The Taste of South Cobb lasted all day Saturday at the Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre in Mableton, off of Veterans Memorial Highway east of Austell Road.
Patricia Dunn and her daughter, Shannon Dunn of Marietta, said they attend taste events all over Cobb, including in Marietta and Smyrna, but this was their first time going to the Taste of South Cobb.
“It introduces us to a new restaurant,” said Patricia Dunn, who added she uses the tasting to decide if she will dine at the vendor’s location on a later date.
Patricia Dunn said she also likes to look for specialty, gourmet food and could not resist trying a unique item at the south Cobb event.
One small booth offered the Mableton-based Grandma’s Gourmet Cornbread with an old-fashioned taste, including flavors like buttermilk, jalapeno cornbread, whole grain and sweet potato pie filling.
Already blended and packaged in plastic jugs, bakers need only to thaw, shake, pour and bake the mixtures into muffins or flapjacks.
The pre-mixed batter is sold in local Publix, Wal-Mart and Food Depot grocery stores.
Eric and Julie Schirmer of Mableton came to the Taste of South Cobb to enjoy the day with their two sons, Henry, 4, and Will, 1.
The family has lived in Mableton for five years because, Julie Schirmer said, they were looking for a family-oriented neighborhood that would still be close to their workplaces in downtown Atlanta and Buckhead.
Living in south Cobb, Julie Schirmer said she enjoys the Mexican food options the most, because the cuisine tends to come with a relaxed atmosphere and a variety of authentic flavors.
Saturday’s Taste Row highlighted local restaurants and caterers, including Matthew Clements’ On Tapa the World food truck.
Matthew Clements has a commissary kitchen in DeKalb, but since starting the mobile restaurant business six months ago, he has taken the truck to festivals, private events and food truck parks.
The Taste of South Cobb was the first taste event for Clements.
Clements said he has worked in the food industry for 12 years because of his love for the culinary arts.
Starting a food truck restaurant “seemed like a good fit,” Clements said, because it is a fast-paced environment where he has the chance to be creative, travel around the state sharing ideas and create new recipes.
This includes the veggie On Tapa the World empanada, with spinach, mushrooms and artichokes, as well as the on-the-go bites of fried potatoes and sweet plantains.
Tasty and healthy food options
Saturday’s Taste of South Cobb featured executive chef Eric Spivey of WellStar Cobb Hospital, which is on the corner of Austell Road and the East-West Connector.
The Cobb hospital implemented the 100 percent Farm Fresh Foods Program for Better Patient Recovery Program, which challenged Spivey to exclusively use farm-fresh vegetables in patients’ meals since 2009.
“There is no substitute for fresh, high quality foods,” Spivey said. “By using farm-fresh foods, we can have a great quality product that doesn’t taste like the traditional hospital fare.”
Spivey has been with WellStar for seven years, as well as 24 years of experience in the hotel and restaurant industry for working in top metro Atlanta restaurants, including Capital City Country Club, Atlanta Fish Market and The Last Detail.
Formally educated at Johnson and Wales in Providence, R.I., Spivey grew up in Indiana and moved to Cobb in 1993.
Spivey said it is very rare that he gives a cooking demonstration, but with the WellStar Health System opening several health parks in the metro Atlanta area, it is important to be seen in the community as more than just a hospital, but a health care partner.
Saturday’s first demonstration included free-range chicken breast from a Georgia farmer and the second was fresh fish, which was flown across the county after being in the water just 24 hours before the taste event.
Spivey said he wants patients, families and community members in south Cobb to know there are local, organic options at their neighborhood grocery store.
These items represent a growing market in the grocery retail business that are worth the higher prices, Spivey said.
The Taste of South Cobb was supported by the South Cobb Arts Alliance, which encourages appreciation and active participation in the visual arts, performing arts and local heritage.
The Taste of South Cobb also benefits C.A.M.P., a food pantry serving more than 800 hundred families per month with groceries, clothing and utility assistance, as well as Amateur Advocate Association, a group responsible for the positive guidance of youth and community.