Snackbar announces dinner series with special guest Sparky Reardon
Published 4:00 pm Saturday, March 25, 2023
Snackbar, an Oxford-only restaurant under the direction of James Beard award-winning chef Vish Bhatt, this week released details of its 2023 Food of My People dinner series with special guest Sparky Reardon on April 4 and 5.
For the first dinner in this series, Reardon – a well-known name in the city and university will cook an 8-course family style dinner for whoever joins in on this established event.
Sparky’s dinner will be dinner number six, as the series has had five other special guests showcasing their impeccable meals and cultural upbringings such as Nigerian food and eastern Kentucky/Appalachian food.
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Reardon will prepare plates such as antipasti, scampi, pasta alla norma, and others.
With hopes to promote cuisine diversity in the city, Bhatt introduced this dinner series to show Oxonians that cultural food lives right in the heart of this small college town.
As an immigrant, Bhatt hopes to bring awareness that there are a multitude of cuisines and spices right at Oxford’s doorstep.
“I realized that we have a lot of talent in our town with people who like to cook and entertain,” Bhatt said. “We have all of these people that live and work in Oxford, however, we don’t often get to experience the diversity we have in town.”
“As a restaurant, we wanted to make sure that we are acknowledging our friends and neighbors,” he said. “This gives them a chance for them to show off what they can do, but also gives the people of our town something different besides just the stuff that I do.”
Why Reardon? Bhatt talked about the connection between Reardon and his Sicilian roots, further explaining the importance of the local figure and his desire to share his own culture through food.
“This is about highlighting culinary talent in Oxford and Sparky is a huge fan of cooking,” Bhatt said. “He’s constantly cooking and telling stories that he has through the food that he cooks.”
Reardon was raised by four generations of Silician family in the Mississippi Delta, and came to Oxford where he worked at Ole Miss for 36 years, including a stint as Dean of Students.
Acknowledging his descent, Reardon has even spent a considerable amount of time in Sicily, eating the foods and gaining appreciation for the country that brought his family together.
“We have a lot of immigrant stories such as this one that tends to be forgotten,” Bhatt said.
The dinner series will have events throughout the summer, as the next series has no date.
However, during the month of May, this series will rest and will continue on in June with Wayne Andrews as the special guest. In July, special guest Tim Hontzas, chef at Birmingham restaurant Johnny’s will host.
To attend this event, those interested should visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/food-of-my-people-with-sparky-reardon-tickets-590233172307.
The event starts at 6 p.m. at Snackbar’s location at 721 North Lamar Blvd.