October 31, 2016 -- Conceived by former LDC Board member and supporter Dean McCord, Expressions has, for the last six years, provided an opportunity for collaboration between some of the best chefs in the country and NC artists. This year's event honored the work of Master Potter Ben Owen III inspiring the work of chefs Steven Devereaux Greene and Jonathan Fisher of The Umstead Hotel and Spa; Mike Lata of FIG and The Ordinary, Charleston; and Curtis Duffy of Grace, Chicago.

This year, the creative conversation included such aspects as family and community, and that sharing in the preparation and enjoyment of a meal is a most effective means of nourishing a community. The chefs, in talking about what inspired their dishes, talked of being surrounded by creative people, and of taking inspiration from their colleagues in the kitchen as well as the family history and exceptional technique of Ben Owen III.

Chef Jonathan Fisher said his own history of learning in the kitchen allowed him to "find himself and lose himself at the same time," and that his dessert masterpiece was inspired by Mr. Owen's communal kiln openings. Chef Curtis Duffy alluded to his own search to discover a creative outlet as a young kid, and was fortunate to find a supportive mentor who inspired him to pursue his career as a chef. In mentioning his son, Henry during his discussion of what brought him to Expressions, Chef Mike Lata noted that as a parent, he was attracted to Lucy Daniels Center as an example of how to provide support and protection for children. Chef Steven Greene talked of the need for children to sometimes learn in a different environment, and as a result, felt compelled to support Lucy Daniels Center and its programs.

All the chefs and Mr. Owen seemed attracted to the idea that children often need support in many different ways, often demanding creativity and inspiration. Mr. Owen's kindness and hospitality during our field trip to Ben Owen Pottery clearly demonstrated his commitment and belief in nurturing the spirit, and in finding ways to creatively express oneself.

This year's Expressions VI is expected to raise around $100,000 to support the work of the Lucy Daniels Center towards helping children in the Triangle live emotionally healthy lives.