COLUMBIA, S.C. — A couple of local chefs are competing in online competition to be named the world's Favorite Chef, receive $50,000 and be featured in a sponsored double page spread in one of the largest cooking publications in the world.
Daniela Savone has made her home in Irmo for three years as she pursued her dreams of a culinary career. She moved to South Carolina when she decided to change paths in careers.
“I decided to start fresh, pack my things, leave everything I’ve ever known in NY and head down south for a brand new start!" Daniela told Street Squad. "I was cast on Masterchef and. after 15 years of teaching, I resigned and took a leap of faith and went out to LA for the show. Didn’t make it as far as I wanted to … big huge disappointment. But it didn’t stop me, it actually motivated me to chase my culinary dreams.”
In the Midlands, Daniela worked as an executive chef for a while before starting her own business out of her home called Italian Gal with a Wooden Spoon.
“I was cooking for friends and doing small catering jobs about 6 months ago and it just grew and grew and grew and eventually I started sharing and posting and I started cooking and selling food and it became a huge success," Daniela explains.
And when she was emailed an opportunity to win $20,000 in an online chef contest, she knew what her next steps would be, “It would definitely be an incentive to open up my own space. Bring Italian Gal with a Wooden Spoon into an actual industrial kitchen and open up a storefront and that way people in Irmo and in the Midlands have some real traditional home Italian cooking.”
Power couple and local caterers Scholaskoteani and Bayrone Billups who own Soul’d Food are also giving the contest a shot.
“I’ve always had a passion for cooking. I’ve been cooking since I was about 5 years old, couldn’t see over the stove yet," Bayrone told us. He is from Philadelphia and his wife is from Florence, SC. He says they have a unique mixture of styles in the kitchen.
The Billups primarily cater events around the Midlands while Bayrone works as a nurse and Scholaskoteani does captioning for the deaf and mute community. They say they would use the money to help buy a house, advance their business and give back to those in need.
“Whether we win or not, it’s not that important," Bayrone told News 19. "I believe the Lord is going to use this opportunity to catapult us to another level and meet some new people.”
If you know anyone else participating in the contest, reach out to us at email@example.com so we can feature them as well.