9th annual Derby Day Gala at the Rockledge is next month

(Photo: Derby Day Gala at the Rockledge)

ROANOKE, Va. (WSET) -- Next month Tour Roanoke, a local company that showcases Roanoke's iconic food, craft breweries, culture, and outdoor events is hosting the 9th annual Annual Derby Day Gala at the Rockledge, just beneath the Mill Mountain Star.

It will be on Saturday, May 6 from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

During the gala, attendees will celebrate the traditions of the Kentucky Derby, along with classic Derby style, Southern, and Appalachian cuisine.

The gala will benefit the Southwestern Virginia Chapter of the American Culinary Federation and Apple Ridge Farm.

The event will feature local chefs from the Roanoke region who are members of the local Southwestern Virginia American Culinary Federation and new this year the gala will also welcome guest chefs who create culinary delights designed to wow!

Some chefs include:

  • Chef Geoffrey Blount: A World Cup Chocolatier, Chef Blount has won over 50 American Culinary Federation medals for the Hot Food, Bread, Chocolate, Pastry and Cold-Food categories in competitions throughout the US. Top hotels, shops, clubs, and spas throughout the Southeaster United States have called on Chef Blount to create chocolate masterpieces for their guests. Chef Blount earned the 2011 Charlotte Pastry Chef of the Year and Educator of the Year; Best Pastry Shop in 2005 and 2006 and was named one of the top ten chefs in Charlotte in 2004. His magnificent dessert creations were featured at both the 2004 and 2005 James Beard Dinners. Chef Blount represented the USA at the Gelato World Cup in Italy where the team won the coveted "Best Taste Award."
  • Chef Jeff Bland: The division chef for US Foods, Chef Bland brings over 30 years of experience to his culinary delicacies. He is a graduate of the acclaimed culinary program at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. He calls Roanoke, Virginia home.
  • Chef Denny Tranthum: The Ashville Foodie blog calls Chef Tranthum “larger than life” and his innovative Southern cuisine proves it. Raised in Haywood County, North Carolina, Chef Tranthum appreciates the rich traditions of Appalachian cuisine. Chef Trantham attended Johnson & Wales University in Charleston, SC where he earned his Associate Degree in Applied Science of Culinary Arts. He also received his Master in Business Administration from Montreat College, Montreat, NC.
  • Chef Chris Hill: Chef Hill is the author of Making the Cut. He is also a motivational speaker and internet sensation. Chef Hill was featured twice as a TED Talks presenter and fully supports the mission of the local chapter of the American Culinary Federation.

The menu created celebrates Southern and Appalachian cuisine and includes:

Passed Appetizers

  • Assorted Appalachian-inspired Sushi Maki boards
  • Pimento cheese, Trout rillettes, fried pork skin, shaved Brussels, and pickled Spring vegetables

Vegetarian Garden Table

  • Roasted vegetable Crudité
  • French Endive salad with potato, egg, and chive
  • Parisienne-style Gnocchi, edible flowers, with a lemon poppy buerre blanc
  • Blackberry salad with Heirloom tomatoes and lemon verbena
  • Saffron-perfumed cauliflower rice tabbouleh with preserved lemon
  • Assorted artisan bread, vegetable chips, and pickled accouterments

Action Stations

  • Cathead biscuit station with hams, jam, and country greens
  • Smoked prime rib with duck fat Yorkshire pudding
  • “Gator & Grits” with barley grits, alligator, and Tasso ham gravy
  • Plancha fried crisp-corn funnel cake with drunken Bourbon blackberries, pickled strawberries, orange caramel cream, peach salsa, minted white chocolate, and sourwood honey marshmallow cream


  • Chef Blount’s Cacao Lounge featuring all things chocolate


  • Adult cotton candy with nougatine dust, flower pedals, and Fennel pollen

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