Some chefs love nothing more than to whip up a fabulous dessert. Others have a knack for savory flavors. Tonight, at Palmetto Place’s Sweet & Savory chef’s competition, local toques will prepare both for a team of celebrity judges and non-celebrity tasters. Although last year’s dessert didn’t win, Ryan Whittaker, chef and owner of 116 State Street in West Columbia, has doubled down for 2014, entering both the sweet and savory categories. We talked with him about his dishes.
What will you be preparing for the competition?
I wanted to do one dish two ways, so the savory course will be bread pudding made with rye bread, pork belly, sage and seared duck breast. The dessert is dark chocolate and cherry bread pudding with a touch of chili that I’ll top with vanilla and sea salt ice cream.
What do you think gives your dishes the edge?
It’s always a gamble! I decided to use ingredients the people are familiar with, but in unexpected ways. It’s all about finding that balance.
Have you been checking out the competition?
Definitely! This competition is a great way to see what flavors people are leaning toward, what’s trending and what they don’t like. The feedback is great because it’s instantaneous.
Palmetto Place Children’s Shelter provides a safe and nurturing environment for abused and neglected children, offering them a broad range of services concentrating on personal healing and development. The shelter is open 24 hours each day of the year with medical and mental health care, crisis adjustment/transitional counseling, after school tutoring and recreational and social activities in addition to food, clothing and shelterTickets to the Sweet & Savory Chef’s Competition are $35 per person/$60 per couple. The event will be held Thursday at EdVenture Children’s Museum, 211 Gervais Street, Columbia from 6-9 p.m.. Details: palmettoplaceshelter.org