Menu Revealed For CMT Artists Of The Year Event

Meeting not in competition, but in celebration of the year’s best in country music, three of the Southeast’s greatest chefs are headed to Nashville this November– with two incredible vintners in tow.

When guests gather for the first-ever CMT ARTISTS OF THE YEAR, honoring the top five influential country music artists in 2010, they’ll be wined and dined by an elite team of artists at the top of another field: three chefs, all recent winners of the prestigious James Beard Award, all below the Mason Dixon line. Complementing the chefs’ three-course meal are wines created by two of the most highly decorated winemakers, Heitz Cellar and Ken Wright Cellars. The combination of these three culinary talents working together, along with the finest wine pairings, only elevates the evening’s exclusivity.

The star-studded line-up for the evening begins with the host, Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Costner. Honorees include Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, and the Zac Brown Band, who will be celebrated for their outstanding achievements and successes in country music this past year. They will commemorate the night by enjoying an elegant three-course meal prepared by Chefs Michael Schwartz, RJ Cooper, and John Currence. The chefs have been forewarned that country artists don’t always play by the rules, and the possibility of one of these artists helping them in the kitchen is likely.

Honorees and attendees will enjoy the following three-course tasting menu:

John Currence [Oxford, Mississippi, 2009 winner,] in support of Gulf seafood, is offering up Sweet Onion and Fennel Butter Poached Gulf Shrimp with Maque Choux Corn Pudding Tart and Spicy Red Pepper Coulis, to be paired with a fine vintage from the renowned Heitz Cellar.

RJ Cooper [Washington, DC, 2007 winner] will be presenting Smoked Pork (Roast) with Heirloom Beans, Rye-Organic Gastrique, and Chestnut Emulsion. A 2008 Ken Wright Cellars Pinot Noir, Savoya Vineyard, will accompany the course.

Michael Schwartz [Miami, Florida, 2010 winner] will be preparing Slow Smoked Beef Brisket with Pumpkin Seed Pesto, Pumpkin Panade and Aged Goat Cheese, which will be complemented by another fine vintage from Heitz Cellar.

CMT ARTISTS OF THE YEAR will premiere on Friday, December 3 from 8:00p.m.– 9:30p.m., ET/PT on CMT and In addition, footage of the chefs preparing all day in the kitchen before the evening event can be viewed on – audio and video only. To experience first-hand the taste sensations served up by these chefs, food enthusiasts can head to Miami, Washington, or Oxford, where the culinary stars are serving their guests daily. The wines of Heitz Cellar and Ken Wright Cellars, lucky for all, are more widely available.