Euphoria is nothing short of incredible. I have had the privilege to participate in prior years during my time as a SC Chef Ambassador as well. From a Media Brunch at Hoppin to the Sunday Supper at Barn at Sitton Hill Farm and Home Grown at Restaurant 17 and now to Feast on the Field. The media brunch was fantastic, and lucky me, was able to see Jim Cantore, as he was in attendance. I’m not sure who was more excited. Him, when he found out I was there with waffles or me, for having the opportunity to meet him. When he visited Myrtle Beach on a PR trip, I was cooking on the line and could not make it to filming. Our Sunday Supper, in partnership with Certified SC, with my fellow Chef Ambassadors was an experience to remember. It was our first time working together to execute such an event. We all were working outside in a makeshift kitchen. Each of us prepared two dishes providing the guests with eight courses showcasing South Carolina farmers and products. I was so proud of both of my dishes I created for this event. I was able to showcase my simple way of cooking, in a full of flavor kind of way. The Home-Grown diner was in partnership for Certified SC and Discover SC. This event was my favorite of the Chef Ambassador events. I feel like we really brought down the house with our dishes. They were some of the best I ever tasted. Chef Kevin, Chef Jason and I just really enjoyed this event and serving the guests. I remember at the end of service, as I strolled the dining room speaking with guests, the overall feedback was just overwhelmingly positive. I felt like I was floating on cloud nine.
As a thank you for participating, Euphoria gifted me a talent badge, so I was able to attend Feast on the Field as a guest on Saturday. It was my first time attending a large food festival like Euphoria. The stadium was lined with vendors serving up wines, mocktails, fresh juices, desserts, local craft beer, and liquor. Local chefs were showcasing their talents, serving up some incredible dishes. The test kitchen was set up for demos, cooking and mixology events. I walked the event around many times, soaking in the experience and people watching. I tried a few too many dishes and of course found the fresh pressed juice booth. Noting that I had one of the best cookies of my life from Upcountry Provisions, a White Chocolate Oatmeal Cranberry. Vendors for beer, liquor and wine were lined up and pouring. I do not usually indulge in alcohol these days, however, back in my twenties I could have done some damage with all the choices.
This year I was also able to attend the Leader of the Pack dinner at Southern Culture with some of the Discover South Carolina team. Chef Jimmy Norris hosted 2023 James Beard Finalists, Chef Dayna Lee of Comal 864, and Chef Jessica Shillato, of the Spotted Salamander. They were accompanied by a performance by Kami Ocean and the Rhythm. Each chef prepared two courses that were paired with a wine. My favorite was the Green Tomato Soup by Chef Jimmy and the Candy Pie Bar dessert by Chef Jessica. I have had the privilege to dine at Southern Culture prior to tonight and I do recommend for anyone visiting or living in Greenville.
My experience working Feast of the Field was nothing short of amazing; I was originally invited to attend as one of the SC Chef Ambassadors at the Discover SC concession, however, bring slow to respond to the emails, all those spots were full. Lucky me, I was still able to attend as one the Chefs of the event and sling some Red Velvet Waffles. I really love Greenville and Greenville loves their Johnny D’s when they come to the Beach. I felt it was only right to bring some JDs to them.
I made it to the stadium about an hour prior to the gates opening. I unloaded the car, turned on those irons and set up my booth, I was ready. I had an amazing set up close to the entrance. The gates opened at 11:00 and by 11:05, they were lining up. The smell of those first Red Velvet Waffles, stopped people in their tracks on their way in. I quickly fell a little behind as I was working alone, however, the volunteers from Euphoria saved the day. Mr. Michael jumped on, after a few minutes we caught up and he was dropping waffles non-stop for 4 hours. Every 90 seconds, we were dishing out another round of samples. Guests happily waited for their taste, but we were moving, so I hope no more than 1-3 minutes. They were so excited for the fresh baked treat. Their feedback and smiles were energizing. So much excitement, to try the Red Velvet Waffles. This kept Michael and I motivated to keep it moving and serve everyone. The crowd at the booth all day was simply remarkable. People would stop to see what I was serving, I heard others saying they followed the smell, others would tell us that “they heard” it was a must stop. My favorite were the guests that took a bite and turned around to come back to express their emotions to me, they were so happy. I loved being able to chat with guests while preparing their samples. Hearing stories of how they love Johnny D’s or that they cannot wait to visit next time to the beach. They were asking me about the Red Velvet Waffle and its uniqueness, the menu, our benedicts, my family. They were taking pictures, videos, making tik toks, bringing their friends over. It was exhilarating for me. Guests were returning for a second or third slice, or even better, trying to sneak by unnoticed on their way out grabbing another for the road. By the end, I estimated that I served approximately 900 portions of red velvet waffles, possibly more. Each one served fresh out of the iron, dusted with powder sugar with a touch of cinnamon, our house made Cream Cheese Icing and a little pancake syrup. We were cooking waffles down to the last minute of the event. This time I spent at Feast of the Field is literally the exact reason I do what I do. At the end of it, I mustered up enough energy to clean it up and get home to Myrtle Beach. I had a little cutie pie sweetie waiting for me and I needed some sweet hugs.
All the people I was able to see...
I know i already said it but it is worth another mention. Knowing that Jim Cantore is the official weather person for Euphoria, I already knew he was in town. Saturday on Instagram, I made sure to call him out, so he knew I was here and to stop by to see me. To my delight, on Sunday, he was right there for his Red Velvet Waffle fix. He is such a nice guy, so kind, talks to everyone and is very approachable.
I was so excited to see fellow Chef Ambassador, Jessica Shillato prior to attending her dinner. As mentioned, Chef Jessica spot, The Spotted Salamander is in Columbia, and I hear is fantastic. Chef Jessica’s spot puts out some delightful looking desserts on social media. So naturally when I noticed she was preparing the dessert for the dinner, the excitement instantly built up that I was finally able to try one. It was everything I built up in my head and more.
I met Chef Dayna Lee from Comal 864 at Feast of the Field the next day, when she stopped by for a Red Velvet Waffle. She was delightful, happy, and radiates great energy. I hope to be able to dine in her restaurant soon.
Chef Brandon Velie is the co-owner and chef for Juniper Restaurant in Ridge Spring, South Carolina, truly a farm to table restaurant. He is also one of the original Chef Ambassadors. I believe he had a large role in the creation of the program as well. He is always in support of many events I have attended where the SC Chef Ambassadors are present. He is so cool, very knowledgeable and a talented chef.
Always a pleasure to see Chef Tania Harris, another SC Chef Ambassador. She is always full of light and energy. It’s always a vibe when I get to see her. Chef Tania is currently with Topsoil Restaurant and owns AzucarSkull pastries.
I was able to spend some time with some of the folks I met that work with the Chef Ambassador Program, Discover SC, and Certified SC. I was excited to see Hugh Weathers, the SC Commissioner of Agriculture, as he stopped by my booth for a waffle and to say hello.
Ms. Sally with Sallies’ Greatest Jams and Syrups was slinging her delicious syrups, so of course I stopped by to chit chat. I met Sally at a Sysco event way back when and she is just so delightful. I applaud her for her success and being such a special person. You can find her jams and syrups locally in grocery stores, local shops and of course Johnny D’s. Once you try one of her jams or syrups, you will be hard pressed to try anything else.
I was also able to catch up with a few old friends from local tv stations and Greenville local social media peeps like YeahThatMomGvl and HealthyishDani. YeahThatMomGvl posts everything Greenville; Food, Kids and Events. HealthyishDani, loves easy to prepare, healty-ish recipes, meal prep inspiration and posts her must-try restaurants around Greenville.
It was just a fantastic 48 hours. Greenville is amazing and I really enjoy my time there. Whether it be for work, a trip with my sweetie or a friend. I have been numerous times now and each time, I cannot wait to return. Now excuse me while I put Euphoria on my calendar for next year….