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Best bites and tasty time in Valley

Best bites and a tasty time in the Valley

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Daily photos by Jeronimo Nisa
Crystal Carroll of Goodfellas Pizzeria, which won a first place for its deep dish pie and a second place for sausage stuffed mushrooms at Taste of the Valley.

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The day after spring began was the perfect day for a garden party. However, this seasonal soiree was indoors and food was the focus.
About 350 attendees sampled various dishes from 23 local restaurants and caterers at the 24th annual Taste of the Valley on Monday night at the Holiday Inn.

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Shelley Sedlak

The benefit raised about $12,000 for the Volunteer Center of Morgan County.

Vendors interpreted the garden party theme with their booth decorations, and the award for best overall presentation went to The Shak.

But let’s focus on the food. And what delicious food it was.

For the first time, each attendee was able to vote for a People’s Choice Award, and JW Steakhouse in Priceville took home that honor.

Three first-time participants — Goodfellas Pizzeria, Texas Smokehouse and Waddell Seafood — also won prizes in the following five categories. Here are the winners:


  • First place, Café 113, Napa Valley Meatballs
  • Second place, Goodfellas Pizzeria, Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms.

Entree, beef/pork:

  • First place, Goodfellas Pizzeria, Godfather’s Deep Dish Pie
  • Second place, Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q, Championship Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork.

Entree, chicken/seafood:

  • First, Waddell Seafood, Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce
  • Second, Timbuck2, Poulet de France.

Side dishes:

  • First place, Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q, Kettle Baked Beans
  • Second place, Texas Smokehouse, Potato Salad


  • First place, Timbuck2, White Chocolate Bread Pudding
  • Second place, Texas Smokehouse, Peanut Butter and Jelly Pie.

Before the main event began, a group of taste testers gathered in a back room for secret judging. Bayne Hughes and I judged the appetizer category. The entree category judges were J. Robert Fite, Will Woller, Bob Fite and Norman Roby. Judging the side dishes were Jason Locke and Patsy Roby. Radio personalities Clay Sanders (Freak Daddy) and Nathan Emery (Big Nate) and Chad Holland judged the desserts.

After we judged our own category, we sampled the other categories. It was a tough job, but someone had to do it. I just hope I get the dessert category next time.

Taste of the Valley is a huge undertaking and requires lots of help to run smoothly. In addition to the Volunteer Center’s board members, about 35 teens volunteered, said Kay Woller, event and fundraising coordinator. Woller was thrilled to have them there because proceeds from Taste of the Valley benefit the center’s youth programs. Also, 16-year-old singer-songwriter-guitarist Gray Cauthen volunteered his time and talent.

A huge thank you goes out to those who helped plan and execute Taste of the Valley.

I’m looking forward to the 25th anniversary next year. And don’t forget to visit our local restaurants to try the winning dishes.