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Everybody Wins At Inaugural Shrimp and Grits Competition
9/10/2014 3:19:21 PM

Volunteer (right) from the Art Institute of Charleston discussing the ingredients in winning restaurant "Eli's Table" shrimp and grits recipe. Photo by Damion Smalls
By Damion Smalls

There were no real losers in the August 30 Chef’s Competition hosted by the non-profit organization Shrimp and Grits Charleston held at the Charleston Visitor Center.

Technically the critics chose Eli’s Table as the best tasting iteration of the local staple, but every sponsor, restaurant, and participant came out on top for having experienced a night filled with seafood, spirits, and sweat. Even the humidity couldn’t stop this ingenious collaboration of Charleston businesses from flourishing.

The proceeds of the event raised over one thousand dollars for fellow non-profit Charleston Animal Society. Fifteen chefs took part in the contest and each brought their A-games. Ticketholders received enough tokens at the gate to sample each restaurant’s attempt at victory.

The styles varied from Lowcountry Bistro’s tomato sauce base to Just Eat This! Catering’s mixing of white cheddar into their grits. Stars Restaurant Executive Chef Joe DiMaio added heavenly biscuit crumbles in his recipe and Prohibition’s Stephen Thompson passionately explained his enticing concoction to inquiring tasters. Other personal favorites include Amen St. and Henry’s On The Market.

Official winners were Muse for “Most Original Shrimp & Grits”, Vincent Chicco’s and Michael’s On The Alley in a tie for “People’s Choice”, and the “runner’s up” (Hall’s Chophouse 1st, Poogan’s Porch in 2nd, and Fleet Landing 3rd). The South Carolina Seafood Association provided the shrimp and Adluh Flour donated the grits for the chefs.

Interactive sponsors included the SC Aquarium, Trader Joe’s Grocery, and Edibles Magazine. The aquarium brought a youthful reptilian friend for guests to pet, Joe’s doled out double ginger snap cookies and Edibles baked luscious miniature red velvet cakes for the crowd.

Goose Island, Firefly, Frothy Beard, Striped Pig, and Sea Island SC Rum were just a few of the hard drink makers at the event who complimented the main attraction enthusiastically. There was never a dull moment for patrons as they grazed from table to table sampling each chef’s dish, imbibed in assorted cocktails & brews, and swayed to music performed by the Shem Creek Boogie Band & the Lumberjack Time-Travelers.

Just in time for Charleston Restaurant Week, make sure to take advantage of the deals at the participating eateries through September 14. Visit to view special CRW menus and promotions.

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Submitted By: Submitted: 9/2/2015

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