Local pastry chefs come out on top at Sweetest Chefs competition


Pastry chefs from across the Southeast filled The Port at The Wharf with delectable sweets on Friday night at the Sixth Annual Sweetest Chefs culinary competition.

Guests were greeted with a complimentary cocktail or mocktail featuring spiced rum and fig liquor by John Emerald Distilling in Opelika, Ala. The large event space of The Port allowed guests to wander around picking up delicious and eye-catching treats like the apple butter macaroon and chai bread pudding by Jessica Revels of Bread and Butter in Chattanooga, Tenn. or the tuxedo cake by Jacqueline Ladnier of French Kiss Pastries in Ocean Springs, Miss.

The evening also featured cocktail demonstrations on the Rouses Market Demo Stage and live music throughout the night. Attendees also had savory nibbles from Moe’s Original BBQ and Rouses Market to cut through the sugar.

The 11 chefs competed in three categories: Best Flavor, Most Creative and Best Presentation. Attendees voted for their favorites in each category using a digital ballot. While the ballots were tabulated, guests enjoyed live music as well as returns to the dessert tables.

Chef Lennon Harrison, formerly of Voyagers at Perdido Beach Resort, won Best Flavor for his old fashioned peanut butter layer cake with bourbon cheesecake mousse. The Most Creative award went to Chef Chris Walker of Blue Plate Mafia food truck in Starkville, Miss. for his baked Alabama dessert that consisted of a meringue cookie ‘oyster shell.’ The Best Presentation award was presented to Chef Patty Clark of Warehouse Bakery in Fairhope for her blackberry and dark chocolate Black Beauty dessert that was covered with a chocolate mirror glaze and topped with a blackberry macaroon and gold leaf.

The pastry chefs were not the only winners of the evening. Two students from the Gulf Coast Culinary Institute at Coastal Alabama Community College each received a $500 scholarship. Students from the program assisted throughout the event by working the door, assisting the competitors and filling in wherever needed. The two winners were chosen by the event organizers for their hard work and dedication.

Sweetest Chefs is presented by Eat Y’all, a Mississippi-based company that works to inspire and equip people to pursue meaningful careers in the foodservice and hospitality industries and works to build relationships between chefs and small farmers and food markets around the globe. The event was hosted by Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism and Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Sports and Events and sponsored by The Wharf Orange Beach, Rouses Markets and Pearson Farms.

For more information on Sweetest Chefs, visit sweetestchefs.com.