By Michelle Farnham
Oct. 6, 2021
SEASCAPE – While the coals were extinguished last year due to the pandemic, local grilling enthusiasts are back to cooking with fire for the seventh annual Eggs on the Beach EggFest Cooking Competition!
“Tasters can taste unlimited bites from our cook teams, many of which serve multiple recipes and sometimes pair their bite with a complementary cocktail.” – Susan Kiley
Hosted by Bay Breeze Patio, this beloved culinary event celebrates the Big Green Egg, a kamado-style ceramic charcoal barbecue cooker capable of cranking out anything you can do in a grill, oven, or smoker.
Bay Breeze owners Susan Kiley and Wayne Paul are planning a smaller, more intimate affair this year, scheduled for Oct. 16.
“We’re moving to the Seascape Towne Center where cook teams will have individual tents instead of being under one large tent,” Kiley said. “The open-air setting will allow for social distancing and masks are encouraged.”
She said their goal is 24 cook teams – a combination of non-profits, backyard grill teams, and local restaurants.
Ticket holders – also known as Tasters – make their rounds through tents to visit each team’s grilling station. Alongside an esteemed panel of judges, they vote for their favorites using their allotment of five tickets.
“Tasters can taste unlimited bites from our cook teams, many of which serve multiple recipes and sometimes pair their bite with a complementary cocktail or beverage,” Kiley said. “In addition, Knob Creek has traditionally held tasting seminars, and ENCO Electronics sponsors our Sports Zone, broadcasting the most popular college football games. In addition, we have a Kids Zone for those who bring their family.”
Teams are competing for those tickets, and thus bragging rights and prizes.
“For our backyard and restaurant teams, they are vying for a chance to win a Big Green Egg,” explained Kiley. “Our non-profit teams are competing for a cash donation toward their cause.
“All cook teams are competing for a Judge’s Trophy. Our honorary judges come out to ensure cook teams are not just competing for Taster votes, but also the prestige of being recognized by our judges, which are reputable local and regional culinary celebrities.”
In 2019, the Non-Profit Division saw South Walton Academy walk away with top honors and a $3,500 prize, while Sinfonia Youth Orchestra and Rotary Club of Destin also earned funding ($2,500 and $1,500, respectively). Judges’ Trophies went to Saltwater Restaurants, SETCO Services and Westonwood Ranch. People’s Choice winners included Saltwater Restaurants, Scenic Sotheby’s and Five Wild Blazing Medical Cooks.
Enjoy live music as you mingle and taste – rain or shine. The festivities are about more than good food and a good time, though, as proceeds will benefit local non-profits Food For Thought and Fisher House of the Emerald Coast. A drawing for prizes – including a Mini-Max Big Green Egg – also raises money for these groups.
“When we created Eggs on the Beach, we wanted to be sure to create a deliciously fun event that benefitted our local community,” Kiley said. “With the large military presence in our area, we really wanted to benefit those who serve our country. We connected with the team at the Fisher House for our inaugural event and it’s been a great partnership. We added Food for Thought in year two to serve kids in need in Walton and Okaloosa counties.”
Eggs on the Beach EggFest Cooking Competition will be held Saturday, Oct. 16 from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Seascape Towne Center, on the South side of Highway 98. Tickets and cook team registration will be available at www.eggsonthebeach.com.
Photos by Michelle Farnham