By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce’s Taste of the South, a showcase of many of the best cooks, cooking teams and bakers in and around the community, will turn 15 this year, and Chamber officials are gearing up for a big celebration.
This year’s cooking competition — set for 5-8 p.m. next Thursday, September 20, at Heritage Park — will be the initial one for Emily Harp, who is wrapping up her first year as the Chamber’s executive director.
Harp said she and her staff plan to make it an event that will become the benchmark by which future cook-offs will be judged.
“We’ve got more participants than we’ve ever had, 18 right now,” Harp said this week. “We’re going to have some participants that we’ve never had before, so we’re excited about that. It’s going to be a great night of community support and great food. The challenge is on.”
She added that proceeds from the competitive cook-off would be shared equally with the individual chefs or the business, civic club or other cooking teams that take part.
“Fifty percent of each Taste ticket goes to the participant; 50 percent goes to the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce’s program of works, so it stays right here, local,” Harp said.
The friendly competition will feature a background of music, but whether it will be live or recorded remains to be determined, she said.
Trophies will be awarded in four categories (last year’s winners are listed in parenthesis): Best Dessert (Myrna Monroe); Best Decorated Booth (Southern Care Hospice); Best Taste, Professional (South Alabama Vending); and Best Taste, Amateur (Atmore Lions Club).
Tickets are $10 each, and purchasers will be afforded tastes of the offerings from five different booths (or all five stubs may be used at the same booth or at any combination of booths the ticketholder desires).
“It’s going to be a blast, an evening of fun,” Harp said. “We want to invite everyone to come out and help us choose the best food and best cooks in Atmore.”
To enter the competition, or for more information about the event, call the Chamber at 368-3305.