Greenville, SC (April 20, 2023)— You’ve never tasted an event this good. “Otherworldly”, “the perfect bite”, “clever and delicious!” These are just a few of the phrases shared among guests at the 2023 Loaves & Fishes Taste of the Upstate Food Rescue Challenge, this past Sunday, at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena patio.

This event is classic Greenville. Since at least 1999, this decadent tasting event has called on local chefs to raise support for food rescue by competing for restaurant awards. In 2023, each of the chef’s offerings featured a commonly rescued food item to bring awareness to the daily challenge of limiting food waste. Ingredients like berries, bananas, avocados, and chicken wings top the list of the most wasted foods.

Judges & Awards

Chef Nikko Cagalanan (cah- GAL- uh- nan), a champion from Food Network TV’s Chopped, served as lead judge. The other judges were Greenville Tech Foundation’s Development Officer, Monnie Whitson; local chef and former winner of Taste of the Upstate awards, Chef Tony Keely; and, finally, Wes Gilliam, co-owner of the Radio Room in Greenville.

On April 16th, Cagalanan and the other distinguished judges selected 5 awardees, and the audience chose the People’s Choice award by submitting ballots.

John DeJong Culinary Excellence Award: Coral and Chef Joshua Dill, Sous Chef Addison Stone and Pastry Chef Katie Shegda

Best Presentation Award: Avenue’s Chef Greg Teal

Best Food Rescue Dish: The Herbal Farmercy’s Chef Eugena Talley

Best Sweet Dish: Pop Kulture’s Chef Makiya Lesley

Most Original Dish: Sun Belly Café’s Chef Deborah Bouts

People’s Choice: White Wine + Butter’s Chef Michael Sibert

Restaurant Competitors

2023 Restaurant competitor’s were:

  • Coral
  • Twizted Umami
  • Pop Kulture
  • Salome’s Cuisine
  • Sun Belly Cafe
  • Nose Dive
  • White Wine & Butter
  • Avenue Catering
  • The Herbal Farmercy
  • Bon Secours Wellness Arena Kitchens
  • The Jones Oyster Co.
  • Comal 864

Our Heroes/Sponsors

2023’s sponsors include the Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Pinnacle Financial Partners, Piedmont Natural Gas, Pintail, Forvis, Houston Federal Credit Union, The Buying Source, Sunny Days Entertainment, Southern First Bank, Bank of Travelers Rest, United Community Bank, NAI Earle Furman, Professional Wealth & Planning, Elliott Davis, and King Kozarlek Law Firm. All proceeds raised on April 16th support Loaves & Fishes’ fleet of refrigerated vehicles, keeping them on the road 7 days a week.