Big Delicious Event: Cast Iron Chef Edition

For thousands of years, food has served an undoubtedly vital purpose of bringing people together. Holidays, special occasions, events, and celebrations would not be complete without flourishes of savory or sweet indulgences, designed to facilitate conversation or to simply delight guests. At Gravatt, food means a lot to us. From the local farms and even the onsite garden where we acquire it, to the hands that prepare it, food is a priority in the interest of the hospitality offered in this place in the woods. Campers and guests from all over the state leave Gravatt happy and well-fed; our food is one of the primary reasons groups choose to gather at Gravatt.

Many of these same guests that frequent Gravatt’s conference facilities throughout the year find themselves back for Gravatt’s bi-annual Big Delicious Event, where Gravatt is proud to partner with the staff from Juniper of Ridge Spring to offer an evening of culinary enjoyment. The fall Big Delicious Event was a HIT. With a new twist on a long-time beloved event, guests came from Columbia, Aiken, and North Augusta communities for a SOLD OUT evening. The Big Delicious Event was started as a 3-course cooking demonstration, where guests were able to view a menu as they arrived and even take home recipes for the dishes they enjoyed. The October 28 event was something a little different. Chef Brandon Velie decided to challenge himself in a brand new way, surprising guests (and even himself!) with 6 surprise ingredients revealed to him AT the event.

The five secret ingredients were: locally sourced ground pork, chicken livers, chicken feet, shrimp, quail, and tempeh. Including these ingredients, Brandon prepared six delicious courses right on the spot in front of the hungry audience.

Course 1: Chopped Salad with Tempeh Croutons

Course 2: “Dirty” New Orleans style mac and cheese w/ Chicken Livers and Local Pork

Course 3: Hearty Roasted Chicken and Sweet and Red Potatoes

Course 4: Autumn Shrimp and Grits with Brussel Sprouts and Butternut Squash

Course 5: Quail Cassoulet seasoned with herbs and Chicken Feet

Course 6: Pumpkin Cheesecake (thankfully sans any secret ingredients)


This one-of-a-kind event got all of our guests and staff in the perfect mindset for the holidays and inspired to use creativity in the kitchen to bring together loved ones this holiday season!