BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Chefs of the Coast has found a recipe that keeps its flavor. And, just like a good chef, organizers try to add a little something new each year.
It's been going for 32 years and there's no slowing down what arguably can be called one of the most successful and long-running galas on the Coast.
Twenty nine vendors showcased more than 100 food and wine selections to almost one thousand people at the Biloxi Civic Center. And, this year, 20 different beer selections were added. Beverly Martin, executive director of the Gulf Coast Chapter of the Mississippi Hospitality and Restaurant Association, says there is something new every year.
Some new restaurants have joined in. And, for the first time, organizers sold five special Chefs of the Coast packages that included a hotel room, as well as two tickets to the event.
It's part of what keeps people like Todd Cantor coming back.
"The food is incredible," he said. "To see the participation of the owners and how the community gets together... it's a nice event."
As for four-year Chefs of the Coast veteran Ashley Endris... her favorite part?
"I can carry my fork around and eat off every different plate."
The association has earned national recognition in 2012, being named Travel Treasure by Triple A Southern Traveler Magazine.
There are a lot of good things about the Coast. Good food, smooth wine make people happy, but there's a much bigger benefit. Chefs is the primary fundraiser for the hospitality and restaurant association that benefits scholarships for Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and funding for high school culinary programs in the three Coastal counties.
"We're a little selfish, because we find future employees and restaurateurs that will carry on for the next generation."