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A September Sunday under the stars: Harvest Moon Festival presented by Reinhart Foodservice

Harvest Moon-logo

The idea of a food-and-wine gala under the September stars – in order to fundraise for Ozarks children’s charities — came to longtime culinary professional Phil Daniels of Springfield and a select committee a few years ago. And, for Daniels, it was right up his kitchen, er, alley.

After all, savory bites by world-trained chefs and specialty cocktails on a picturesque setting of white-clothed tables, white chairs and white linens seemed the perfect way to aid charities of the PGA Tour’s Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper.

Now the Harvest Moon Festival presented by Reinhart Foodservice is celebrating its fifth annual event on Sunday, Sept. 23 on the driving range of Highland Springs Country Club. It all starts at 5 p.m., and Daniels has lined up chefs representing 12 restaurants, including a food truck.

Tickets for the event are $500 a couple, or $1,850 for a sponsorship table of eight. The night includes silent and live auctions, and can be viewed through a smartphone at BIDPAL.NET/PCCCHARVESTMOON. All guests will receive a cheese & wine board, too, to take home. To sponsor your table, call 417-887-3400.


The menu is derived from concepts that guests cannot normally access in the Springfield market. Even better, all items are “small plate” concepts so guests can sample new dishes without feeling overly full. Beverage offerings include great wines, local brews and specialty drinks hand-crafted Jennifer Pierson of Big Whiskey’s Bar & Grill. In essence, there is something for everyone.

“Oddly enough, culinary people like doing it,” said Daniels, who worked 25 years for nationally recognized food service, marketing and culinary firms and who now has a farm that provides produce to Farmer’s Gastro Pub. “Many restaurants are closed on Sundays, and this allows the chef to do something for charity. You’d be surprised how many of them say, ‘This is the most fun I have all year.’ And these are people who work 15 hours a day.”

Participating are Daniels of Chateau Celine, Mike Jalili of Flame/TouchBlack Sheep, Mike Halbert of Highland Springs Country Club, Jerry DeMoro of Salvatore, Vito Palmietto of Vito’s Kitchen, Travis Meeks of The Order, Reinhart Foodservice Culinary Team, Elie Ghanem of That Lebanese Place, Andy Hampshire of Farmer’s Gastro Pub, Stephanie Holmes of Big Cedar Lodge/Top of the Rock and Clint Gray of The Finley, a new restaurant opening soon in Ozark.

The elegance of the Harvest Moon Festival cannot be topped, if you ask those who attend some of the Ozarks’ other elite food-and-wine events.

“We’re proud to do anything for the community, but the biggest thing is the fact is it benefits local children’s charities. This is a little part of that pie,” Beth Yarbrough said. “We don’t attend any other fundraisers that are like this.”

Dwayne Holden, owner of Custom Metalcraft, echoed those comments. He and Yarbrough also are key members of the Harvest Moon committee.

“It’s done under the stars. It’s totally different than some place confined, in an auditorium,” Holden said.

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2018 Event Menu

The Small Plates

Phil Daniels – Chateau Celine

  • Pan Seared Diver Scallop with Roasted Red Pepper Purée and Basil Pesto Aioli
  • Glazed Doughnut Bread Pudding with Woodford Bourbon Maple Syrup

Lou Rice – Reinhart Foodservice

  • Coffee Stout Beef Short Ribs
  • Butternut Squash Bisque Shooters with Quinoa, Maple & Chevre
  • Pumpkin Profiteroles

Jerry DeMoro – Salvatore’s

  • House-made Spaghetti with Mizithra Cheese & Brown Butter Sauce
  • Pepperoni Chicken with White Wine Sauce over Casarecce Paste
  • Tiramisu Cups

Vito Palmietto – Vito’s Kitchen

  • Arugula, Fennel & Goat Cheese Salad with Fig Preserve Vinaigrette
  • Eighteen Hour Sausage with Double Corn Polenta
  • Torrone – Italian Nut & Honey Nougat Confection

Travis Meeks – The Order

  • Kampache Crudo with Lobster Cream, Trout Roe, Dual Tobiako Caviar, Red Onion, Ginger & Lime
  • Pork Two Ways: Crispy Pork Trotters with Sweet Potato Risotto & Sherry Soaked Raisins and Whey Braised Pork Belly with Sticky Pork Jus
  • Flourless Chocolate and Candied Bacon Torte

Stephanie Holmes – Big Cedar Lodge/Top of the Rock

  • Carnitas Pork Tacos with Cilantro & Avocado Salsa
  • Pan Seared Lamb with Mint Vinegar & Garlic Grits
  • Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake with Whipped Cream

Andy Hampshire – Farmer’s Gastro Pub

  • Blackened Shrimp with Caramelized Carrot Purée and Tomato & Bacon Gravy
  • Fried Chicken with Salsa Verde and Charred Corn Gremolata
  • Cold Brew Irish Coffee with Nutmeg & Cinnamon Whip

Clint Gray – The Finley

  • Cast Iron Skillet Duck Canape with Watermelon Ginger Jam
  • Charred Smoked Maple Glazed Pork Belly with Sweet Potato & Roasted Corn Succotash
  • Single Barrel Jack Daniel’s Whisky Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Float with Caramel Crème & Dark Chocolate Shavings

Elie Ghanem – That Lebanese Place

  • Chicken Shawarma Pita with Tahini Yogurt Sauce
  • Fattoush Salad with Zesty Lebanese Vinaigrette
  • Kanefe Uthmaliya Pastry Soaked in a Rose Water Syrup

Mike Halbert – Highland Springs Country Club

  • Fried Short Rib Fritters with Sharp Cheddar Fondue & Pickled Peppers
  • Smoked Salmon Rillette with Caper Berry Salad & Grissini
  • Whipped Cheesecake with Balsamic Berries & Toasted Graham Cracker Crumbs

Robert Stricklin – The Keeter Center

  • Smoked Pecan Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Chipotle BBQ Sauce and Jalapeno Cheese Grits
  • Maple Brined Chicken with Sage Sausage, Wilted Arugula & Blue Cheese Foam
  • Miniature Savarin with Orange Chardonnay Syrup, Tropical Fruit Salsa & Chantilly Cream

Bill Jalili – Black Sheep Burgers & Shakes

  • The Black Sheep “Food Truck” will be on-site featuring hand-made Gourmet Burgers with their unique array of condiments & sides

The Specialty Drinks

Jennifer Pierson – Big Whiskey’s American Restaurant & Bar

  • Four Roses Limeade – a seductive blend of Kentucky Bourbon, lime juice, Honey, Lavender & Ginger Beer
  • Harvest Moon Lavender Lemonade – a fusion of Lavender Syrup & Lemonade with a hint of Angostura Bitters for a fresh clean finish