Sip, bite, vote - and help feed our local homebound seniors

May 13, 2018

It seemed like a good idea. (I thought.) Why not schedule the 2017 Meals on Wheels Top Chef of the Culinary Coast event during the new Coastal Delaware Restaurant Week! Won't that be exciting! (I thought.) Turns out ... not so much.

The restaurants frowned because they had to set up their Top Chef booths during the very busy restaurant week. Top Chef ticketholders threatened pitchforks and torches because they wanted to take advantage of the restaurant week prices. (Though the event did sell out!) Oh well, y'live and learn. So for those who emailed asking why this year's Top Chef of the Culinary Coast event does not coincide with Coastal Delaware Restaurant Week, that's why. 

The fifth annual Top Chef of the Culinary Coast event at the Rehoboth Beach Country Club is already the talk of the town. This year it takes place on Thursday, May 31, and this friendly competition among 20-plus of the area's best chefs is not only lots of fun, but it's the primary fundraiser for our local Meals on Wheels Lewes-Rehoboth. In fact, the Top Chef of the Culinary Coast event is the only local food-related event where every penny raised stays right here in Sussex County to benefit Meals on Wheels Lewes-Rehoboth. 

The generosity of most Cape Region restaurants knows no bounds, and a ticket to the event grants access to their best and most creative cuisine. You stroll. You taste. Sip a little wine. You taste some more. Quaff a brew (or two). Taste yet again. Then vote for your favorite in several categories - including Best Dessert, new for 2018. All while helping to provide nourishing meals to our local homebound seniors in Rehoboth, Lewes and Harbeson. Additional help is provided by the event's annual presenting sponsor, Meineke Car Care in Lewes. 

Armed with wire whisks and spatulas, restaurants that have stepped up to the plate so far this year include Blackwall Hitch, Café Azafran, Crooked Hammock Brewery, Fork + Flask, Bluecoast Rehoboth, Lupo Italian Kitchen, Pickled Pig Pub, Pig & Publican, 99 Sea Level, Big Oyster Brewery, Fins Ale House & Raw Bar, G Rehoboth, Henlopen City Oyster House, Irish Eyes Catering, Lefty's Alley & Eats, Off the Hook in Bethany, Po'Boys Creole & Fresh Catch, Rehoboth Beach Country Club and Salt Air. 

Additional sips and bites will be 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. I promise you will not leave hungry. 

But wait! There's more! (I love to channel Ron Popeil.) RBCC's parking lot cannot begin to accommodate the 300-400 cars expected to show up, so parking will be at Jungle Jim's Waterpark by the new Wawa near Fresh Market. And to brighten the few-minute wait for shuttlecraft (generously provided by Atlantic Transportation and Jolley Trolley), Touch of Italy will have a truck-mounted wood-fired pizza oven at Jungle Jim's to provide slices to lucky parkers. As if that were not enough, when everyone is trundled back to Jingle Jim's after the event, Touch of Italy will provide cups of refreshing espresso and house-made cannoli! 

Meals on Wheels Lewes-Rehoboth has always been a favorite cause for our local chefs, restaurants, and food/booze suppliers. Along with many other contributors, they take our Sussex County seniors very seriously. To that end, select sponsors have stepped up to the plate to make this happen. The long list includes Cape Gazette, WBOC-TV, Delmarva Broadcasting Company's five local radio stations, Southern Delaware Tourism, SoDel Cares, Techno Goober, Signarama, Southern Delaware Tourism, ... and many more ... who work together to make this the premier culinary event in Sussex County. 

Tickets are $65 per person in advance (over 21 only), and $75 at the door. You can purchase tickets by calling Meals on Wheels Lewes-Rehoboth at 302-645-7449, or you can drop by the Meals on Wheels office at 32409 Lewes-Georgetown Hwy., just west of Five Points, or purchase online at 

Join the generous sponsors, chefs, restaurants, producers and benefactors at Rehoboth Beach Country Club Thursday, May 31, from 5 to 7:30 p.m., for a scrumptious battle to benefit a worthy cause. Who will win? Our local homebound neighbors and seniors for sure! The rest, you decide. I'll see you there.

  • 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