Local chefs to make culinary magic with donated items

By on November 27, 2017

 Coffee-coated canned tuna cakes with maple syrup demi-glace? Instant potato casserole studded with peanut butter Pop-Tarts? If the average person tried to make culinary magic from the Beach Food Pantry’s list of most-donated items, chances are the results might not be so tasty.

But what about when you ask the Outer Banks’ best chefs to make culinary magic?

“Every year, that’s what we can’t wait to find out,” says Beach Food Pantry Executive Director Theresa Armendarez. “We want to see how creative our local chefs can be making delicious meals out of everyday food items. And, of course, we want to raise money and awareness to fight food insecurity on the Outer Banks.”


The event, otherwise known as the Beach Food Pantry Holiday Chefs Challenge, will be held from 6 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8, at Duck Woods Country Club.

Here’s how it works:

Ten Outer Banks chefs from participating restaurants will have 60 minutes to cook a delectable dish using anything that is on a list of items that the Beach Food Pantry would normally have in stock. One ingredient must be a canned good, such as canned vegetables, tuna, beans, and the like.

Attendees sample each creation and vote on the tastiest, most creative dish. And while making top-notch cuisine from non-perishable goods may sound tricky, you’d be surprised what a good chef can do with canned goods, ground beef, and a rack of spices.

Then again, maybe you wouldn’t. After all, we’re talking about top chefs from some of the Outer Banks’ best restaurants, and all are as competitive as they are skilled.


Last year’s Top Winner went to Brian Hardison of Jolly Roger Restaurant, who prepared Blackberry BBQ Ribs with Purple Mashed Potatoes and Collards. Second Place went to Grant Tate of Simply Southern Kitchen for his Cherry Brown Ale Braised Beef over Country Carrot Infused Rice with Buttered Sweet Peas and Blistered Hominy.

Third Place went to Evan Hayes of Blue Water Grill & Raw Bar for his Smoked Pork Tenderloin on top of Black Pepper Cornbread with Warm Pear Compote.

“It’s easy to make a filet mignon melt in your mouth,” said Richard Bruce, Beach Food Pantry board president and co-owner of Pigman’s Bar-B-Que.


“But this will be a real test of skills, and a lot of fun to see what folks come up with using every day food items that are available at the Beach Food Pantry.”

Tickets are $60 and include two drinks (select beer, wine and soft drinks), a tasting of an appetizer, dessert, or entrée that each chef is preparing specially for the event, plus one “Culinary Coin” to vote for your favorite creation.

In addition, don’t be afraid to bring money to participate in the silent auction and 50/50 drawing.

Tickets are available online at the Beach Food Pantry or at the Pantry, 4007 North Croatan Highway in Kitty Hawk.

Proceeds from the event will assist the Beach Food Pantry in providing free groceries to Dare County residents experiencing a temporary crisis or emergency.

Here’s a list of this year’s participating Outer Banks chefs and restaurants:

  • Brian Hardison/Jolly Roger (Reigning Prince of Canned Goods)
  • Evan Hayes/Blue Water Grill & Raw Bar
  • Nathan Robinson/Blue Moon Beach Grill
  • Jeremy Worthy/Sandtrap Tavern
  • Grant Tate/Simply Southern Kitchen
  • Joey Russo/Russo’s Bistro & Bar
  • Necla Radar/Outer Bean Juice & Java
  • Paul Penrose/Duck Woods Country Club
  • Daniel Lewis/Coastal Provisions Oyster Bar & Wine Bar Café
  • Renee Barritt/Sugar Creek Restaurant

Desserts will be provided by Confections by Loralei; OBX Frozen Yogurt and Sweater Box Confections.

The following Outer Banks businesses are proud sponsors of the Beach Food Pantry’s Fourth Annual Holiday Chefs Challenge: Surf Pediatrics and Medicine, Outer Banks Visitor’s Bureau, Three Dog Ink Media, ECRI Radio Stations – Shark 102.5 and Dixie 105.7, Dowdy & Osborne, Outer Banks Blue Vacation Rentals, TowneBank, Brew Thru, Duck’s General Store, Seaside Physical Therapy, Bayliss Boatworks, Sooey’s BBQ & Rib Shack, Mollie A. Fearing & Associates, Inc., Metro Rental and Southern Insurance Agency, Inc.

For more information, visit Beach Food Pantry, follow the Pantry on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram at “BeachFoodPantry” or sign up for a regular e-newsletter via the link on the Pantry’s website.

The Beach Food Pantry is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax-exempt organization under the IRS code.

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