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  • Writer's pictureMary Ann

Countdown to Music City Food + Wine Festival – Interview with Executive Chef Matt Farley

The Music City Food + Wine Festival kicks off on Friday, September 14 and runs through Sunday, September 16. The acclaimed talent that is set to cook is overwhelming, but we have rounded up a few of the amazing culinary minds to chat with us in a countdown to the BIG event.

To kick things off we chatted with avid musician and Nashville local Chef Matt Farley, Executive Chef of TomKats Hospitality Group.

Why did you want to get involved with the Music City Food + Wine Festival? It's a good way to show that you are part of the vibrant food scene here in Nashville. We do the festival every year and always look forward to it!

What's your favorite part about the Music City Food + Wine Festival? Is there any one event you look forward to more than others? We've participated in every Music City Food + Wine since the first year, each year representing a different restaurant in our group. I really enjoy the Grand Taste event. It's always great to get to see fans of our group and make a few new friends that are not familiar with our restaurants. I love to walk around and chat with other chefs and friends from around town in our community. I also really enjoy the Harvest Night event. My wife and I go every year and have a great time.

Since you will be a featured chef during the Grand Taste... Can you talk a little about what and how you'll be preparing for the Grand Tasting? This year we will be serving a salad of crispy pork belly, watermelon, feta, and balsamic syrup. The belly will be brined in orange juice, garlic, molasses, soy, herbs, and star anise. Then we braise it in that same brine and get it crispy on a flat top. The watermelon is tossed in a vinaigrette of lime juice, chilies, and sugar. When it's paired with the feta and balsamic, all these flavors play beautifully together!

Do you like meeting foodies at festivals? Sometimes (haha)! "Foodie" is a pretty loosely used term these days. Just kidding! Of course, I love to meet folks who enjoy and appreciate eating and discussing food of any kind. It's like talking about music and your preferences and dislikes. It's subjective, and always makes for good conversation.

There is always bound to be musicians and celebrities partaking in the festival. Is there anyone you would love to meet? Tom Waits or Paul McCartney.

Is it good to talk to chefs at the festival and swap ideas, or are you a secretive bunch? Nah, I don't think so. I love to chat with the guys and girls that I know. It's easy to get it going with any of them because usually you connect and can relate to each other immediately. No secrets here!

Any new Nashville restaurants or chefs on your radar that you're looking forward to checking out? My favorite meal I've had in a while was at Folk. And my wife and I love Tànsuǒ, and Chauhan Ale and Masala House. I know they are not necessarily new, but I always look forward to checking out their food.

Finally, what's one tip you can give festival goers? Pace yourselves!

Tickets & More Information:

Music City Food + Wine Festival ticket options still available include Friday Night Ticket and Saturday Ticket and a limited number of Gospel Brunch Tickets. All attendees must be 21 years of age or older.

The Friday Night Ticket ($165 per person) includes single-day access to Friday, September 14 festival programming at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, including the Official Drink of Nashville competition and the Friday Night Throwdown; Grand Taste, with more than 80 beer, wine, cocktail, and culinary tastings; access to Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint & Friends; and more.

The Saturday Ticket ($165 per person) includes single-day access to Saturday, September 15 festival programming at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, including Grand Taste, with more than 80 beer, wine, cocktail, and culinary tastings; cooking demos; panel discussions; access to Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint & Friends; and more.

Gospel Brunch Ticket ($85 per person) will return to Walk of Fame Park on Sunday, September 16, featuring a dynamic roster of restaurants and chefs serving creative brunch favorites. Get a jump-start on the day with eye-opening cocktails, wine, coffee, and a spirited live gospel brunch performance from Gayle Mayes.

For more information, please visit or follow us on Instagram ( Twitter ( and Facebook ( #MCFW.

Music City Food + Wine is generously sponsored by: Nashville Convention + Visitors Bureau, Toyota and FOOD & WINE.

About Music City Food + Wine Festival:

Music City Food + Wine Festival is produced by GRAMMY-award winning artists (and Nashville residents) Kings of Leon, world-renowned chef Jonathan Waxman, Vector Management’s Ken Levitan and Andy Mendelsohn, and Austin-based C3 Presents – producer of Lollapalooza in Chicago’s Grant Park, and Austin City Limits Music Festival in Austin’s Zilker Park.

About FOOD & WINE:

FOOD & WINE is the ultimate authority on the best of what’s new in food, drink, travel, design and entertaining. FOOD & WINE has an extensive social media following on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and Snapchat. FOOD & WINE includes a monthly magazine in print and digital; a website,; a books division; plus newsletters, clubs, events, dinnerware and cookware. FOOD & WINE is a registered trademark of Time Inc. Affluent Media Group.


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