November 2015

Taste of the Season: Culinary Event of the Year

Author: Justin Jarrett

It’s beginning to taste a lot like the holidays. The arrival of the holiday season in the Lowcountry will once again be ushered in by the return of Taste of the Season, the annual culinary event presented by the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce.

Taste of the Season is the ultimate experience for Lowcountry foodies, and the setting will be more elegant than ever at this year’s new venue at Country Club of Hilton Head.

More than 27 of the area’s best chefs will create a diverse collection of world-class hors d’oeuvres, entrées and desserts, pulling out all the stops in hopes of claiming the coveted “Best Cuisine” award and the bragging rights that go along with it.

“Taste of the Season is a great event,” said Nick Unangst, executive chef and managing partner of the SERG Restaurant Group. “It’s a great clientele that comes out. They definitely know their food. The best of the best on Hilton Head are there, and everybody tries to put their best foot forward.”

All attendees may sample as many offerings as they like, while socializing in an elegant, intimate setting; those who spring for the VIP ticket option will have access to a private bar, private lounge seating and preferred parking. The fun-filled evening also includes a silent auction, loaded with a variety of gifts for the holidays, including travel and golf packages.

It’s always a sell-out, providing an opportunity for local restaurants to gain exposure. The challenge for many chefs is creating dishes that wow the crowd while staying true to what they create on a daily basis in their restaurants.

“If we feed you something that you want to eat again and come to the restaurant looking for it but can’t find it, we haven’t done our job,” Unangst said. “It’s not just about cooking for show; it’s about cooking for the people so they can see who you are and what you do best.”

That’s the philosophy at the heart of the big plans Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks has in store for this year’s event. In hopes of taking advantage of the outdoor space at the new venue at Country Club of Hilton Head, Hudson’s will have an oyster roast and fresh, raw oysters, harvested within 36 hours of the event, which will showcase not only the restaurant but also the fledgling Shell Ring Oyster Company.

“We’ll be picking all the oysters the day of and the day before the event, so they will be unbelievably fresh,” said Andrew Carmines, general manager of Hudson’s and Shell Ring. “I think this is going to be a really good showcase for some of the things we’re doing.”

As a lifelong Hilton Head Island resident, Carmines views Taste of the Season not only as the unofficial start to the holiday season, but also a celebration of the quieter time on the island.

“The island is getting busier and busier, and the tourist season keeps getting longer,” Carmines said. “Late October and November are the months when we kind of get to enjoy the local people. You always see familiar faces at Taste of the Season, and it’s just a great event.”

Don’t miss Taste of the Season, the culinary event of the year! Tickets are available online at HiltonHeadBlufftonChamber.org.

What: Taste of the Season
When: Nov. 20, 6-9 p.m.
Where: Country Club of Hilton Head
Tickets: $65 general admission, $95 VIP
Information: HiltonHeadBlufftonChamber.org

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