Honey Catering Chef Lazar Oglesby of Honey Café in Millen and Honey Too in Statesboro took home the “Georgia’s Best Shrimp & Grits” title during this past weekend’s Jekyll Island Shrimp & Grits Festival.
Chef Lazar beat out six other chefs from top restaurants around the state. The first-place prize includes $2,000, an official award to display in the restaurant, and a potential feature on QuakerOats.com/grits.
This was Chef Lazar’s second time competing at the festival. She also participated in the competition last year, though she did not place. This year, she took a chance and prepared the same recipe, and the risk paid off – she came out on top. She called the win “totally unexpected.”
“The secret is not to overcomplicate it. Our sauce has only four ingredients,” Lazar said. “And, we put some okra on top,” she added.
Her fried okra proved to be a hit with the judges, but it was the shrimp that set her dish apart.
“The shrimp were cooked perfectly,” said Chef Virginia Willis, who judged the competition along with Olivia Raider and Chef Todd White. “This is a shrimp and grits competition – ‘shrimp’ is the first word. The shrimp have to be perfect.”
“It was the perfect execution of a creative idea,” Raider added.
The 2016 champion Chef Andrew Smith of West Egg Café in Atlanta took home the second-place prize, and Chef Bill Welch from The Lodge at Sea Island, located on nearby St. Simons Island, finished in third place.
Chef Lazar will have the opportunity to defend her “Georgia’s Best” title at the 2020 Jekyll Island Shrimp & Grits Festival, to be held November 6-8, 2020.