Shrimp & Grits and Seafood & Wine Festival Recap

This past Saturday, seven chefs from Chapel Hill and Carrboro competed at the Carolina Inn’s first ever shrimp and grits throwdown. Over 250 people bought tickets to attend, and a portion of the proceeds were donated to TABLE, a non-profit serving Chapel Hill-Carrboro children at risk for hunger. It was a great day!!

Courtesy of Carolina Inn

The celebrated chefs were asked to prepare their own unique twist on Shrimp and Grits and guests and judges enjoyed tasting samples from each and then voting for their favorite.

The seven competing chefs included Jeremy Blankenship, Chef of Tyler’s Restaurant & Tap Room; Trey Cleveland, Executive Chef of Top of the Hill; Adam Cobb, Executive Chef of Glasshalfull; Bret Jennings, Executive Chef and Owner of Elaine’s on Franklin; Vimala Rajendran, Executive Chef and Owner of Vimala’s Curryblossom Café; Jimmy Reale, Executive Chef of Carolina Crossroads Restaurant and Bar; and Adam Rose, Executive Chef of Il Palio.

Aaron Nelson, President of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber, served as Master of Ceremonies for the Throwdown, while the judging panel included Andrea Griffith Cash, Editor for Chapel Hill Magazine; Deborah Miller, Host of SideDish on 1360 WCHL; Laurie Paolicelli, Executive Director of the Chapel Hill-Orange County Visitors Bureau; Kevin Schwartz, Director of The Daily Tar Heel; and Andrea Weigl, Food Writer for The News & Observer.

Bragging rights to the Shrimp and Grits Throwdown go to:
Vimala Rajendran, Executive Chef and Owner of Vimala’s Curryblossom Café

1. Trey Cleveland, Executive Chef of Top of the Hill

2. Jimmy Reale, Executive Chef of Carolina Crossroads Restaurant and Bar

3. Jeremy Blankenship, Chef of Tyler’s Restaurant & Tap Room

Fan Favorite: Vimala Rajendran, Executive Chef and Owner of Vimala’s Curryblossom Café (I must admit, this was my personal favorite and the dish I voted for. I will definitely be making Vimala’s recipe at home)

For all shrimp and grits recipes, go here.

Sunday brought me to the Seafood and Wine Festival at Sip…..a Wine Store in Cary. On hand with fresh raw oysters, clams and ceviche and tartare were Dock to Door and one of their suppliers Shooting Point Oyster while wine was sponsored by The Clever Vine, Sour Grapes and Centerba. Prodigal Farm provided a Goat cheese tasting.

“Dock to Door is a fresh seafood distribution service based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  We are driven by our passion for sourcing the finest seafood from the shores of North Carolina and supporting the local economy by connecting our friends and neighbors with seafood straight from the boats of North Carolina fishermen.”

Read what the Independent Weekly has to say here.

As an added bonus, Dock to Door is offering a 20% discount on online purchases made between now and March 3rd. Just use the code “SIP” at checkout (Note: February 28 orders are complete). At this time, Dock to Door offers pick up locations in Durham on Tuesdays from 5-7 pm at Fullsteam, and in Chapel Hill on Fridays from 5-7 at 3 CUPS. Based on demand, Sip…a Wine Store, in Cary will resume as a pick-up location.

You can sign up for their newsletter here to be updated about new offerings

One of the delicious items Dock to Door sampled yesterday was this fabulous Tuna Tartare.

Carolina Blackfin Tokyo Tuna Tartare.

(As seen on Foodnetwork)


3/4 pound #1 grade Ahi, cleaned and diced finely

10 scallions, white and light green parts, finely minced

1 cup peeled, finely diced European or Japanese cucumber

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon finely grated ginger

1 clove very fresh garlic, minced

3 tablespoons Ginger Oil (see Note)

1 package toasted nori

1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds


Keeping the tuna very cold, toss gently with the scallion, cucumber and a bit of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. In another bowl whisk the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger, garlic and Ginger Oil until well blended. Add to the fish mixture and toss to dress well.

Cut the nori into 1 1/2-inch rounds and mound the tartare mixture by the teaspoonful onto the nori rounds. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately. Alternatively it can be served on an ice cold plate lined with lettuce leaves and garnished with marinated seaweed and sesame seeds, as an appetizer.

Note: To make Ginger Oil, combine lots of ginger scraps and canola oil in a small saucepan. Heat oil slightly, about 3 to 5 minutes over medium heat, then remove from the heat. Let steep for a couple of hours or up to a day, and strain.


3 thoughts on “Shrimp & Grits and Seafood & Wine Festival Recap

  1. One of the main problems with losing weight, and the main reason as
    to why people quit, is the fact that they have
    a pretty big appetite. So, I know you are going to ask in desperation, is
    there any diet pill that works fast and yet doesn’t need any
    prescription to buy it. I appeared into Adiphene to find the
    reality about its fats- and calorie-burning results.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s