V.I.B. get ‘MVP’ rankings from ‘Taste’ participants

Enjoying the Very Important Bites tent are, from front to back on the left, Graddy family members Mark Cammarata, Shari Graddy, Amber Hultin, Mattie Hultin and Jean Hills. Graddy family members, from front to back on the right, are Sharon Davis, Skip Skelton, Amy Skelton, Linda Graddy and Darrell Graddy.
Close to 100 people gathered under the Very Important Bites tent to enjoy the sit-down gourmet experience during Shop Farragut’s The Taste of Farragut.

This 10th festival, presented by Turkey Creek Medical Center, drew about 800 to the old Kroger parking lot, 11240 Kingston Pike, Friday evening, May 3.

Couples, families and co-workers were treated to a five-course meal, after which they could roam around the other booths and taste various samplings.

The VIB menu included two appetizers, a salad, entrée and dessert.

The Shrimp Dock provided the first appetizer — five large Gulf white shrimp cocktail with its homemade cocktail sauce — while Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant provided the second — grilled pork tenderloin with a honey-habanero glaze and fresh field greens.

Morrison’s of Turkey Creek Medical Center provided a salad of fresh arugula and baby greens topped with Benton bacon lardoons, candied pecans, blueberry goat cheese, wine-soaked pickled onions and strawberry champagne vinaigrette.

Water Into Wine bistro & lounge furnished the entrée of hand-rolled Southern-style meatloaf with a house balsamic glaze and crumbled blue cheese, roasted baked apple and brown sugared boneless pork loin, sea salt string beans, garlic-buttered potato mash and roasted vegetable medley.

Finally, Berrylicious Bouquets furnished the dessert, a trio of chocolate confections — a cream cheese-stuffed, chocolate-dipped strawberry; pistachio and craisin bark; and chocolate-covered Twizzler.

Among the participants, Jonathan Jackson and Meghan O’Brien said they received VIB tickets from a friend.

“I grew up around here, and I heard about (the event), but this is my first time coming,” O’Brien said. “We weren’t quite sure what to expect.”

“I wanted to try the food from First Utility District,” said Ronnie Davis, an FUD assistant general manager who came with wife, Donna.

The VIB was a chance to “give the staff a bonus from me,” FUD general manager Bruce Giles said. “It was just to support our folks.”

Attending the VIB was “something I’ve never done before but always wanted to do,” said Barb Wilson, who arrived with Andrew Howard. She added she saw Water Into Wine was one of the sponsors.

“I always love (owner Candace Viox’s) food,” Wilson said. “(The meal was) very good — awesome.”

“I chose to come because, like any good man, I always listen to (Wilson),” Howard said, smiling.

The event was a first time for Mark Cammarata as well. “It’s good,” he added.

“Oh, I love it,” said Sharon Davis, who has been to The Taste of Farragut — formerly known as Farragut Food & Wine Fest — for the past three years. “It’s a great way to know some of the businesses and what they serve.

“It’s nice to get samples of what they serve,” she added.

“It’s a very different event,” said Wayne Jones, also a first timer. “The food is outstanding and the wine is pouring, which is even better.”
His favorite part of the meal was the entrée.

“The meat and the pork were just wonderful,” Jones said.

Jim McCulloch, Scotland native residing in Cedar Bluff, said he would come all the way from Edinburgh to The Taste of Farragut.

Although this was his first time at the event, McCulloch noted, “I’ll be a regular now. It was very well-organized.”