Charles Starks President/CEO of the Music City Center, left, and Chef Max Knoepfel Executive Chef of the Music City Center

NASHVILLE, TN — The Music City Center strives to create an authentic dining experience for its visitors. Through its ongoing commitment to use regionally and locally sourced products and recipes, the convention center just received its recertification with Eat REAL. REAL stands for Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership and is a nationwide program that helps combat diet-related disease by recognizing foodservice operators committed to holistic nutrition and environmental stewardship. MCC was the first convention center to become Eat REAL Certified in 2014.

“We are proud to showcase fresh, locally sourced ingredients,” said Charles Starks, President/CEO of the Music City Center. “By utilizing these Tennessee products, we strive to create an exceptional dining experience reflecting our region.”

Highlights from the MCC’s recertification also include minimizing of the kitchen’s environmental impact by composting, recycling and utilizing the whole animal, and the abundance of made-in-house menu customization for vegan, vegetarian, and other diets.

“It gives me great pride and joy to be recertified,” said Chef Max Knoepfel, Executive Chef of the Music City Center. “We want only the best culinary experience for our guests and therefore select fresh, nutritional and local ingredients from farms in the area.”

Eat REAL Tennessee is supported by the State of Tennessee Department of Health’s Project Diabetes. 

“Eat REAL is pleased to partner with the TN Department of Health and committed food service operators like the Music City Center to contribute to reducing diet-related disease within the state while also highlighting local and regional products.” said Nikkole Turner, program manager for Eat REAL, “MCC has been a great example of what can be accomplished with dedicated leadership.”

The Music City Center, Nashville’s convention center features a 353,143 square foot exhibit hall, a 57,500 square foot Grand Ballroom, and an 18,000 square foot Davidson Ballroom. The building also includes an art collection featuring local and regional artists and a covered three-level parking garage with 1,800 spaces.

Established in 2011, Eat REAL is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization dedicated to fighting diet-related disease by realigning the food industry’s incentives with consumers’ health interests. The organization receives financial support through grants from the Tennessee Department of Health, the Park Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President’s Grant Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation. Eat REAL works towards its mission through the Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership (REAL) Certification, which assesses and certifies food and foodservice establishments based on their utilization of nutrition and sustainability best practices.  More information at