Chef Zach Weston recaps the 2018 Little Dinner Series

January 02, 2019


                          Chef Zach Weston

The Dedman School of Hospitality’s Little Dinner Series enjoyed an excellent year in 2018, setting attendance records for the three semesters it comprised.

On March 6, our students kicked off the spring semester with a Little Dinner event celebrating the cuisine of our beloved coastline and displaying images by award-winning photojournalist Mark Wallheiser — Florida’s Forgotten Coast. We wouldn’t recognize the full significance of the event’s homage to the richness of our area until it was later ravaged by Hurricane Michael.

Our spring dinners continued with a spectrum of international cuisine viewed through both traditional and contemporary lenses — the Emerald Isles of Ireland, the Polynesian charm of Hawaii, the rustic elegance of Tuscany’s vineyards, and the otherworldly allure of the Amazonian Rainforest. The semester was rounded out with our guests digging into a whimsical Murder Mystery evening, and a culinary exploration of the atmospheric mystery of the Spring Equinox.

All three abbreviated summer season dining events sold out in just 24 hours — a new record for ticket sales! As we rode a wave of encouragement into the fall semester, it appeared we were in for a new variety of extraordinary themes from a diverse and enthusiastic group of hospitality students.

Our students did not disappoint. In fall 2018, we explored some of the funkiest themes we’ve seen in years — Land Before Time, Mean Streets, and The Greatest Show — each a playful-yet-tasteful spin on significant cultural events. The semester’s regionally based themes ranged from the lavishness of an Evening in Monaco to the backcountry refinement of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and finally to the West Coast wine culture of Napa Valley.

All in all, we served more than 1,700 guests in 2018. It is an honor to recognize the many local and extended community members who support us. Without you, the rich history of our 60-plus year tradition wouldn’t continue, nor would our students enjoy such a character-shaping academic experience in their final years at the Dedman School. Whether you attended for the first or the hundredth time during 2018, thank you for your support!

It is a privilege to serve you, and we can’t wait to see you at our Spring 2019 Little Dinner Series events! Tickets are now on sale at The themes will be posted by Jan. 25 and the final menus on Feb. 22.