Seasoned & Seared: a Fundraiser for the BEEFoundation

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BEEFoundation & Lodge Cast Iron Seasoned & Seared Fundraiser in NashvilleA few days ago, I had the honor to attend a special evening entitled Seasoned and Seared, that served as a fundraiser for the BEEFoundation. The BEEFoundation is a nonprofit organization that provides education and professional development opportunities for students (like the Future Farmers of America, and 4H groups), and beef producers. As times change, best practices in agriculture change as well, and beef producers need the opportunity to learn new techniques, and technologies. The BEEFoundation also educates consumers in regard to the importance of beef production in American agriculture. The BEEFoundation’s goal is to ensure farming’s legacy for future generations.

The fundraiser was a delightfully unique culinary experience, featuring Certified Angus beef dishes from Nashville chefs, and was held in the Green Door Gourmet’s Grand Barn in Nashville. The dinner celebrated beef, one of TN’s top agricultural commodities. The BEEFoundation partnered with Lodge Cast Iron®, to host Season & Seared. Lodge Cast Iron has been made in TN since 1896, and is known worldwide as the gold standard of seasoned cast iron.

I thought I’d share with you some pics from the evening, starting outside the Grand Barn at Green Door Gourmet, where we had appetizers, and where the food for the evening was grilled, and then moving inside. Because that’s pretty much the way I experienced the evening.

BEEFoundation & Lodge Cast Iron Seasoned & Seared Fundraiser

Chef Richard Jones of The Green Door Gourmet, grilling our appetizers.

BEEFoundation & Lodge Cast Iron Seasoned & Seared Fundraiser in Nashville

The Malaysian Beef Skewers being grilled on Lodge Cast Iron®’s Sportsman’s Grill. This is a closeup of our apps.

On a side note, I adore Lodge Cast Iron Cookware, personally. I use it on an almost a daily basis to create the recipes I cook for my family, and for this blog. I was thrilled to learn that not only is it a Tennessee business, but that it is also a business that is family-owned.

BEEFoundation & Lodge Cast Iron Seasoned & Seared Fundraiser

The Lodge Cast Iron Griddles, heating up over the coals in the pit.

Well known Nashville chefs Steven Chandler of Kayne Prime, Jay Mitchell of Tennessee Brew Works, Eric Zizka of Oak Steakhouse, Andrew Whitney of Virago, and Richard Jones of Green Door Gourmet were our chefs for the evening. Each of the chefs used Certified Angus Beef® to create their dishes. Most of the chef’s creations were cooked in Lodge Skillets or on Lodge grill pans and platters, outdoors, over an open pit fire. The pit was constructed of cement blocks, just outside the barn. Chef Jones  used Lodge’s Cast Iron Sportsman’s Grill  to grill our appetizers.

BEEFoundation & Lodge Cast Iron Seasoned & Seared Fundraiser

Chef Steven Chandler of Kayne Prime, at the tender age of 29, has had an impressive career! We joked that he could be “my son”. Thinking about playing that card at Kayne Prime on Mother’s Day.

BEEFoundation & Lodge Cast Iron Seasoned & Seared Fundraiser

Chef Andrew Whitney’s dish would have won my vote for favorite dish of the evening. Don’t tell “my son”.

BEEFoundation & Lodge Cast Iron Seasoned & Seared Fundraiser

The chefs in action over the pit.

BEEFoundation & Lodge Cast Iron Seasoned & Seared Fundraiser

The Strip Loin, beautifully seasoned, being seared in the skillet over the pit.

BEEFoundation & Lodge Cast Iron Seasoned & Seared Fundraiser

As the guests arrived at the Green Door Gourmet, we were treated to the beautiful appetizers, wines, and craft beers. The craft beers were all provided by Tennessee Brew Works.

BEEFoundation & Lodge Cast Iron Seasoned & Seared Fundraiser

The Craft Beers were provided by Tennessee Brew Works. Each had been carefully chosen to pair perfectly with each course. 

BEEFoundation & Lodge Cast Iron Seasoned & Seared Fundraiser in Nashville

This is the back of Matt Simpson’s shirt. Matt is a brewmaster at Tennessee Brew Works, and the beers he brewed and chose were WONDERFUL!

BEEFoundation & Lodge Cast Iron Seasoned & Seared Fundraiser

Following the appetizers, the guests filtered into the dining room to enjoy the rest of the meal.

BEEFoundation & Lodge Cast Iron Seasoned & Seared Fundraiser

My friend Charles Hunter, of The Salted Table and private chef/caterer, and Didi, the publisher of Tennessee Craft Beer magazine.

BEEFoundation & Lodge Cast Iron Seasoned & Seared Fundraiser

While I don’t have pictures of every dish, some were so outstandingly lovely that I had to show you a few. This was a salad with goat cheese, bone marrow, candy cane beets and regular beets. And I ACTUALLY ENJOYED BEETS!!!

BEEFoundation & Lodge Cast Iron Seasoned & Seared Fundraiser

Who’da thunk that someone like me, who is not much of a beer drinker, would discover that when you pair a perfectly selected beer with an excellent dish, it can be as lovely as a wine pairing? This is a Belgian Beet Ale, that was LOVELY to see AND taste, and it paired perfectly with the beet, bone marrow, candy cane radish and goat cheese salad. Absolutely amazing!

BEEFoundation & Lodge Cast Iron Seasoned & Seared Fundraiser

This strip loin Tataki was my personal favorite dish of the evening. It was made by Chef Andrew of Virago. That Certified Angus Beef was SO tender and flavorful. To die for!

BEEFoundation & Lodge Cast Iron Seasoned & Seared Fundraiser

This was the American Style Stout that was a perfect pairing for that strip loin. Believe it or not, it was brewed with sweet potatoes. Oh. My. Gosh. SOOOO GOOOOD!

The fresh organic produce was provided by Green Door Gourmet, and the craft brews that were paired with each course were provided by Tennessee Brew Works. I want to give a huge shoutout of thanks to both of those fine facilities. They are SO worth seeking out!

BEEFoundation & Lodge Cast Iron Seasoned & Seared Fundraiser

Left to right, Lisa Mays of My Paella Travels (paella chef extraordinaire, and she travels to YOU! Hire her for your next event!) Matt Simpson, the phenomenal  brewmaster of Tennessee Brew Works, and moi, toasting an unbelievably wonderful meal!

BEEFoundation & Lodge Cast Iron Seasoned & Seared Fundraiser in Nashville

The auctioneer in action! Don’t scratch your nose, accidentally, while they’re doing their thing!

Funds were raised following the meal through a silent auction, wherein many of the dinner guests both donated prizes, and bid on prizes themselves. The men running the auction were the real deal, too! Have you ever heard an old-time auctioneer do their thing? It’s dazzling! Just don’t take a moment to stretch during the auction, or you’re going to ride home the proud owner of whatever they were selling at that particular moment.

I’d like to thank the BEEFoundation for inviting me to be a part of their very special evening, and I’m excited about the money that was raised to help educate future farmers, as well as our hard-working farmers of today, and consumers. I LOVE FARM FAMILIES, and anything I can do to support and encourage them to keep on keeping on, I’m there! 

Another special thanks to Lodge Cast Iron®, for their beautiful products, and for partnering with the BEEFoundation! (Here’s just one recipe of mine, where I featured their beautiful enameled cast iron Dutch Oven. What a gorgeous work horse it is! Carnitas Made in my Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven.

Pretend like I made the carnitas out of beef, OK?

Mexican Carnitas Tacos Recipe with Fresh Tomato Salsa in a Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

My Pot’s Glamour Shot.


  1. Wow! Looks like such an enjoyable evening. I can almost smell the meal. Beef done right is a wonderful treat.

    I did not realize that Lodge was a family owned company. I'll remember that when I shop for cast iron next.

  2. Looks like a great time! My grandparents were farmers. It takes dedication! I appreciate beef farmers so much. We get 1/2 or 1/4 a cow each year. After reading this post I see I need to step up my variety in the kitchen (and maybe purchase some new cookware.)

    hhmmm, I don't drink beer because I've never tried one I like. Maybe I just haven't tried the right one eh? LOL

  3. Love, love, love cast iron and beef! Looks like an amazing evening for a great cause! I know a couple girls that are studying farming in college because of 4-H experience. One raises steer. Love that Lodge is family owned and a US based company!

  4. A beer made from beets, and another from sweet potatoes, and both delicious? Who'd'a thunk it? Ive never been a beer drinker but I definitely love beef! Kudos to the BEEFoundation and Lodge Cast Iron for investing in the next generation of beef farmers!

  5. As a fairly new Tennessee resident, I love reading about all that our state offers. Sounds like a great event, celebrating Lodge cast iron, TN beef and beer.

  6. Beer from sweet potatoes? Sounds interesting and good! Also sounds like a great evening for a good cause. Educating people who raise those cows so I can have steak is definitely worthwhile to me!

  7. bloomwhereever says

    I love my LODGE cast iron – whether in my kitchen here in Canada or UAE or my campfire in the great outdoors – it does the job every.time. Love to hear about this event – what a worthy cause – Farmers are so vital to our health, well-being and celebrations as a family. Now if you'll excuse me – I'm off to get out my lodge grill pan and a Tbone steak. Yum!

  8. Tig McCoy-Redd says

    What a fun evening! I enjoyed reading your blog post about this event.In addition to drooling all over my keyboard from looking at the food and bev photos that you took, I learned a few things, too. I was not aware that beef is one of Tennessee's top agricultural commodities. Thank you for providing the link about Angus beef. That was a good read for me, especially since I *just* stocked up on Angus beef this week at my local Aldi (they had a lovely special on Angus beef, quite a few cuts and types). Another good to know thing for me that you wrote about in your blog is that Lodge Cast Iron is family owned and made in Tennessee! Coolio! I use my Lodge cast iron everyday, for reals. I have 4 skillets of various sizes, the grill that is flat on one side and ridged on the other, a Dutch oven, and a round griddle. My family enjoys cooking with our cast iron so much that when my son moved into his first apartment in August, I made sure that he had a pre-seasoned Lodge cast iron skillet for his kitchen. He loves cooking with it! The craft beer sounds good, especially the Belgian ale made with beets. Hmm, that is probably the only way that you could get me to eat beets, serve it up in a Belgian style ale, with that delicious salad that you took a photo of. This blog post makes me want to grab one of my cast iron skillets, grill, griddle, or Dutch Oven, and start cooking some of that Angus beef that I purchased at the Aldi. 😉 Salut!

  9. It looks like a wonderful evening, Susan! I love my Lodge Cast Iron and bought it because my mom cooked with it while I was growing up, and it's American made. I didn't know it was family-owned, so thank you for that bit of information. I've been planning to replace my cast-iron griddle that my husband left in the cabin on his last hunting trip. I'll definitely be replacing it with a Lodge, and I'll be checking out that Sportsman grill. Thank you for posting this article.

  10. I just got a Lodge enamel dutch oven for my birthday this year after years of coveting- here's hoping it's the first of many cast iron pieces. 😀
    I can just smell the yums reading this!

  11. Rhonda benz says

    I love Lodge cast iron! Even with suitcases that had weight limits, I took my favorite pieces with me overseas when we moved 12 years ago. Nothing is more versatile and useful. Plus it is beautiful to look at…especially when accessorize with beef!

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