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Children are amazing salesmen, and few kids are as cute or persuasive as those who participated in the 4th annual Big Chef Little Chef event benefiting Louie’s Kids. The fete paired Charleston’s most respected chefs with Louie’s Kids/Fit Club participants for an evening of delicious, waist-friendly gourmet cuisine at Lighthouse on the Creek.
This year’s event was absolutely packed, and partygoers circulated around the food tables inside or squeezed their way through to the outdoor deck and bar. Guests noshed on hummus with arugula, tzatziki, smoked bison, feta and naan bread from Chef Cary Zapatka of the Square Onion and little chef Maddie, butter bean salad with Carolina Gold rice cracker and grilled from from The Grocery Chef Kevin Johnson and little chef Kara Allen, and a spicy, mouth-watering Asian noodle salad from Charleston Grill Chef Michelle Weaver and little chef Auriyan, along with the countless other tasty bites from other renowned Lowcountry chefs.
As people perused the food tables, the more outgoing little chefs peddled their fare and vied for votes. Little chef Donaishia Jenkins sidled up to me with a mega-watt smile, asking, “Would you like to try our 6 bean salad?” I admitted to having already tried it, and without missing a beat, the future marketing expert flashed her grin and said, “Would you like to try it again?!”
The charmer of the evening, however, was FIG Chef Mike Lata’s pint-sized cohort, Maurice. The suave little chef darted back and forth between the crowd and the table, handing out bowls of pickled shrimp with summer beans, zucchini, and fresh herbs, and as he dolled out his savory treats to female diners, the brilliant child would peer over his glasses and solemnly declare, “You are beautiful.” (He is going to go far in this life!)
As the evening drew to a close, Louie’s Kids creator Louis Yuhasz gave a heartfelt thank you to his staff, the participants, the little chefs, and all who attended. The votes were tallied, and the winners announced: the signature Big Chef Little Chef cutting boards would be going home with Fish Chef Nico Romo and his little chefs, De’Quan and Tre’Quan Jones for their scrumptious organic chicken, summer vegetable, and fennel wraps with watermelon shooters. De’Quan and Tre’Quan jumped up to the stage, triumphantly holding their cutting boards aloft as they received an enthusiastic round of applause.
Little chefs are program participants with Louie’s Kids. Founded in 2001 by Louis Yuhasz in memory of his father, Louie’s Kids is dedicated to fighting childhood obesity through behavioral change, education, and physical activity. The program caters to economically disadvantaged children and has helped make lasting, positive changes throughout the Lowcountry.