Man About Town: A Starry, Starry Night At Cork. Food & Drink

Man About Town

Sometimes the planets align just right for a “Starry Starry Night” and that’s exactly what happened at Cork. Food & Drink’s “Farm 2 Table Wine Dinner.”  The stars were owner, Jon Florendo and Executive Chef, Christian Chavanne of Cork and Dawn Leatherwood, owner of Pelle Legna Vineyard and Winery.  What a team!  Dawn and Jon have collaborated on several charity events at Dawn and Harry’s Farm and Vineyard.  Dawn has the connections and the venue and Jon provides the food.  It’s a superb synergy.  

So, when Jon and Christian launched their Farm 2 Table Wine Dinner concept it was only a matter of time before Dawn’s Pelle Legna Wines would be paired with a full course dinner.  Listen, the joining up of this terrific triumvirate was “a marriage made in heaven.”  The thirty-four folks who attended will attest that the wine, the food, the presentation and the party was an over the top delight.

So, what’s behind the Farm 2 Table concept?  Well, it’s the organizing principles for all the culinary preparations at Cork.  The meat, vegetables, breads, cheeses, honey, coffee and wines are produced in East Texas.  Buy Local-Go Texas is the theme.  Chef Chavanne creates a special menu from scratch to be paired with the specific wines that are

showcased.  And, the good news is that there are more to come and y’all may get in on the party.  Listen up, the next Farm 2 Table Wine Dinner will be December 19th at Cork Food & Drink.  You can call for reservations at 903.363.9197 or email  In the meantime, the fine locally produced food and wines are available at Cork. Food & Drink for dinner Tuesday-Sunday and brunch Saturdays and Sundays, 10:00a.m.-2:00p.m.  Try ‘em, you’ll be back.  

Our party of thirty-four fun loving friends of Dawn Leatherwood and Cork came with eager appetites and party ready.  They were not disappointed.  The beautiful cello music was provided by Texas Cultural Trust’s Young Master Award winner Christian Kay and some of Cork’s super standard players.  After the initial greetings of the guests, the drinks started a-flowin’.  The specialty of the night was a Martini creation called the “Vivace Rose’ Cocktail,” which was a perfect blend of Pelle Legna's Vivace Rosé, Kiepersol’s Dirk Vodka made from grapes with a touch of lemon-lime served ice cold and straight up.  One was not enough!

The “Man” was lucky to sit at the table with Dawn, David and Debora Dobbs and Dawn’s longtime friend Johnanna Hoeffner.  Right next to us was a table of four of Dawn’s girlfriends, so David and I had a ringside seat to one hoot-of-a girls night out that ran till closing time.

Now, there really was a dinner, I promise.  It was exceptional with every bite.  Beginning with the appetizers through two courses and dessert, Dawn described each wine and its story followed by Chef Chavanne detailing the menu, where they were produced and how the flavors complemented each other.  The entire process was entertaining, educational and yum, yum, yummy!

Pelle Legna is one of the three Texas Wineries whose wine is 100% estate grown, handcrafted on site and bottled.  And it is right here in Tyler!  We enjoyed their Allegro 2012, Bilancia 2010, and Vivace 2013.  You may join their wonderful wine club or purchase their wine locally.  Check ‘em out at

At last, the dinner came to an end but not before Chef Chavanne served his Chocolate & Coffee Pecan Pie with Keiporsol’s Jimmy’s Bourbon; CJ Farms Honey & Lavender paired with Pelle Legna’s Bilancia.  WOW!  It is the best pie the “Man” has ever wolfed down and I still wanted more.

Now, after several hours of gastronomical ecstasy, folks started meandering out with smiling faces and happy tummies.  But a group of us, including Dawn’s girls-night-out group, laid back to continue the party.  Jon and his Cork Team continued their outstanding hospitality till nearly closing time when we began headin’ for the house.

So, if you’re out and about, look for us, we’ll be about town.


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