Culinary creations: Taste of Pelham draws crowd to civic complex

PELHAM – Guests filled the banquet hall and began to spill over into to the foyer of the Pelham Civic Complex during the Pelham Library Guild’s sixth Taste of Pelham event on Tuesday, March 19.

Throughout the night guests sampled food and beverages from a wide variety of restaurants and caterers from Shelby County and abroad. The vendors showcase two to three of their signature dishes, and beer and wine will also be available. As guests made their way from booth to booth, a musician played jazz tunes for all to enjoy. Throughout the night, several door prizes were also given out to guests.

Library guild president Debbie Parrott said the event featured some vendors that were participating for the first time, such as Bessemer-based Bright Star Catering Company, and others, like Christian Catering Company, that have been a part of Taste of Pelham since it began.

Pelham resident John Turner said this year marked his third time attending Taste of Pelham. He said he keeps coming back for the good food and to socialize with people he may not have seen in a while.

He said Golden Rule BBQ’s chicken wings with barbecue ranch and the Pelham High School culinary arts students’ slow roasted prime rib were two of his favorite dishes.

“I enjoy living in Pelham because of events like this that bring the community together,” Turner said.

PHS culinary instructor Doug Allen said his students have been participating in Taste of Pelham for five years. Their slow roasted prime rib was seasoned with a sea salt and pepper blend created by Allen. It was paired with sourdough, rosemary and multigrain bread baked in cast iron skillets.

Pelham Board of Education member Paul Howell said he was delighted to see the culinary arts students participating in the event.

“This is a great opportunity for them to showcase their skills alongside professionals,” he said. “Chef Allen does a great job teaching our kids and exposing them to different opportunities.”

Students from the PHS Honor Society also took part in the event by helping to clear tables, which counts as a service project.

For the second year in a row, Best Bite awards were given to the vendors with the best food. Throughout the night, secret taste testers from Pelham’s police and fire departments roamed the event and voted for winners in four categories: best entrée, best dessert, best side and best overall.

The Best overall and best entrée awards went to the PHS culinary team, best side was given to Panoptic Catering and Christian Catering Company earned best dessert.

Parrott said 225 tickets were presold for the event, and even more were sold at the door. After expenses are paid, the event usually raises $5,000 to $6,000 for the Pelham Pubic Library.

In past years, the profit was used toward construction and furnishing costs related to building to new library. Now that it’s built, Parrott said the money will be used to purchase computers, books and other materials to keep the library fresh and current.

Photos from this event are available at ShelbyCountyPhotos.com.