affair’ is a great night,” said Jeff Tomlinson, library director. “Mississippi chefs come to Tupelo and put on a fabulous show. The food is unbelievable.”

Last year’s fundraiser, featuring Chef Ty Thames of Starkville, sold out, as did the inaugural year, when Robert St. John was the celebrity chef.

All proceeds benefit the library by supporting children’s summer programs, new materials, books and the Helen Foster Lecture Series.

For more information, call the library at (662) 841-9027. For reservations, call (662) 841-9029.


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