Break 'n Bread Charity Event - Birmingham Originals

Aug 24, 2012

In the past few years, the Birmingham, Ala. area has become a destination for those who love good food. You don't have to be a culinary school graduate to appreciate the quality and variety: from the Irondale Café (the "meat-and-three" eatery made famous by the book and film, "Fried Green Tomatoes," by Birmingham-native Fanny Flagg) to myriad Mediterranean sandwich shops to the nationally-acclaimed Highlands Bar & Grill (helmed by award-winning chef and author Frank Stitt).

Speaking of culinary schools, Birmingham is also home to Culinard, the Culinary Institute of Virginia College. It trains students with a 36-week intensive program in either a culinary or pastry specialty. Before graduation, students perform a three-month, on-the-job externship — many of them in area restaurants.

So it stands to reason that an area with abundant trained culinarians would also have great food festivals. One example in Birmingham is Break n' Bread, a charity event where food, music and fun all meet in a single day each year.

In 2011, the event featured appetizers and desserts from more than 30 Birmingham-area restaurants, cafes and caterers, as well as wine, beer and music from Memphis singer-songwriter Eliot Morris and "American Idol" winner Taylor Hicks. The 2012 event will take place October 4 and will feature a 60-piece orchestra, celebrity chef John Besh from New Orleans and signature dishes presented in the VIP tent.

The Birmingham Originals organization is an important part of Break 'n Bread. Chef Antony Osborne, Dean of Culinard in Birmingham and president of the nonprofit group, explains. "Chefs and restaurateurs are passionate people. This group came together to promote our local restaurants, but also to increase awareness of our unique regional flavors and locally produced food. Break 'n Bread lets us share great food with thousands of people and do good things for the community at the same time."

All of the participating restaurants donate their time and food for the event, which last year benefited Children's of Alabama and tornado relief efforts.

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