Midlands’ Modern Southern Food Arts is Columbia’s Shrimp and Grits champ again

The reigning champion stayed on top in one category, but newcomers stepped up to claim the other two prizes at the third annual Columbia’s Shrimp and Grits Fest.

Midlands’ Modern Southern Food Arts, the restaurant inside the Marriott hotel on Main Street, continued its reign as a crowd favorite at the event, taking home the people’s choice award for the third straight year.

The people’s choice award was given based on votes from the several hundred people in attendance at the event, organized by Brian and Kristin Cole, owners of Columbia Food Tours.

A panel of four judges also sampled the nine competing shrimp and grits dishes, assigning them points based on creativity, presentation, use of ingredients, texture and of course taste.

The judges’ choice award went to Chef Ashley Monique of Ashley’s Yummy Tummy, and the award for best creative shrimp and grits went to Chef Will Lacey of Driftwood Pantry.

“It gets closer and closer every year,” Brian Cole said. “The competition gets more and more stiff.”

Local band Prettier Than Matt entertained the crowd throughout the evening as they enjoyed the shrimp and grits. Information on all nine competitors in this year’s event, as well as instructions for those interested in taking part in 2019, is available online.