Culinary Tradition Meet Creative Carolina-Carrboro Chefs
by Lynne Brandon
Chapel Hill, NC - Local residents and visitors from across the U.S. came out en masse for the first ever Shrimp and Grits Throwdown hosted at the historic Carolina Inn.
The friendly crowd had forks ready when “Eye of the Tiger” started playing and the seven Chapel Hill and Carrboro chefs vying for the title rolled up sleeves and started cooking. Shrimp sizzled, wine was poured and all had a great time tasting a myriad of recipes of the well loved southern dish. Every chef had to use two ingredients: shrimp and grits. After that all bets were off. Tabasco sauce, flash fried leeks, cashews, prosciutto bacon, corn, and other inventive ingredients permeated the air and whet appetites for the eager crowd. Northerners and Southerners compared notes and savored the moment.
After much sampling, local food writers and critics went with the creative style of Top of the Hill executive chef Trey Cleveland who showed his culinary chops from New Orleans and the Carolinas. Carolina Inn’s Crossroads Restaurant executive chef Jimmy Reale was a close second. Fans went with “heat” and chose the spicy Shrimp and Grits recipe from Vimala Rajendran of Vimala's Curry Blossom Café as the "Fan Favorite."
The first ever event was a culinary success that benefited a non-profit relief organization, and gave food aficionado’s the chance to experience a new twist on an old favorite.
Continue to read the winning recipe:
Top of the Hill Wild Mushroom Grit Cake with Shrimp