The Heat is On—in February!
Author: Kathryn R. Wall
Sample gourmet food prepared by 16 of the top restaurants in the area. Watch a heated Iron Chef competition among 10 of the finest Lowcountry chefs. Mingle with Southern authors and purchase autographed books.
If this sounds like the perfect recipe for curing the mid-winter blahs, join the crowds at the 4th annual Cooks & Books celebration, February 21, from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., center court at the Mall at Shelter Cove on Hilton Head Island. Sponsored by Friends of Literacy Volunteers of the Lowcountry, this highly anticipated event draws locals and visitors alike to an afternoon of food and fun for the entire family.
Foodies have come to anticipate the iron chef competition “The Heat is On,” staged right at center court. Aficionados of the culinary arts can observe the techniques of their favorite local chefs as they race the clock to prepare their finest dishes from an array of “mystery” ingredients presented to them just before the competition begins. A panel of experts will judge the results from two preliminary rounds before the winners are pitted against each other in a final race to be named the Lowcountry’s ultimate iron chef.
This year’s entrants promise a spirited competition. Chefs participating include Stephen Stewart of TidePointe, Keith Josefiak of Old Fort Pub, and Yuri Gow of Antonio’s along with Luke Lyons of Frankie Bones, Aram Hartunian of Sandstone Catering, and Ryan Alpaugh of Alligator Grille. Giving them a run for their money will be chefs Rob Britton of Charley’s Crab, Eric Seaglund of Aqua Grille & Lounge, Russell Keane of Wise Guys, and Kenny Ballard of Kenny B’s French Quarter Café.
Cooks & Books will also feature a variety of authors who either live in or write about the Lowcountry. Scheduled to appear are Patti Callahan Henry, Karen White, Jackie K. Cooper, C.J. Lyons, Mary Kay Andrews, Sallie Ann Robinson, and Kathryn R. Wall, along with a few surprises. Authors will be available to autograph their books purchased at the event from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Pat Ward, chairperson of Cooks & Books, is delighted with the lineup. “Featuring great local authors along with the best food in the Lowcountry seems like a perfect fit. Literacy Volunteers is about helping people to improve their communication skills on all levels, and it’s a cause writers are passionate about. Over the years I’ve been associated with Cooks & Books, I’ve heard nothing but enthusiasm from the authors who’ve participated. And the folks who attend the event are always excited to meet and chat with the authors of some of their favorite books.”
Barnes & Noble of Hilton Head is in charge of securing the authors’ books and offering them for sale to attendees of the event.
Advance tickets are $15 per person, $20 at the door and include unlimited tastings from such local favorites as Frankie Bones, Tapas, Antonio’s, and Old Fort Pub. Also offering samples from their fabulous menus will be Redfish, CQ’s, Alligator Grille, Aqua Grille & Lounge, Bistro 17, Ocean Grille, Charley’s Crab, Kenny B’s French Quarter Café, French Bakery, Sandstone Catering, Wise Guys, and Cookies by Design. Water, soft drinks, and beer and wine will be available for purchase. Attendees have the opportunity to vote for the People’s Choice Award for their favorite among these outstanding presentations.
Tickets are available at Burke’s Pharmacy on Main Street and Le Cookery at Wexford Village Shoppes, Hilton Head; Markel’s Cards & Gifts in Kittie’s Crossing, Bluffton; or at Literacy Volunteers’ offices: 4 Oak Park Drive in Hilton Head, 1-B Kittie’s Landing Way in Bluffton, or 1403 Prince Street in Beaufort. Or you can purchase Cooks & Books tickets online at www.lowcountryliteracy.org.
In addition to the Sunday festivities, you can kick off this weekend of celebration of the culinary and literary arts at the Cooks & Books Preview Party to be held on Friday, February 19, from 6 to 9 p.m. This gala event is held annually at TidePointe, a Classic Residence by Hyatt, on Hilton Head Island. It features a lavish buffet prepared by executive chef and iron chef competitor Stephen Stewart and is served in TidePointe’s newly renovated and spectacularly redecorated clubhouse. A silent auction with a wide range of offerings may be enough to tempt attendees from the fabulous array of desserts as well as the chance to mingle and chat with some of the authors and chefs slated to appear at the Sunday event. Tickets are $75 per person in advance, and space is limited. Contact Literacy Volunteers at their Bluffton office at 815-6616 or purchase online at www.lowcountryliteracy.org.
And it’s all for an excellent cause. Literacy Volunteers of the Lowcountry has been serving Beaufort County for more than three decades, bettering the lives of area residents through their basic adult literacy and ESOL programs. Nancy Williams, executive director of LVL, sums up the agency’s impact: “Since its inception 36 years ago, Literacy Volunteers of the Lowcountry has equipped more than 8,000 area adults with the reading, writing, speaking, and math skills they’ve needed to become self-sufficient members of our communities. With the help of more than one hundred volunteer tutors, we offer high-quality literacy services for a modest fee, enabling our students to become better parents, employees, and citizens.”
Celebrate the literary and culinary excellence of the Lowcountry February 19 and 21 and help contribute to the continued growth and excellent work of Literacy Volunteers of the Lowcountry.
For Cooks & Books and Preview Party tickets or more information, call (843) 815-6616.
Kathryn R. Wall is the author of ten Bay Tanner mysteries set in the Lowcountry, including Canaan’s Gate, which will be released on April 27. She is also a member of the board of directors of Literacy Volunteers of the Lowcountry.