When I first heard of the Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival five years ago I was definitely skeptical. A food (& drink!) festival revolving around the tomato? I guess one would assume, as I did that you’d be surrounded in a sea of BLT sliders and bloody marys. but thankfully I’ve been proven wrong.
Area chefs consistently come together and put out some creative dishes with the tomatoes from Georgia farms being the star of the dish in many different ways. The event is also a fundraiser for one of my favorite organizations, Georgia Organics and raised over $25,000 for them last year alone.
Ticket prices increase from $55 to $70 on July 1st and are a great deal considering the amount of talent on this year’s roster. Tickets and additional information can be purchased on the festival website. I’ve included the full press release below. You’ll find photos of last year’s event on this page taken by yours truly, and be sure to check out past coverage from previous events here.
Join Chef Ford Fry as he hosts the fifth annual JCT. Kitchen Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival on Sunday, July 21 from 1-5 p.m. This year, more than 40 of the South’s top chefs along with 15 skilled mixologists and over 30 farmers are teaming up to create the tastiest tomato concoctions and to help raise money for Georgia Organics.
“Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival is absolutely one of my favorite events,” says Ford Fry, owner/chef of JCT. Kitchen & Bar, No. 246 and The Optimist. “I love seeing the creativity of all the participants and I’m looking forward to seeing what this year’s crop of talent comes up with,” he adds.
Tickets are now on sale for $55 per person and $50 for Georgia Organics members and can be purchased online through Xorbia. Starting Monday, July 1, all ticket prices will increase to $70 per person. A total of 1,400 tickets are available for attendees. Last year’s festival brought in close to $26,000 for Georgia Organics.
“Here’s a recipe for success, folks. Mix together the state’s best chefs, best farmers, best tomatoes, some fun music and great people, and you get the best food experience of the year: the JCT. Kitchen Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival,” says Georgia Organics Executive Director Alice Rolls. “This event isn’t just the best party of the summer, though. It demonstrates the allure of delicious, farm-fresh food, and that’s something to celebrate!”
The festival will once again be held at JCT. Kitchen & Bar and spread out over the pedestrian bridge that connects the two sides of Westside Provisions District.
The Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival is also an excellent opportunity for chefs and attendees alike to meet some new producers and develop longstanding relationships in order to further support the local food movement. The connection that is built between the participating farmers and restaurant professionals during this event is one that often leads to long term sourcing of locally grown produce as well as continued education for the culinary community and its diners.
“It is fitting that there is an event entirely dedicated to the preparation of tomatoes, since it is a crop that is so important not only to farmers, but chefs as well,” says Seth Hancock of Dillwood Farms, a longtime farmer participant in the JCT. Kitchen Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival who is known for providing over 20 varieties of heirloom, cherry, Sungold and slicing tomatoes and other Certified Organic vegetables in the region. “The collaboration of farmers and chefs brings attention to local farms and farm to table restaurants, informing customers of the importance of sourcing locally grown food. Customers are able to taste the difference a locally grown tomato makes in wide variety of dishes and drink,” he adds.
Each featured chef is paired with a local farmer like Hancock to create a crowd-pleasing tomato dish for attendees to sample, while the featured mixologists listed below craft their own signature cocktails. Participating chefs include:
Jay Swift of 4th & Swift
David Larkworthy of 5 Seasons Brewing Company
Brett Ashcraft of Abattoir
Chad Clevenger of Alma Cocina
Andy Carson and Carla Tomasko of Bacchanalia
Lance Gummere of Bantam + Biddy
Bruce Logue of BoccaLupo
Suzanne Vizethann of Buttermilk Kitchen
Carvel Grant Gould of Canoe
Asha Gomez of Cardamom Hill
Delia Champion of Delia’s Chicken Sausage Stand
Ryan Smith of Empire State South
Whitney Otawka of Farm 255
Dan Latham and Cameron Thompson of Farm Burger
Todd Immel of Floataway Café
Kevin Gillespie of Gunshow
E.J. Hodgkinson of JCT. Kitchen & Bar
Taria Camerino of JCT. Kitchen & Bar, King + Duke, No. 246 and The Optimist
Joe Schafer of King + Duke
Nick Carse of King of Pops
Brent Banda of La Tavola Trattoria
Eric Ottensmeyer of Leon’s Full Service
Chris Hall of Local Three
Jeremiah Bacon of The Macintosh (in Charleston, SC)
Steven Satterfield of Miller Union
Drew Belline of No. 246
Andrew Smith and Scotley Innis of Ormsby’s
Adam Evans of The Optimist and Oyster Bar at The Optimist
Robert Gerstenecker of Park 75
Nick Rutherford and Molly Gunn of The Porter
Kevin Rathbun of Rathbun’s, Kevin Rathbun Steak, Krog Bar and KR SteakBar
Ron Eyester of Rosebud and The Family Dog
Scott Serpas of Serpas True Food
Drew Van Leuvan of Seven Lamps
Jenny Levison and Jessica Hanners of Souper Jenny
Cooper Miller of Southbound
Robert Elliot of Sprig *“2012 Best Booth”
Eddie Hernandez of Taqueria del Sol
Tyler Williams of Woodfire Grill
Participating mixologists include:
Kevin Bragg of 4th& Swift
Ryan McLaughlin and Heather Miller of Abattoir
Kellie Thorn of Empire State South
Jerry Slater and Callie Schlosser of H. Harper Station
Eduardo Guzman of JCT. Kitchen & Bar and The Optimist
Miles Macquarrie of Leon’s Full Service *“2012 People’s Choice for Best Tasting Cocktail”
Kevin Ryan of Local Three
Stuart White of Miller Union
Paul Calvert of Paper Plane and Victory Sandwich Bar *“2012 Best Tasting Cocktail”
Nate Shuman of Proof and Provision
Andy Minchow of Ration & Dram
Jeff Jackson of Rosebud
Arianne Fielder of Seven Lamps
Navarro Carr of Sound Table
Brian Stanger of Woodfire Grill
High-profile judges including Garden & Gun Deputy Editor Dave Mezz, Food & Wine Associate Food Editor Daniel Gritzer, Esquire restaurant features writer John Mariani and James Beard Award-winning authors Matt and Ted Lee, are choosing the best dish, best beverage and best table decorations during the event. Food writer, stylist and photographer Angie Mosier and registered dietician, author and food journalist Carolyn O’Neil are returning as co-masters of ceremonies, and guests can enjoy live performances from The Spazmatics and local chef band Five Bone Rack. Special guest David Miller, the actor who played Mason Dixon in the original “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” movie, is returning this year to present the awards to winners. Atlanta Foods International, Crop Organic Vodka, Farmer’s Botanical Small Batch Organic Gin, Georgia Crown Distributing Co., The Icebox, Melwood Springs, Ole Smoky Moonshine, paQui Tequila, Scoutmob, Springer Mountain Farms, TriMark South, Wild Heaven Craft Beers and Westside Provisions District are event sponsors. For more information, visit killertomatofest.com.
Georgia Organics is a member supported nonprofit connecting organic food from Georgia farms to Georgia families. The organization is increasing the number of organic farmers in rural and urban areas, increasing the number of children participating in farm to school programs, and increasing the number of Georgians eating organically grown, local food. These links improve public health, support local farmers and strengthen Georgia’s environment. For more information on Georgia Organics, visit georgiaorganics.org or call 678-702-0400. Georgia Organics office is located at 200-A Ottley Drive in Atlanta.