When the Edwards Street Fellowship Center, an outreach ministry of the United Methodist Church in Hattiesburg, didn't have enough food to feed their clients, they called Robert St. John.
The effervescent St. John, a well-known chef, restaurateur, author, blogger and self-described "world-class eater" from Hattiesburg, wanted to help. He called Sysco, a food-service company he's been working with, to see if he could get them to deliver food that he would pay for to the food bank. After working out some tricky details about the portion sizes and food quality to be donated, St. John realized he could help others do the same.
"Once I finally put the order together and got it sent, I thought, I bet restaurants will give more freely and often if there was an easier way to do so," he says. That's what prompted him to create his nonprofit organization, Extra Table. "The idea," he says, "is what if every restaurant, business and household in this country had an extra table to feed the needy? What would that look like?" His organization is on a mission to show just how it would look.
This week, Jacksonians will have the chance to not only sample St. John's cuisine, but to contribute to Extra Table's cause as well. For four days, Sept. 9-12, St. John and his team are taking over the Mississippi Museum of Art's Palette Café.
During lunch, the Palette Café will host the Crescent City Grill Jazz Brunch, with a live jazz trio entertaining guests while St. John himself whips up food in the museum kitchen.
In the evenings, the space will become the Purple Parrot Café, with the same attention to detail the AAA 4 Diamond-winning restaurant offers in Hattiesburg. St. John will hand the reins over to chef Jeremy Noffke, who planned the menu for dinner.
Both meals are fundraisers—the Crescent City Grill brunch will raise money for the MMA, and dinner at Purple Parrot Café benefits Extra Table.
Raven Tynes, executive director of Extra Table, hopes that after this event, the organization will be able to strengthen their partnership with food pantries in Jackson, such as Stewpot and Gateway Missionary, and begin providing them with food.
"The easiest is for restaurants to just make an order through Sysco, and the food will be delivered to the food pantries," she says. She added that individuals can donate at their website or through Greater Pine Belt Community Foundation or the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson.
The Crescent City Grill Jazz brunch will be served from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and seating is first-come, first-served (no reservations taken). The Purple Parrot dinner serves 60 at each seating; at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. each night. The four-course meal is $50, or $80 with wine pairings. Reservations required, call 601-960-1515. To learn more about Extra Table, visit http://www.extratable.com or call 601-264-0672.
Preview the Purple Parrot Café Menu
- Prince Edward Island Mussel and Blue Crab Ceviche
- Madras curry, pineapple, lime, micro cilantro
- Korean Shrimp bun
- House-made Kimchee, house pickles
- Trio of Hudson Valley Foie Gras
- Seared, Torchon, Brulee
- Weinbach Gewurztraminer, Alsace 2009
- Salad of tomatoes, radishes, beets
- Ryals Dairy Goat cheese mousse, pickled black walnut, candied nuts
- Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2011
- Beausoleil oysters, pickled leek mignonette, Hackleback Caviar, Oregon black truffles
- Duval-Leroy Brut Champagne NV
- Pig Tail Corn Dog
- House-made pickles, mustards, pomme frites
- Rudi Pichler Federspiel Gruner Veltliner, Wachau 2007
- Mediterranean Branzini
- House-made Chorizo, fava beans, broccoli rabe, brown butter, preserved lemon
- JJ Prum Kabinett Riesling, Wehlener Sonnenhur, Mosel 2009
- “Filet” of Spinalis
- Smoked Royal trumpet mushrooms, porcini dust, bone marrow crisp, parsnip puree, parsley oil
- Hall Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2009
- Sea Scallop
- New Bedford Scallops, butter-poached Maine lobster, popcorn grits, veal bacon, sunchoke, baby swiss chard
- Thierry et Pascale Matrot, Meursault 2009
- Roast Squab
- Granny Smith apple, grated fennel, baby Brussels sprouts, medjool date reduction
- Perrin et Fils, La Gille, Gigondas 2009
- Sweet Potato
- Beignet, blondie, sweet potato caramel, caramelized white chocolate ice cream, orange
- Alvear Pedro Ximenez, Montilla-Moriles, Solera 1927
- Valrhona Chocolate
- Milk, bittersweet, cocoa, and Oregon black truffle ice cream
- Warre’s Otima, 10 Year Old Tawny Port
- Lavender Cheesecake
- Ruby Red Grapefruit, Cardamom sorbet, finger lime
- Elderton Botrytis Semillon, Riverina 2010
Chef Jeremy Noffke
Sommelier Dusty Frierson