Sep 28 2016

by Whitney Long

(photos courtesy of St. Simons Food + Spirits Festival)

We all need time to disconnect.  Come next weekend, I am going to do just that as I attend one of my  favorite fall events, the St. Simons Food + Spirits Festival.  This five day epicurean extravaganza, celebrating the best of the Golden Isles’ culinary bounty, scenic beauty and history, all while raising funds and awareness for Hospice of the Golden Isles, makes for a perfect fall weekend.  Held at various Island locations Oct 5 -9th,  the Festival is in its 4th year and is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. I plan to go and savor every minute in my surroundings, try new foods and spirits, have lots of good conversation and just be present. I have a feeling I will leave inspired and ready for Monday.

 There are so many wonderful offerings including the BBQ, Bourbon and Beer Pairing at Southern Soul, BBQ Pro-Am on Rainbow Island, Pier Crawl and Village Stroll, Oyster Roast and After Party, and the grand finale SPIRITual Brunch at the King & Prince Resort, with celebrity guest chefs and local culinary superstars sprinkled throughout programming.

The main festival event, Tastings Under the Oaks, takes place on Saturday, October 8th, at Gascoigne Bluff Park, a historic park near Epworth Methodist Center.  Held under the beautiful canopy of Spanish moss-draped oaks and elegantly decorated tents along the banks of the ­­­­­­­­­­­Frederica River, and offering hundreds of food and drink tastings, a farmers & artisans market, live music, a VIP lounge, and kid’s zone, there is truly something for everyone!

Perhaps what I am most excited about this year is the Chef Showdown which features four local chef s competing in a TV-styled competition during a live 30-minute demonstration.  A special  92-foot long trailer featuring two commercial, and luxe, kitchen set-ups with media walls, lighting and onboard satellite, will be the setting for the competition  I snuck a peek at this amazing kitchen on wheels, courtesy of Dave Snyder of Halyard’s and Tramici’s, and believe me when I say it is something to see!  Guest celebrity chefs will be judging the competition as Palmer’s Village Cafe Chef John Belechak returns to defend his crown.  Should be exciting!

Get to  know some of this year’s participating Showdown Chefs below…

For more info or to purchase tickets, click here and if you can’t make it this year, be sure to mark your calendars for 2017!


Chef Dave Snyder – Halyards and Tramici   

What inspired you to become a chef?

Watching my mom cook for family and friends.

What is your favorite food memory?

Too many to narrow to just one. Conch ceviche in Abacos, Roast Pig on a farm in Cuba, Hamburger at a truck stop in Gas City IN with my father, empanadas with family in Colombia


Chef John Belechak – Palmer’s Village Cafe 

What inspired you to become a chef?

When I first saw the book of Marco Pierre White- White Heat. At that point I just knew it was for me.

What is your favorite food memory?

My first dinner at The Inn at Black Berry Farms with my wife, what I like to call true food with real people.


Chef James Flack – King & Prince

What inspired you to become a chef?

If anything my Mother as she introduced me to the hospitality industry at a young age

What is your favorite food memory?

My mother making pork chops and rice and holidays with family in Ohio

For more posts by Whitney Long,  click here



Whitney Long View More Blog Posts from this Author

Whitney Long is co-founder of The Southern C and The Southern C Summit. Mama x 4, wife x 1. Entrepreneur, thinker, doer, writer, researcher, believer. Enjoys working alongside creative entrepreneurs to build community while supporting established and upcoming brands. Hobbies include travel, reading, bike rides and clever craft cocktails.

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