Winner, Winner, Congee Dinner
The cameras have stopped filming. The chef coats are back on the rack. The judges have made their choices.
Yes, another S&D Culinary Challenge is in the books — and another talented Johnson & Wales Charlotte student joins the ranks of winners.
Earning first place honors for 2016 is Chainey Kuykendall.
A junior from Mount Airy, North Carolina, Chainey made the top 20 in last year’s competition but felt that this year’s “Carolinas Cookin’” theme played to her strengths. “[This year’s theme] was easier for someone like me, with a mixed background, to put my experience into a dish.”
Chainey’s unique background, with Southern and Filipino roots, inspired her winning dish: Cheerwine and coffee-marinated beef ribs with sweet potato and congee mixture, topped with sweet potato chips, which she called “Cheerful Blend of Carolina.”
Judges were impressed with her plate — noting the depth of the flavors and “East meets West combination of the traditional Asian porridge with the sweet potato, a Southern staple.
Assisting Chainey on her road from finalist to winner was her chef mentor, Cody Suddreth, executive chef at The King’s Kitchen & Bakery. In this role, Chef Suddreth helped her polish her culinary and presenting skills in preparation for the final competition.
For taking home the top prize, Chainey earns $5,000 and Chef Suddreth is rewarded with an additional $5,000 for the charity of his choice.
His $5,000 winnings will go to support his restaurant, which is a non-profit itself, and the restaurant’s work with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Dream Center. Established in 2010, The King’s Kitchen is managed by Jim Noble Restaurants and donates 100% of profits from sales to feed the poor in the Charlotte region.
Additionally, The King’s Kitchen partners with the Dream Center and other local area ministries to provide job-training, life-skills training, social etiquette workshops, financial management guidance and employment intern opportunities to Charlotteans in search of a new beginning.
As for Chainey? She’s gifting the $5,000 to her mother, so she can take a trip back to the Philippines.
Learn more about Chainey and Cody — and see all of the finalists’ recipes, video interviews and photos from the event — on the S&D Facebook page.