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Last year's Chef's in the Garden event at Clifton Inn
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Clifton Inn's Tucker Yoder
Dutch & Co.’s Caleb Shriver spent his wedding night there. And last year, Heritage’s Joe Sparatta, Pasture and Comfort’s Jason Alley and then-Secco chef Tim Bereika went there to cook.
The relentlessly charming Clifton Inn, outside of Charlottesville, has hosted a series of dinners called “Chefs in the Garden” for the last two years. Chef Tucker Yoder has lots of friends in Richmond, and he invited The Roosevelt’s Lee Gregory and Shriver and Phil Perrow of Dutch & Co. to create food to match the dinner’s lovely setting. “I’ve know Lee for a couple of years. I took my family to The Roosevelt and we ate the entire menu,” says Yoder. “And on the way back from the beach [another time], I stopped in Dutch & Co. At one point Phil came out and said, ‘You’re the only one here, right? You aren’t passing plates to someone outside?’ … I just wanted to try everything!”
“Each of us will take a different course,” says Perrow. He’s particularly excited about creating labneh — it’s a pressed yogurt that he’s making it with a combo of sheep and goat’s milk. It has a fresh chèvre texture and will complement the fish course — fennel-baked grouper in an herb broth. The milk comes from Twenty Paces, which operates out of Belair Farm, and Perrow and Shriver plan to use their ricotta for a cheese course as well. “It’s three young guys … they’re pretty new; they’ve kind of been doing the cheese thing and used to work at Caramont [Farm]. …They’re great guys doing it right.”
So, if sitting at long tables under twinkly strings of lights on the lawn of the Clifton Inn strikes you as something you might like to do to take advantage of this odd but amazing July weather, hop to it. The dinner starts with cocktails at 6 p.m. tomorrow night (July 29). Tickets are $88 per person and $150 per person with wine pairings. Call (434) 971-1800 for more information.