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Thanksgiving With a Twist: How 3 young chefs are flipping the bird

Forget turkey and dressing; this Nov. 12 food event promises a three-course dining experience created by three local chefs, all under age 26.

Left to right: Tahkirr Spencer, Robert Knight, and Anthony Denning (Photo: No Recipe CLT, via Instagram)


If you are a foodie or simply enjoy an insanely delicious meal prepared at the hands of chefs, I know an event happening in Charlotte on November 12 that you might just want to put on your calendar.

No Recipe CLT is hosting “Let Emm Eat Volume: Thanksgiving with a Twist” at 7th Restaurant (321 N. Caldwell St.). For $40, No Recipe CLT is flipping the bird and putting their own spin on traditional Thanksgiving dishes.

I first experienced Chef Anthony Denning and No Recipe CLT during a cooking competition where he and his team won. Watching them create dishes from secret ingredients, I remember thinking, “those young men can cook.” I also was thoroughly impressed with their professionalism, calm demeanor and obvious training. The audience chose No Recipe CLT over the competitor based on taste, creativity and presentation, if that tells you anything

So when I heard that No Recipe CLT was headlining a pop-up dinner, the first thing I did was purchase a ticket, and then I had to find out how and why they were twisting Thanksgiving.

I reached Chef Anthony by phone and he answered my questions while in the kitchen. I asked him to explain the event and he said, “We wanted to take some traditional Thanksgiving dishes and the ones that have a bad reputation (like cranberry sauce) and elevate them. We’re using different proteins, adding French techniques, things like that. It’s us doing things the way we want to do it.”

So, what’s on the menu?

First course: stuffing-covered jerk chicken meatball with a Granny Smith apple butter demi-glace.

Second course: pan-seared duck breast with a pickled strawberry sauce atop curried Brussel sprouts and pumpkin-spiced butternut, puree finished with dried stuffing dust.

Third course: deconstructed sweet potato pie with a white chocolate mouse and bourbon bread pudding.

My eyes got wider as he named the courses, and I could already taste the food in my mind. (Note to self; never call a chef when you are hungry.)

Cooking with no rules

The meal will be prepared by the three talented chefs who make up No Recipe CLT. Joining Chef Anthony will be Chef Tahkirr Spencer and Chef Robert Knight. Together for three years, each is professionally trained. All are under age 26.

Another one for the books 2-0 : @doitforthebites

A post shared by Chef Denning Chef Rob Chef Tk (@norecipeclt) on

The chefs formed a bond around the concept that cooking with no rules was the way they wanted to cook. They have been doing it their way since.

You won’t find these chefs in residence at any one restaurant. They always cook as a team and primarily cater events, offer private chef services and showcase their culinary talents in pop-up dinners and cooking competitions. They are also grinding toward their dream of owning a food truck, with they hope to debut in March 2018.

You can follow these chefs on Instagram (@norecipeclt), but you don’t have to wait until March to taste what they are all about. If you are looking to flip the bird this Thanksgiving, this may the food event for you.

Tickets may be purchased online.

Desiree Rew is a freelance food and travel writer. She is a member of the Association of Food Journalists. Follow her blog desireeeatsandtravels.com.

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