The Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast kicked off St. Patrick’s Day weekend with its annual Samoa Soiree. Now in its 11th year, the highly anticipated fundraiser returned to the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside for an evening of philanthropy and friendly competition.
Hailing from both the Southside and the Peninsula, 11 chefs went head-to-head on their best interpretations of cookie-centered dishes. Savory eats ran the gamut of chilis and soups to chicken wings and ceviche, all while showcasing the distinct flavors of Tag-a-longs, Samoas and more. The desserts were equally as creative and seriously decadent as chefs put forth chocolate drizzled cinnamon buns, Thin Mint truffles, dessert pizza and the like.
This year’s participating restaurants included: Anchor Allie’s Bistro, Virginia Beach; The Butcher’s Son, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach; Cogan’s Pizza, Norfolk; Cyprus Grille, Hampton; The Dirty Buffalo, Norfolk; Hilton Norfolk The Main, Norfolk; Kahiau’s Bakery & Cafe, Virginia Beach; Nawab Indian Cuisine, Newport News, Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Williamsburg; Sheraton Norfolk Waterside, Norfolk; Sysco of Hampton Roads, Suffolk; and The Ten Top, Norfolk.
In addition to its first-class cuisine, the Samoa Soiree also hosted a live band, silent auction, wine pull and the inaugural Cookie Construction Zone. For every box of Girl Scout cookies purchased, a box was used to create a structure in the center of the ballroom.
While guests enjoyed the opening reception, a panel of seven celebrity judges deliberated over 20 dishes in the running for Best Savory, Best Dessert, Best Presentation, Most Creative Use of a Girl Scout Cookie and Best in Show.
Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast
Chef Kyle Fowlkes of Cyprus Grille took home a whopping five titles for Best Savory, Best Dessert, Best in Show, People’s Choice for Best Savory and People’s Choice for Best Dessert. The leading dishes included his tasty chicken skewers and saccharine creation, “Not a Donut.” When it comes to the skewers, judges were not only wowed by Fowlkes’ presentation but by the depth of flavors arising from the fresh mango and marinated meat.
The churro-like “Not a Donut” was certainly a crowd-pleaser as well. Fowlkes battered a fried brioche bun, filled it with a decadent Tag-a-long mousse and drizzled the monstrous pastry with peanut butter caramel.
Recognized for its Most Creative Use of a Girl Scout Cookie was The Ten Top. The humble Norfolk eatery prepared a coconut curry peanut and sweet potato bisque topped with a Tag-a-long and crouton crumble.
Of all the dishes, judges were most impressed by the presentation of Anchor Allie’s Samoa Wings. The tender meats were dunked in a sweet and savory Samoa and rum sauce and coated with chocolate, honey and coconut flakes.
Proceeds from the Samoa Soiree support the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast and their mission to make dreams come true for girls who aspire to be leaders. Learn more at GSCCC.org.