In the News
Wutta Nut! Pecans were the star of the show at the Neighborhood Cook-off final round at the StrEATs Festival April 16 in Charlotte. Four flavors of savory roasted pecans were revealed as the secret ingredient for chefs to incorporate into their signature dishes. Chef Clayton Sanders was named StrEATs Neighborhood Champion.
Representing the German influence evident in the LoSo neighborhood, Chef Sanders chose Rosemary Black Pepper pecans that he chopped and blended in to his spaetzle, served with 18-hour simmered ox tail, and a fresh mix of roasted mushrooms and greens on a plate adorned with fresh purple and yellow pansies. Chef Clayton is a sous chef at Supperland and a member of Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen. Previously, he was executive chef and owner of the Davidson Street Public House.
Second-place finisher was Chef Brenton Ebersold, representing North Charlotte. He finely chopped and added We’re Kickin’ It pecans to his cornmeal-coated fresh rainbow trout. The sandwich was served topped by a tangy relish, chipotle maple aioli and arugula on a toasted Duke’s Bread bun, and served with a side of homemade white sweet potato crisps. Chef Brenton and his wife Tara own and operate Bleu Barn North End, a farm-to-fork restaurant, and Bleu Barn catering.
Created to celebrate Charlotte’s culinary scene, this year’s StrEATs Festival featured a curated artisan market of some of the city’s top culinary vendors. Scene newcomers included Elaka Treats, Sun Raised Foods, and Wutta Nut! Pecans.
Neighborhood Cook-off Final Round
Mistress of Ceremonies for the afternoon’s final three rounds of the cook-off competition was Ciao House cohost and executive chef at Butter restaurant in New York, Alex Guarnashelli.
For the final round, the two chefs were required to incorporate savory pecans into their final dish, within a 20-minute preparation period. They were given the choice of four flavors of savory roasted pecans:
- We’re Kickin’ It, a laid-back but surprisingly intense sugar-free combination of chilies, peppers, vinegar and other seasonings.
- Agave Ginger, lightly sweetened with agave and seasoned with ginger.
- Rosemary Black Pepper, rosemary infused and lightly rolled in freshly ground Tellicherry black pepper and sea salt.
- Memphis BBQ, a blend of 8 barbecue spices and sweetened with brown sugar.
Judges for the final round were Majid Amoorpour, pastry chef and owner of Everyday Market in Belmont, D’Anne Hotchkiss, founder of Wutta Nut! Pecans in Charlotte, and Kristen Wile, former food editor and editor of Charlotte magazine and founder of digital publication Unpretentious Palate.
About 3,000 people registered for the free event, a partnership between Charlotte SHOUT! and hosts Unpretentious Palate and Carben Events + Marketing. Event sponsors and a complete list of food trucks and exhibitors can be found here.
About Wutta Nut! Pecans
Wutta Nut! Pecans are savory roasted pecans seasoned in a variety of flavors for everyday snacking. We start with top quality pecans that we deep roast and season so you can enjoy the full pecan flavor of this native American tree nut. Wutta Nut! is a brand of Hotchkiss Pecan Foods, Inc. and is sold by retailers from North Carolina to Georgia, and online. Founded in 2021, it is a privately held woman-owned company in Charlotte, NC. For more information, visit Wutta Nut! Pecans