Local businesses step up to the plate for homebound seniors

June 8, 2018

Last week's fifth Annual Top Chef of the Culinary Coast event was one of the most successful ever held at Rehoboth Beach Country Club. As a member of the governing board for Meals on Wheels Lewes-Rehoboth, I am always amazed and gratified at how many of our local restaurants and suppliers step up to the plate to help feed our Sussex County homebound neighbors.

But the board and the event committee couldn't have done it alone. In addition to cash donations from generous sponsors such as the event's annual presenting sponsor, Meineke Car Care in Lewes, restaurants that donated their time, talents and products to the cause included Po'Boys Creole & Fresh Catch, Lefty's Alley & Eats, Blackwall Hitch, Café Azafran, Salt Air, Crooked Hammock Brewery, Fork + Flask, Bluecoast Rehoboth, Lupo Italian Kitchen, Pickled Pig Pub, Pig & Publican, Fins Ale House & Raw Bar, G Rehoboth, Henlopen City Oyster House, Irish Eyes Catering, 99 Sea Level, Off the Hook in Bethany, Rehoboth Beach Country Club and Big Oyster Brewery. 

Additional sips and bites were provided through the kindness of Hopkins Farm Creamery, Atlantic Liquors, Dogfish Head Distilling, Nassau Valley Vineyards, Revelation Craft Brewing and Teller Wines. And all this while enjoying live music courtesy of Paul Cullen. 

When Touch of Italy's Bob Ciprietti learned that there was satellite parking for the event at Jungle Jim's Waterpark, he offered to brighten the few-minute wait for shuttlecraft (generously provided by Atlantic Transportation and Jolly Trolley), with his truck-mounted wood-fired pizza oven! Lucky parkers enjoyed hot pizza while boarding the buses. And when it was all over, Ciprietti himself piped cannoli filling - to order - into well over 350 cannoli shells as ticketholders returned to their cars. 

Our local chefs, restaurateurs, food/booze suppliers, charities, media, and service businesses take our Sussex County seniors very seriously. The long list includes Cape Gazette, WBOC-TV, Eagle 97.7, Cool 101.3, 97.1 The Wave, Delaware 105.9, Southern Delaware Tourism, SoDel Cares, Techno Goober, Signarama, Southern Delaware Tourism, ... and many more ... who work together to make this the premier culinary event where every penny earned stays here in the Cape Region. In fact, those pennies will fund 4,498 meals to be delivered to our local seniors. 

So, without further ado, the envelope please: The 2018 winners are: Top Chef & Best Reinvention of a Delmarva Tradition kudos went to William Somoza and his culinary team from Fins Hospitality Group and Big Oyster Brewery. Alexis Wood from Lefty's Alley & Eats hit the sweet spot for Best Dessert. Mike Clampitt's Po'Boys Creole & Fresh Catch regaled the voters with his Food We Just Can't Live Without. And the Best Use of Ingredients category went to Rich and Ryan Steele from Café Azafran and Olive & Oats. 

Thank you to all those who posted their event photos on Facebook! Many of the photos were so good that they are reprinted here for this article.

  • So many restaurants, so little time! Food writer Bob Yesbek gives readers a sneak peek behind the scenes, exposing the inner workings of the local culinary industry, from the farm to the table and everything in between. He can be reached at