Literary Award Gala

Literary Award Gala Weekend - Chef Dinner Packages

With the 17th Annual Literary Award Gala now being a Stay-at-Home event, we’re excited to offer you the opportunity to still have an exceptional culinary experience in the comfort of your own home as part of the evening’s celebration. We’ve partnered with acclaimed Nashville chefs to offer five exclusive Chef Dinner Packages. From a full-service, multi-course dinner for 8-12 guests to a family-style drop-off package of chef specialties, each package invites you to a unique experience to enjoy a special chef-prepared meal during your Stay-at-Home Gala party on the evening of November 14.

To coordinate the purchase of a chef-prepared dinner in your home, please contact Liz Beck at

Additionally, if you prefer a carry-out option, we’d like to encourage you to order from one of our five local restaurant partners that will be generously donating 10% of all Stay-at-Home Gala carry-out orders back to the Foundation: Chaatable, Chauhan Ale & Masala House, Thai Esane, The Mockingbird and Slim & Husky’s Pizza Beeria. When placing your order, simply write “Stay-at-Home Gala” in the special message section of your to-go order for the donation to be applied. We want to thank our participating chef and restaurant partners and appreciate your continued support!

Keith Batts

Keith BattsFull-service three-course dinner package
Price point: $125 per person (includes two servers)
Recommended start time: 5:30 p.m. CT

Known for his personalized style of event catering, Chef Keith Batts will provide a chef-guided three-course dinner highlighting his celebrated approach to Southern food that utilizes unique and creative techniques to transform everyday ingredients into haute cuisine. The menu is as follows:

First Course
Blue Shell Crab Cakes with Remoulade and Mango Arugula Salad

Main Course
Bison Filet with Bearnaise
Buttermilk Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
Asparagus with Heirloom Tomato Vinaigrette

Chocolate Molten Cake with Strawberry Compote

Chef Keith Batts is the founder and CEO of Chef Batts, LLC. Chef Batts has been recognized as the front-runner of the new millennium chef. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree in business management from Tennessee State University, he decided to pursue his dream of becoming a chef and earned his culinary arts degree from Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte with magna cum laude honors. Upon graduation, Chef Batts returned to his hometown of Nashville for an internship with Tomkats Catering preparing foods for featured artists and guests at Bonnaroo Music Festival. From there, Chef Batts served as sauté chef with Saffire Restaurant and Bar in Franklin, TN before working for the prestigious Old Hickory Steak House at Opryland.

Chef Batts founded Chef Batts, LLC in 2011, through which he offers a unique and personalized style of event catering, personal chef services and cooking demos. Chef Batts found his niche in converting everyday cuisines into haute cuisine while educating his friends and family on new techniques and expanding their “palates.”

Passionate about philanthropy and giving back to his community, Chef Batts partners with the YMCA Y-CAP program to host healthy cooking demos for the youth at the YMCA weekly, and he helps host the annual 100 Turkeys Drive, which provides 800 full Thanksgiving meals to families in need each year.

Maneet Chauhan, Chauhan Ale & Masala House

Maneet Chauhan


Family-style dinner package
Price point: $170 per person

Enjoy a special dining experience in your own kitchen as award-winning chef, author, television personality and restauranteur Maneet Chauhan shares a family-style meal highlighting select menu items from her beloved restaurants Chaatable and Chauhan Ale & Masala House.

Maneet will prepare an Indian 17-Element Feast in celebration of the 17th Anniversary of the Gala. The menu is as follows:

1. Peanut Mango Chaat
2. Mango Mint Chutney
3. Seeks Kebab
4. Indian Hummus
5. Koochumbar

6. Chicken Tikka Masala
7. Shrimp Moilee
8. Vegetable Paneer Saag
9. Daal
11. Rice
13. Raita
14. Chutney

Dessert trio:
15. Flan
16. Gulab Jamun
17. Ladoo

Maneet Chauhan is an award-winning chef, author, television personality and founding partner and president of Morph Hospitality Group in Nashville, Tennessee. She is a recipient of the 2012 James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media Award for her role as a permanent judge on Food Network’s “Chopped.”

Born in Pubjab, India, chef Chauhan worked in some of the country’s finest hotels before moving to the U.S. to study at the Culinary Institute of America. She went on to work as executive chef in some of New York City and Chicago’s top restaurants, including Vermilion, which received national acclaim under her leadership. After relocating to Nashville, Tennessee, Chauhan and her husband, Vivek Deora, co-founded Morph Hospitality Group, opening their first restaurant, Chauhan Ale & Masala House in 2014. With the goal of filling gaps in Nashville’s culinary landscape, the group opened Tansuo, a Chinese concept, The Mockingbird, a global diner, in 2017, and Chaatable, a nostalgic Indian street food concept in 2018. Chef Chauhan is also a co-founder of Hop Springs, the state’s largest craft brewery located in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Chauhan is the author of two cookbooks, Flavors of My World and her most recent, Chaat: The Best Recipes from the Kitchens, Markets, and Railways of India, which was released in October 2020. Published by Clarkson Potter, the book was inspired by Maneet’s epic cross-country railroad expedition that brought her to local markets, street vendors and the homes of family & friends. Chaat has been recognized as one of Fall 2020’s most anticipated cookbooks and has appeared in the New York Times, Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Food Network Magazine, and more.

A leader in the Nashville community, Chauhan has been honored as one of the Nashville Business Journal’s “40 under 40”, which highlights young, successful business leaders and was recognized in Nashville Lifestyles’ Women in Business, which showcases local women who are at the top of their respective industries. In March 2020, Chauhan founded Hospitality Strong, a nonprofit benefitting hospitality workers in need and currently serves as an advisory board member for Nashville’s COVID-19 Response Fund, founded to assist individuals, families and nonprofits experiencing financial hardship due to the virus.

When she’s not in the kitchen or traveling, Chef Chauhan can be found at home in Franklin, Tennessee, with her husband, Vivek, their daughter, Shagun, and their son, Karma.

Julio Hernandez, Miaz De La Vida

Julio HernandezFull-service six-course dinner package
Price point: $160 per person
Recommended start time: 5-5:30 p.m. CT

Chef Julio Hernandez will provide a formal six-course dinner out of his recently opened, highly acclaimed food truck, Maiz De La Vida, (parked in your driveway for convenience and safe social distancing practices) for an evening rich in culture and good food. The tasting menu, which features three varieties of heirloom corn to showcase the range of techniques and diversity in Mexican cuisine, will include a fish tostada appetizer to start, followed by a soup course, tetela cheese course, beef taco course, mole course with pork chop or chicken and sweet tamales for dessert.

Chef Hernandez was born in New York City and raised in Tlaxcala, Mexico. He began working in professional kitchens at the age of 15, including in restaurants located in Hell’s Kitchen on restaurant row and 5th Avenue in New York City. He also worked in the meatpacking district in downtown Manhattan, eventually making his way to the Music City and landing executive chef positions at various prestigious country clubs. Chef Hernandez eventually jumped into the taco scene as the executive chef at Nectar Urban Cantina. Now he has taken it upon himself to restore the value of corn tortillas in Nashville by exporting heirloom grains from several states of Mexico, including his hometown of Tlaxcala, which literally translates to “Land of bread of corn” in the ancient Náhuatl dialect.

Nina Singto, Thai Esane

Nina SingtoFull-service three-course dinner package
Price point: $80 per person

Chef Nina Singto will bring the Thai Esane experience to your home with three exciting courses featuring authentic Southeast Asian cuisine. The menu is as follows:

First Course
Choice of fresh rolls or eggrolls

Main Course (choose one)
Drunken Noodles with Chicken
Pad Thai with Chicken
Pad Kra Pao (Basil Chicken) with Rice

Banana Sticky Rice with Ice Cream covered with Caramel & Coconut

Chef and owner Nina Singto is the mastermind behind Thai Esane in Nashville. She brings popular Thai dishes to life from the iconic Pad Thai to Malaysian Noodles and various other authentic Southeast Asian cuisine. Singto, originally from Laos, arrived in the U.S. as a toddler with her family as they fled from communism. She spent her childhood in Fort Smith, Arkansas, where her parents worked two jobs to make ends meet. Singto’s grandmother watched the children, and taught Singto not only how to cook, but about having a passion for food. At a young age, she embraced entrepreneurship. As soon as she could ride a bike at age six, she was selling the produce—onions, peppers, cilantro—pulled from her grandmother’s garden. In high school, it was bowls of her grandmother’s noodles to the after-school crowd. Singto later moved to Nashville and started working at Salon FX in Midtown doing hair. But when her family opened King Market in Antioch, they asked her to put aside her career to help the family business. Once she did, she was immediately drawn in by her love of the food and the people. In 2014, Singto decided to bring the food of King Market into Nashville, opening Thai Esane with a family member as a partner. Nashville quickly latched on to her food, bringing a cult following to Nina’s new location of Thai Esane, which opened in the Music Row area in 2019. A second location of Thai Esane is slated to be inside Nashville’s Food Hall on Broadway soon.

Vivek Surti, Tailor Nashville

Vivek SurtiSOLD

Family-style dinner drop-off package
Price point: $125-175 per person

Tailor Nashville offers a simple, timeless dining experience that emulates an intimate dinner party in the way it fills both the bodies and souls of its guests. Culinary Creator Vivek Surti honors his heritage through the South Asian American cuisine that is representative of Surti being a first generation American of Indian descent. The restaurant has earned accolades such as Bon Appetit’s Hot 10: Best New Restaurants in the Country, Thrillist’s List of Best New Restaurants in the US and a James Beard nomination. For this chef experience, a member of Tailor’s culinary team will prepare and drop-off a family-style dinner highlighting a select few items from the fall 2020 menu. Exact menu items will be determined alongside the host and would fall within the $125-$175 per person price range depending on selections.

Vivek Surti is the culinary creator behind Tailor Nashville, the dinner-party style South Asian American restaurant that has appeared on Bon Appetit’s Hot 10 list of America’s best new restaurants, as well as Thrillist’s list of 12 Best New Restaurants in America. The restaurant gave a home to Surti’s popular VEA Supper Club, Nashville’s first and longest running series of pop up restaurants that he created in May 2011.

Surti was a James Beard Foundation 2020 semifinalist for Best Chef in the Southeast and has been described by fellow culinary peers as a “pop up luminary,” “bon vivant,” “ubiquitous foodie,” “beverage connoisseur,” “culinary gadabout,” and “local raconteur,” and the dinners he hosts are often compared to a dinner party – going to a friend’s house who has a really cool kitchen, where great food, wine and conversation never seem to end. The same warm dinner party concept is the basis for Tailor.

Surti’s food point of view – South Asian American – reflects his heritage of being a first generation American of Indian descent. Many of his dishes are representative of the Gujarati meals he grew up eating as a child, dishes that are American as well as dishes inspired by travel. His hospitality is served up as delightfully as the dishes he prepares, welcoming everyone around the table as if they are in his own home and telling relatable vignettes about each dish as a palate cleanser between courses at Tailor.