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Louie’s Kids’ signature culinary event, Big Chef Little Chef, was back, better, and tastier than ever this year. For this special cook-off presented by Piggly Wiggly and hosted at scenic Lowndes Grove Plantation, local chefs are matched with Louie’s Kids participants to prepare gourmet, health-conscious dishes. And the competition was sizzling at this sold-out event.

Big Chefs in attendance included Michelle Weaver of Charleston Grill, Mike Lata of Fig, Nico Romo of Fish, Craig Deihl of Cypress, Fred Neuville of the Fat Hen, Sean Brock of McCrady’s, and Marc Collins of Circa 1886. The delectable competition not only garnered much attention from Charlestonians, who snapped up the coveted tickets, but it also drew the likes of Emmy Award-nominated chef, author, and television host Marvin Woods as well as Biggest Loser Season 6 finalists Ed Brantley and wife Heba Salama.

The competitive spirit was palpable and the kids’ energy contagious as guests made their way between stations, noshing on butter bean cakes with avocado puree, and beef tenderloin with arugula salad. Carnivores bottlenecked around Chef Marc Collins’ and Quenterral Simmon’s table, munching on savory antelope burgers with Canadian bacon, parmesan cheese, and peach ketchup, while some other Little Chefs worked the crowd. “Craig! Vote for Craig Deihl...,” Keshaun Jones urged guests while Davida Johnson-Pugh hit the pavement, tempting groups of Charlestonians by delivering her dish to those mingling.

Guests savored every minute of the competition and retired out to the patio to watch a gorgeous summer sunset while the judges determined the winner. Chef Michelle Weaver and Auja Ravenel took third place with their refreshing yellow tomato gazpacho soup accompanied by a flaxseed cracker topped with avocado mousse, while Chef Nico Romo and JaeAngelo Seabrook claimed second place with their delicious chicken and brown rice moo shu wrap. First place went to Chef Mike Lata and Davida Johnson-Pugh, whose white shrimp succotash salad with ricotta salata and serrano chile vinaigrette had guests coming back for more.

Founded in 2001 by Louis Yuhasz in memory of his father, Louie’s Kids is dedicated to fighting childhood obesity through behavioral change, education, and physical activity. The program caters to economically disadvantaged children and has helped make lasting, positive changes throughout the Lowcountry.

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