Shelby's Social Diary
Other than die-hard Southerners, few among us have an appreciation for grits. But when a handful of the city's top toques delved into the mushy mess and came up with mouth-watering fare, opinions were changed as grits catapulted to the gourmet playing field.
Thank Young Texans Against Cancer for raising the lowly breakfast staple to higher status. The group rounded up more than 300 tasters for the third annual Kiss My Grits Gulf Coast Throwdown, held at 5226 Elm / Ralph Smith Photography.
In addition to sampling the competitive offerings and voting on their favorite, partygoers savored Southern-inspired cocktails from celebrity bartenders including Mike Raymond of Reserve 101 Whiskey Bar, Matthew Bradshaw of El Gran Malo and Mongoose vs. Cobra.
His presentation of "Country Grits" with Gulf Coast shrimp and slow-roasted corn laced with a tasso beurre blanc was a sure winner.
The team of judges awarded their top honor to Kevin Naderi of Roost. Danny Trace of Brennan's came in second and David Cordúa of Américas earned third place honors. Tasting till they couldn't taste any more were judges Marcy de Luna, Cleverley Stone, Syd Kearney and Dave Morales.
The crowd, however, voted Max's Wine Dive's country grits and shrimp, prepared by chef Michael Pellegrino, as the People's Choice winner. His presentation of "Country Grits" with Gulf Coast shrimp and slow-roasted corn laced with a tasso beurre blanc was a sure winner.
Applause, applause for chairs Katy Mayell, Meredith Staggers and Stephanie Weaver who helped bring in $67,000 to support five cancer-related non-profits.
Feeding their faces with all manner of grits dishes were Ashley and Mark LeMarie, Emily Boggs, William Walker, Vince Strake, Hannah Mount, Claire Hedrick, Joel Douthit, Tessa Dorrell, Sophie Hays and Tiffany Torregrossa.