Greatness on Display in Bluffton

I get asked to judge cooking contests all the time.  Taste of Savannah, Ronald McDonald House, big ones, small ones and all kinds of in betweens.  Love doing it.  What foodie wouldn’t, right?

I had the honor of judging the Iron Chef Competition at the Historic Bluffton Seafood and Arts Festival this weekend.   What a treat that was.  Certainly something different than we get here on this side of the river.  The format was simple.  5 restaurants from the Low Country were introduced every 10 minutes.  They each had an hour to prepare 2 dishes.  Basically on the back half of the hour judges would be getting bites every ten minutes.  Made for a lot of fun.

One thing that jumped out at me though.  If you frequent the restaurant scene in this area then you know how many great restaurants there are in Bluffton and Hilton Head Island.  Too many to count really.  Much like we do here in Savannah, they have very talented chefs who have come here from different places around the country.  Many choose to live there instead of moving on to the next restaurant job in a bigger market.  There is a ton of culinary talent in this area, I say that all the time.  This was just the latest display.

The winners were:

**1st Place Chef Mike Oliver (Daniel’s Restaurant & Lounge, Hilton Head Island).  East meets Low Country  (Crisp Flounder on vegetable cake topped with bacon and butter sauce)

 

 

 

 

 

**2nd Place Chef Eric Roberts (Topside Waterfront Restaurant, Hilton Head Island).   Low Country Flounder and Grits with Blue Crab Gravy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

**3rd  Chef Richard Canestrari (Poor Richard’s Fun Food and Wine, Bluffton).  Crabby Britches   (Prime Filet topped with Fois Gras, Lump Crab Meat on ratatouille.)

 

 

 

 

I cannot lie.  Knowing about all the great food in the low country and actually putting it in your mouth are two different things.  On a road trip or just looking for something different for a day.  Give them a try.  You will most definitely Eat It and Like It.

See you on TV.

Jesse

Eat It and Like It launched in Savannah, Georgia with television personality Jesse Blanco as the host. His passion for food and travel has made Eat It and Like It a two-time EMMY nominated program about contemporary and traditional Southern food.

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