On September 11, 2018, the Southfield Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the 15th annual Taste of Southfield Event at the Best Western Premier Detroit Southfield Hotel from 5-8PM. This community event gives residents and business professionals an opportunity to sample a variety of local fare during a night full of entertainment and competition.

For the first time, this event was put on in partnership with Kroger and local non-profits to spread a message about Zero Hunger Zero Waste. As part of this mission, all the leftover food from the Taste of Southfield was donated to Forgotten Harvest, St. David’s Episcopal Church, and the South Oakland Shelter. This event was also supported by an array of local business sponsors and vendors and the Chamber itself donated $500 from the event’s proceeds to the Friends of the Southfield Police Department.

The Restaurants

This year, 20 restaurants and banquet facilities brought bite-sized samplings of their menu items, giving everyone a “taste” of what their business has to offer, including:

Achatz Handmade Pie Co.

Beans & Cornbread

Bigalora Wood Fired Cucina

Cake Crumbs

Captain Jay’s Fish & Chicken

Fire Iron Grille

Fuddruckers

Happy’s Pizza

Kola Lounge

Las Cazuelas Grill

Motor City Soul Food

Naf Naf

Olga’s Kitchen

Pi Banquet Hall

Regency Manor Banquet Center

Shriners Silver Garden

Sweet Magnolias Southern Cooking

The Nomad Grill

Towne Square Food & Spirit

Tropical Smoothie Café

Wing Hong

Many of these restaurants are popular lunch spots for Southfield Civic Centre business district, and a few of them are some of Southfield’s signature food truck vendors.

The Experience

Held in a beautiful spacious venue, with the bustle of families, couples, children, professionals, and city officials, the Taste of Southfield is always an event to remember.

On the mezzanine of the space, there were free relaxing chair massages, which many guests took advantage of. HAP also provided a photobooth full of fun props and slick technology that printed pictures on the spot and also texted them to your phone. The Southfield Area Chamber of Commerce was also selling raffle tickets for a handful of decadent gift packages. Some vendors, like the Best Western, also held prize drawings that anyone could enter. With live entertainment performing songs ranging from pop, to soul, to jazz and a cash bar, it was a real party!

 The Competition

However, the highlight of the Taste of Southfield is always the Edible Creations Competition and the Best Restaurant Awards.

The Edible Creations Competition has been a part of Taste of Southfield for three years. It is modeled off of the television show Chopped and challenges three chefs to prepare an original dish infused with a  secret ingredient. This year, the contestants had to create a pasta dish using the secret ingredient of beets!

Why beets? “We deal with a lot of produce. This month alone we’ve gotten 1.4 million pounds of produce, and by far one of the hardest pieces of produce to move is beets. So, I’m here to prove to everyone that beets are not only beautiful, but they taste great,” says Patrice Davis, Food Sourcing Manager at Forgotten Harvest.

Cooking for the competition were chefs from The Nomad Grill, Shriners Silver Garden, and Sweet Magnolias. In addition to Davis from Forgotten Harvest, judges included: The Mayor of Southfield, Ken Siver; the City of Southfield Police officer, Brain Bassett; and the City of Southfield Fire Chief, Johnny Menifee.

Chefs were judged based on presentation, taste, and creativity. With only ten minutes on the clock, it was a fast and heated competition, but ultimately, Shriners Silver Garden took home the trophy with a savory beet ravioli dish.

The Best Restaurant was awarded by all the guests who tasted all the food and cast a vote, and for the third year in a row, Sweet Magnolias was named the winner!

In addition to Taste of Southfield, the Southfield Area Chamber of Commerce hosts multiple annual events including the State of the City Address and the Excellence in Southfield Awards.