Forks & Corks
Forks & Corks is a fundraiser that celebrates the culinary arts. Attendees sample the best of some of the area's favorite restaurants. This year's event has expanded to include more emphasis on wine, as well as a showcase of the area's best ceramic artists, curated by Robert Long. Music provided by the winners of the 2018 CDAF Songwriter competition. The event sells out each year, so don't wait!
Tickets for 2018 may be purchased by clicking on the poster to the left.
Funds raised support art education programs in Oktibbeha County, including after-school programs, summer scholarships, micro-grants to teachers, and other art-related projects. In 2017, this event raised almost $9,000 for art and art education programs in Oktibbeha County.
Interested in sponsoring this event? Contact the Executive Director at email@example.com.
Mississippi Magazine's Patty Roper, a native Jacksonian, received her degree from the University of Mississippi. She taught in the Jackson Public Schools for nine years. She is a member of First Presbyterian Church where she has served on the decorations committee, the flower committee, the missions conference, and the receptions committee. She has served on other committees with First Presbyterian Day School, Jackson Preparatory School, Art for Heart, the Gallery Guild of the Mississippi Museum of Art, the Symphony League, several garden clubs, Bible studies, and various volunteer organizations. Patty entertains family and friends with a simple approach to beauty and elegance and prepares classic Southern recipes. She shares her innovative decorating and entertaining ideas in the Easy Does It Entertaining, Easy Does It Projects, Patty’s Picks, and Patty Loves departments of Mississippi Magazine. She is the author of 5 entertaining and recipe books: Easy Hospitality, Easy Does It Entertaining, At the Table with Patty Roper, Easy Parties and Wedding Celebrations and Easy Does It Winners and Favorites. She is currently the editorial director for Mississippi Magazine and lives in Flowood, Mississippi, with her husband Richard and has one adult daughter Beth.
James "Jim" Taylor
Dr. Jim Taylor is an USM alumni graduating in 1991 with a B. S. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Banking and Finance before earning an MBA from the University of South Florida in 1994 with a focus on information decision systems and finally earning his PhD in Nutrition and Food Systems from USM in 2005. He has extensive food and beverage experience working with as an executive chef, general manager and food and beverage director with companies such as Brinker International, Copeland's of New Orleans and with Purple Parrot Café/Crescent City Grill in Mississippi. Currently he is working in the department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management at Ole Miss, employed since 2006, and currently the director of the Online MS in Hospitality Management for the department and the Director of Outreach Initiatives for the School of Applied Sciences.
Gary Hawkins is currently Chef and co-owner of Crazy Cat in Jackson, MS. Chef Hawkins graduated from the Memphis Culinary Academy in 1994 and began honing his craft over the next thirteen years in his adopted hometown at McEwan’s on Monroe, Marena’s, Paulettte’s and winning best new restaurant for 2005 at Lolo’s Table. Chef Hawkins moved to Jackson and became Executive Chef at Fairview Inn, AAA Four Diamond property in 2006. Launching 1908 Provisions & The Library Lounge. Chef Hawkins won the Mississippi Seafood Cook Off in 2014 and competed nationally in New Orleans. Chef Hawkins also help launch Parlor Market in its opening with Craig Noone.
A native of Mississippi, Grady Griffin has been involved in the hospitality industry since 1987. From bussing tables on the weekends during high school in Jackson to working every position in restaurant operations throughout college, he returned to Jackson in 1995 to become Business Manager for George Street Grocery, a landmark restaurant in the downtown area. In 2002, he became a certified sommelier by the World Court of Master Sommeliers, the only internationally recognized wine certification designation. Two years later he was chosen to the Opening Team of the Golden Moon Hotel & Casino, Silverstar’s sister property, as Food & Beverage Manager. Mr. Griffin returned to Jackson in 2004 to open Jackson’s first upscale bistro and martini bar, Elixir. During these years he served as Chairman of the Education Foundation of the MRA, then Secretary/ Treasurer of the renamed MS Hospitality & Restaurant Association. In 2015, Griffin joined US Foods, the nation’s second largest food distributor, as Restaurant Operations Consultant. He currently serves as New Business Manager, focusing on business development, and serves on the sales leadership team which covers Mississippi and Louisiana. Mr. Griffin and his family reside in Madison County.
Derek Emerson is executive chef and owner of Walker’s Drive-In in Jackson, Mississippi. Derek grew up in Beverly Hills, Calif., but spent summers with his grandparents in Meridian, MS. Fresh out of a small culinary school in Memphis, Derek worked for BRAVO! in Jackson, MS. He moved to Atlanta to hone his skills working for Nava, Buckhead Bread Company, and the Blueridge Grill. While in Atlanta, he accepted an executive sous chef position with Dick & Harry’s. During his time there, Dick & Harry’s was voted best new restaurant in the Atlanta Magazine.
After four years, Derek moved back to Mississippi to become executive chef for a new restaurant, Schimmel’s, where he met his wife and partner, Jennifer Emerson. When the opportunity arose for them to buy the nostalgic 1950’s diner in the heart of the Fondren district in Jackson, they snapped it up. Under his keen eye, Walker’s Drive-in has become a regional favorite written up locally and in national publications such as Southern Living. Derek has also been a James Beard Award semi-finalist as Best Chef in the South. (2008, 2009, 2010) In 2010, Derek and Jennifer opened their second restaurant, Local 463, in Madison, MS. Local 463 is a restaurant focusing on working with local suppliers and farmers to get the best possible products available. Derek can be found most nights during the week, doing what he loves best, cooking in one of his kitchens.