The Midlands’ top culinary masters and Columbia’s best foodies gathered on April 26 for Palmetto Place’s annual Sweet & Savory Chefs Competition and raised over $26,000.


The competition featured 10 chefs from across the state who brought their best dishes to the table. From savory southern dishes like Lamb Lollipops, to sweet treats like Chocolate Avocado Truffles, chefs and attendees enjoyed the growing food scene in Columbia while supporting abused and neglected youth and teens.


“We were so thrilled to see so many from our community come out to support the cause and enjoy great food,” said Jill Lawson, Executive Director for Palmetto Place. “We’ve created an event that garners community support for the increasing number of homeless, abused and neglected teens in the Midlands.”


This year’s competition included chefs Ben Perzan and Arie Shankar from the Mediterranean Tea Room, Brenda Perry and Yasmeen Bull from Southern Foodservice Management, Dave Grillo from Cantina 76 and Za’s Pizza, Robert Stegall-Smith from Performance Foodgroup Florence, Michael Giri from Embassy Suites, Lawrence Wright and Vinnie Livoti from BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, Jason Bruner from 1801 Grille, and Charlie Young.


“Teen homeless is an epidemic in South Carolina and the Midlands is working diligently to combat the issue.” Says Lawson, “Palmetto Place collaborates with other community agencies to bridge services and secure resources for each individual’s needs. Providing a roof over their head and food in their stomachs won’t end the epidemic. It takes a village – a vast village that consists of agencies, community members and groups, and volunteers who share our passion for the mission that we serve.”


Sweet & Savory is just one of the many events throughout the year that Palmetto Place hosts to raise money and gain supporters. The organization works closely with community partners like United Way of the Midlands and BlueCross Blue Shield to promote its fundraising efforts.