“Do fun things with people you like.” – Chris Thomas
Eat Y’all has partnered with MADE SOUTH to connect the South’s innovative food farmers, makers, chefs and cooks to the transformative experience afforded the region’s top makers at MADE SOUTH’s chic event series.
But first, let’s go way back to 2015…
In September 2015, Chris Thomas had ordered up a stunning bronzed autumnal backdrop for the inaugural MADE SOUTH event, but his order didn’t exactly come in as planned. The concept of Eat Y’all wasn’t yet two years old.
On that weekend, even pastoral Harlinsdale Farm in trendy Franklin, Tennessee was struggling to reassure tentative makers who’d arrived from all corners of the South. Heretofore, these makers had mostly sold their wares in the safety of online stores and upscale retail events. Or at worst inside the safety of a four-walled tent at a local outdoor festival or farmer’s market. But this scene was different.
While a palpable excitement filled the air… so did the rain.
Lots and lots of rain.
Making an Idea Reality
Chris told us recently that all of his projects started by answering a “what if” question.
One such question months earlier had led him to send a call for makers from across the Southern U.S. – soliciting applications with no promise of approval. His vision was that only the very best product makers from across the Southern U.S. would come to a live MADE SOUTH event where “first class” would be redefined, where people would meet people, and they’d do good things together.
He made big promises, smiled and sent virtual hugs and “atta boys” thru the next-wave-of-social-media called Instagram and via reassuring and patient emails to those of us who didn’t send in our applications on time.
“No promises, but go ahead and send it in,” he emailed us.
Somehow, in what I can only guess was a combination of his visual aesthetic and simply inescapable likability, he persuaded us to finish the paperwork and apply to be an inaugural MADE SOUTH maker. That same sentiment had staying power because we found ourselves excited – relieved even – when Eat Y’all was accepted to share some of our favorite Southern food finds at that inaugural MADE SOUTH event in Franklin.
Excitement, meet Reality.
But when we arrived on the scene, my enthusiasm dimmed.
With MADE SOUTH set to kick off in less than 36 hours, the super-sized tent set-up in the sweeping valley didn’t have walls.
And the ground was soaked.
And it was still raining.
The pessimist in me was screaming from within, “Does this guy know what he’s doing?!?”
Finally the rain quit. But it threatened to return. All just in time for makers to slog in the thick humidity and skeptically set up shop in the open air tent. Hello, from behind the scenes at the inaugural MADE SOUTH – Franklin. What had we all gotten ourselves into?
The Friday VIP Party
As the sun went down on that Friday evening, strands of vintage bulbs cast a soft glow over the scene. Bluegrass music notes and cackles of laughter and clinking plates took the place of rain as Mother Nature gave reprieve. Guest after VIP guest was welcomed with cocktails that rattled in their glasses as they balanced them alongside plates piled high with Nashville’s famously irresistible Martin’s BBQ and sauntered thru the enormous. Dry. Stunningly curated. Open air. Tent.
After such a tense day of setup and wondering, we all started laughing and letting our hair down a little bit. A deep sigh of relief. It seemed like we might have stumbled upon perfection – kicking and screaming.
The Saturday Main Event
The next morning, chilly hints of autumn filled the air. Vendors arrived early to open shop adorned with light jackets and sock`hats. Honest Coffee Roasters mercifully served mug after mug of steaming pour over coffees to dozens of appreciative makers before the doors even opened warming our hearts and making the atmosphere simply surreal.
The light of day also brought the real moment of truth. Would people show up?
Whether by stroke of luck or pure genius, Chris Thomas had created a thing, and we all got to experience it.
Because they did show up. All day long. By the hundreds of dozens.The inaugural MADE SOUTH event was a nearly transcendent experience for makers, entertainers and attendees alike, attracting over 2000 guests including plenty of A-listers, celebrities and buzz makers all there to discover what’s now and next in the Southern taste making scene.
“It was phenomenal,” says Andy Chapman, founder of Eat Y’all. “Like no other event I’ve ever attended in every way,” he continued.
Fast Forward to 2017
Chris Thomas has gone on to prove his theory four more times since that weekend back in 2015 with events in Franklin and Greenville, South Carolina.
“In a nutshell, Chris Thomas and his team script MADE SOUTH events with such a tender attention to detail – such a thoughtful consideration to the experience and outcome – that the events are transformative for guests and makers alike,” Chapman said.
Today, MADE SOUTH is a bespoke event where you’ll see and be seen, influence and be influenced, and discover and determine what’s now and what’s next in the realm of all things Southern – including food and drink.
Eat Y’all: The Official Culinary Partner
When Eat Y’all participated in the inaugural MADE SOUTH event in 2015, we also got to know Chris Thomas and his beautiful family. He’s a thoughtful and hard worker, beloved by everyone who knows him – and he surrounds himself with very good people.
That’s why Eat Y’all is honored to partner with Chris and his MADE SOUTH team to connect the South’s innovators in the food and farming world to this influential event series.
To participate in a MADE SOUTH event is to be part of something bigger, beneficial – truly progressive for our region. And we can’t think of a better way to energize the MADE SOUTH movement than to feed it! Southern food, of course!!
MADE SOUTH 2017 Event Schedule
- June 2-3, 2017 in Hoover, Alabama
- June 30 – July 1 in Franklin, Tennessee
- September 29-30 in Atlanta, Georgia
- October 27-28 in Louisville, Kentucky
- November 17-18 in Franklin, Tennessee (a holiday event)
Let’s Feed the Tastemakers
In partnership with MADE SOUTH, Eat Y’all will work directly with farmers, food makers, chefs, restaurants and select food trucks to coordinate this unmatched opportunity for them to share their stories through tasting stations and demonstrations during both the Friday and Saturday portions of each event.
If you’re a Southern farmer, food maker, chef or restaurant interested in sampling your ingredients or cuisine at any of the 2017 MADE SOUTH events, please message us immediately. Space is extremely limited, and so it will be carefully curated in keeping with the MADE SOUTH experience.
To learn more about the events and ticketing, visit MADESOUTH.COM.