Gwen Fowler



Brentwood chef wins Coastal Uncorked finale for second year

Posted 4/30/2012 10:29:00 AM

The defending champ took home the prize again at the Coastal Uncorked Chef’s Challenge.

Chef Eric Masson of the Brentwood Restaurant in Little River won the challenge for the second straight year Sunday, April 29, at the third annual Coastal Uncorked Food, Wine and Spirits Tasting in Myrtle Beach.

The Iron Chef-style competition, the finale for the 2012 Coastal Uncorked, featured five Grand Strand chefs. Judges were Matt and Ted Lee, authors of several cookbooks and writers for well-known magazines, and Chef Louis Osteen of Louis’s at Sanford’s in Pawleys Island.

The event was the finale for the 2012 Coastal Uncorked, which Ted Lee said “really is the most hospitable of all the festivals we go to.”

Matt Lee said he and his brother were honored to be paired as judges with Osteen, “who totally ushered in the new dining scene in Charleston.” Osteen, the 2004 James Beard winner for Best Chef in the Southeast, owned restaurants in Charleston and Pawleys Island for years before spending some time in Nashville and Las Vegas. He returned to Pawleys Island earlier this year.

The first round of the competition pitted Chef Eric Wagner of Horry Georgetown Technical College’s culinary program and Chef Brad Daniels of Croissants Bistro & Bakery. Daniels won that round.

In round two, Chef Andrew Gardo of Sea Captain’s House defeated Chef Corbett Rourk of The Dunes Golf & Beach Club

Gardo and Daniels competed in round three, with Gardo winning the right to face Masson.

In each 20-minute round, the chefs were given mystery ingredients that had to be used in the dish they created. Gardo and Masson were given fresh local trigger fish from Seven Seas Seafood in Murrells Inlet, pickled watermelon rind and black truffles. The 3 ½ ounces split between the two chefs were $580 per pound and bought through Lee’s Farmers Market in Murrells Inlet.

Masson’s creation was a potato-crusted trigger fish with a pickled watermelon beurre blanc sauce with shaved truffles on top.

The Lee Brothers also participated in Coastal Uncorked last year, and both times they talked about the differences between Charleston and Myrtle Beach.

“Charleston is a hospitable place, but it’s a little bit buttoned-up,” Ted Lee said. “What we love about Myrtle Beach is that it’s very casual. The first thing my brother did when he walked in the tent was take off his shoes and socks.”

Sure enough, Matt Lee walked around barefoot all evening.

The brothers and their families split their time between homes in Charleston and New York.

While the crowd gathered under the large tent on the site of the former Pavilion Amusement Park didn’t taste what the chefs cooked in competition cooked, plenty of other food was available for them.

The Sea Captain’s House, The Dunes Club, Croissants and the Brentwood served crab cakes, scallop ceviche, crème brulee and cake pops. Culinary students at Horry Georgetown Technical College served five salads, including a delicious shrimp salad in vinaigrette.

Wine was also plentiful, and samples of the festival’s winning cocktail were served. Christa Brown and Jeffrey Ray, mixologists from the House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach, served their winning Ciroc Gummy Berry Martini, which is rimmed with Kool-Aid and has a gummy bear in each drink.

Part of the proceeds from Coastal Uncorked will go to HGTC’s School of Culinary Arts and to Coastal Carolina University’s Clay Brittain School of Resort Management.