Columbia Star

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Juniper Restaurant’s Brandon Velie was voted 2015 Top Chef

Juniper Restaurant’s Brandon Velie was voted 2015 Top Chef

Palmetto Palate attendees voted Juniper Restaurant’s Brandon Velie of Ridge Spring, SC the 2015 Top Chef. He was among a dozen other local chefs participating in the South Carolina Farm Bureau (SCFB) Federation’s 2015 Palmetto Palate. The seventh annual Palmetto Palate had another record-setting year with more than 300 attendees at the historic 701 Whaley building in Columbia.

Chef Velie led his team to the honors with a menu featuring Manchester Farms BBQ quail with Humble Roots pimento cheese, Adluh grits and biscuits, Titan Farms peach butter, and fried green tomatoes from Clarendon County farmer David Richburg. Since opening Juniper in 2005, this is the third time Velie and his team at Juniper have taken the title of Palmetto Palate Top Chef Award. Velie is also currently the SC Chef Ambassador for the Midlands, a program where one chef is chosen from each of South Carolina’s four regions to serve for one year attending events around the state to perform cooking demonstrations, conduct educational discussions on healthy eating for children, and promote South Carolina staples in agriculture and tourism.

SCFB pairs local farms with leading chefs from around the state to produce tapas-sized portions of food that originated from local farms across South Carolina. Attendees also sampled beverages made from local fruits and vegetables prepared by the Ben Arnold Beverage Company.

In addition to Juniper, other chefs participated from 2 Fat 2 Fly (the 2014 Top Chef winners who were not eligible to compete because they won last year), Aberdeen Catering, Blue Marlin, Bourbon, Kiminsky’s, Let’s Cook, Oak Table, Pearlz, Rosso, Saluda’s, Silver Spoon Bake Shop, and Terra.

The money raised will help support agriculture friendly candidates for South Carolina General Assembly who recognize the importance and sustainability of agriculture in South Carolina. Agribusiness (farms and forestry) is the State’s largest industry, generating $42 billion to the economy annually and creating 212,000 jobs in South Carolina.

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