August 2011 - OutreachNC Magazine

August 2011 - OutreachNC Magazine

10 OutreachNC OutreachNCAugust 2011August 2011 Retirement

community defends Culinary Cup

Chicken, potato and pumpkin. For Penick

Village, a continuing care retirement

community in Southern Pines, it came

down to these three ordinary ingredients for their win in

the 2010 Culinary Showcase in Southern Pines.

Of course, the chicken was a Cornish hen in an applecranberry

compote, and the potatoes —a crispy wrap

zinged with horseradish— were mere dressing for the

dish’s star, perfectly seared scallops. A moist pumpkin

cake frosted generously with cream cheese icing topped

off Penick Village’s entry into the contest.

Started in 2007 and organized by the Moore County

Chamber of Commerce, the Culinary Showcase brings

area restaurants together under a single roof for one night.

Through this event, the chamber hopes to entice new

customers for its members – one taste bud at a time.

“The quality of restaurants in Moore County is

astounding,” says Linda Parsons, vice president of the

chamber. “The showcase gives the community a time to

come together and sample all their foods while enjoying

a fun night out.”

The competitive aspect of the showcase adds to the

event’s appeal. Chefs whisk their best creations to the

judges, who are food professionals and local people of

note. They rate the dishes on taste, presentation and

originality. Awards are given for best entrée, appetizer

and dessert with the Culinary Cup going to the eatery

with the highest score in all three categories.

Last year’s win for Penick Village came as a surprise to

many. Penick’s win against formidable opponents shows

how far institutional food has come.

“You just don’t think of a rest home, for lack of a better

word, as having that kind of cuisine,” says Tom Cruce,

a Pinehurst man who enjoys the showcase every year.

“The dish was excellent. I’d order it at a restaurant.”

Jeff Hutchins, chief executive officer of Penick

Village, says the showcase gave executive chef Scott

Margolis a chance to put his creations up against

“amazing restaurants.”

“They’ve got great vision,” Hutchins says of Margolis

and his team. “Scott is committed to making sure our

residents get a great dining experience. I was thrilled the

dining team got that honor.”

On top of the official judging, everyone who attends

the showcase gets a chance to weigh in on the best

food. The People’s Choice award goes to

the eatery with the most votes. In the event’s

first year, Rhett Morris of Rhett’s Restaurant

in Southern Pines, took

home that prize. Last year,

his chicken cordon bleu

By Melanie Coughlin

Special to OutreachNC

with collard greens received rave reviews from the more

than 300 guests.

“It’s fun to compete against the big boys,” Morris says

of the larger restaurants that participate in the showcase.

Indeed, the challenge of going up against renowned

chefs like those at the Carolina Dining Room and Elliott’s

seems to be part of the appeal for smaller restaurants to

compete. Bonnie Black, owner of The Market Place in

Southern Pines, is entering the Culinary Showcase for

the first time this year.

“I’m a competitive person,” says Black, who is

known for her chicken salad on a croissant. “I want to

get the word out that we’re not just a sandwich shop.

We have really good food, and we can compete with

the big restaurants.”

Due to its growth, the Culinary Showcase moves to the

Carolina Hotel this year. It will cap off Pinehurst Resort’s

23rd annual Labor Day weekend Food and Wine Festival.

“They (the Moore County Chamber of Commerce)

have established a brand for the Culinary Cup and have

a really great format to showcase some of the better

restaurants in the area,” says Kerry Andrews, director

of marketing communications for the resort. “We felt it

would be a great fit.”

The Carolina Dining Room will still showcase its dishes

but has bowed out of the competition this year because

of its home turf advantage.

Bonnie Black is ready no matter who the competition is.

“Yeah, we can hang with the big boys,” she says


This year, the “big boys” will include Penick Village, no

doubt eager to hold on to its shiny Culinary Cup.

The showcase will be held on Sunday, September 4 from

6 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $50 per person and available at or by calling (910) 692-

3926. A portion of the proceeds go to scholarships for

students in Sandhills

Community College’s

culinary arts program

with the remaining

proceeds supporting

member programs.

Penick Village executive chef Scott Margolis will have

to top last year’s cornish hen to hold on to the Culinary

Cup at the 2011 Culinary Showcase on Sept. 4.

Photos courtesy of David Nicoll Photography

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