— Consider rural Georgia for a tasting holiday, especially when the sweet onions are ready in Vidalia.
Five million 40-pound boxes ship along the East Coast, others head west. Chances are good, most American towns anticipate Vidalia onion arrivals every April.
There’s a festival to celebrate them and now a new event: one dozen professional Georgia chefs vying for the Golden Onion trophy.
April 20 is the 2014 date for the 3rd annual chef event. Nose in the cooking pot, almost possible, and the aromas are abundant. This is up close foodie travel.
Talking to the chefs most definitely possible, just not so much during the 60 minutes each is allowed for creating amazing onion dishes.
Pre- and post, each chef in the 2013 event talked easily, sharing preparation tips, describing discoveries of fresh, local, pure-as-can-be food sources.
This is an all-afternoon event with executive chefs and other foodies. Strict 10-minute intervals between next-chef starting points.
While the competitors cook, the others chat. Can’t get that contact on television broadcast cuisine.
Golden Onion trophy winner Daniel Chance is executive chef at Campagnolo in Atlanta, his childhood hometown. He’ll keep the Golden Onion trophy designed by artist Melissa Harris of Rome, Ga., for one year, passing it on to the 2014 winner.
Onion advocate Keira Moritz, chef and owner of Steel Magnolias in Valdosta, a South Georgia city, thinks this:
“When you say Vidalia onion, people from all over the country and all walks of life know what it is, almost like a secret handshake.”
Judges and lucky raffle ticket winners are served a plate by each chef.
The rest of us savor tidbits left in the cooking pans and tastes from platters some chefs present with leftover ingredients.
Not to worry. The front-yard vendor in the Vidalia Community Center where the event is held sells the finest fried onion rings ever tasted, with a secret dipping sauce.