PICKENS COUNTY — When Ed Wallace relocated to the Piedmont area eight years ago, he had no idea he would be part of the Competition Dining Series, which was unheard of for South Carolina at the time.
But the opportunity has presented itself and he intends to make the most of it.
Being held through Sept. 7 at Larkin’s Mill in Greenville, the competition between chefs from the Upstate will be heated — and possibly sauteed or caramelized depending on your perspective.
Wallace, owner and chef with Adventures in Taste in Easley, is looking forward to it. His first appearance is scheduled for Aug. 24 following a first round bye. The competition will be judged by those in attendance and also allows digital voting for your favorite Upstate chef.
“This is a big deal for upstate South Carolina with the competition making its first appearance after so many years in North Carolina,” Wallace said. “This is an exciting opportunity for all the chefs competing. For me, this is a chance to get a feel for what we do in our catering business in front of more people.”
Wallace said the challenge to be creative falls in his wheelhouse.
“I can be very creative with things. I worked with a small restaurant in Piedmont and when the economy went in the tank, I had to be creative to make a menu,” Wallace said. “And working in the catering business now helps with creativity as well because the menu has to be for more people than would normally be served a specific meal than in a restaurant.”
Wallace, who describes his style as Southwestern, is originally from Brooklyn. He studied Culinary Arts at New York Technical College before arriving in South Carolina via Florida and credits his wife with the idea of entering the competition as she presented him the form from a weekend magazine.
That’s a long way from his first job in the restaurant business.
“When I was 16, I wanted a job and answered an ad as a dishwasher in a small restaurant and I just started watching and learning as much as I could,” he said. “A new chef was eventually brought in and he continued to teach me and actually created a work-study program for me and I got high school credits for the work we did together.”
Reach D. C. Moody at 864-855-0355.