Georgia State Park chef to showcase talent in Vidalia Onion Festival cooking competition
George T. Bagby State Park
FORT GAINES, GA. March 11, 2013 -- The chef at George T. Bagby State Park in Fort Gaines has been selected as a contestant in the Vidalia Onion Festival’s annual Golden Onion cooking competition. The April 14 cook-off will showcase 12 chefs putting their own creative spin on Georgia’s official state vegetable.
“I am honored to be competing in the Vidalia Onion Festival with such great chefs,” said George T. Bagby State Park’s executive chef, Michael Shutters. “I plan to showcase this famous onion’s unique sweetness and low sulfer content with a dish that’s perfect for dessert. I’ll be combining it with apples and goat cheese into a popover with orange saboyon sauce.”
Shutters has been at the helm of the park’s Pilot House Grille since last March. Previously he co-owned Fly By Café in St. Augustine, Florida. Both Shutters and the park’s new manager, Shawn Baltzell, strive to make the scenic state park a top dining destination in southwest Georgia. The competing recipe for sweet onion, apple and goat cheese popovers is posted online at GeorgiaStateParks.org/georgetbagby.
“We have a top-notch restaurant, lodge and golf course in the middle of a beautiful state park,” said Baltzell. “Our guests can enjoy a relaxing meal after a day of golf, boating, fishing or just soaking in the scenery. Every dinner table has a view of the lake, and our sunsets are spectacular. You can even eat outside on the patio.”
Located on 48,000-acre Lake Walter F. George, also called Lake Eufaula, the Pilot House Grille serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, with the exception of no dinner on Sundays. Friday nights feature a lowcountry boil, and fried chicken is always on the country buffet for lunch and dinner. Shutters plans to feature his Vidalia onion recipe on Sunday lunch buffets until the April 14 contest, allowing park guests to sample his competing dish.
About George T. Bagby State Park & Lodge
George T. Bagby State Park is located in southwest Georgia on Lake Walter F. George, also called Lake Eufaula. The park features its Pilot House Grille restaurant, a 60-room lodge with conference center, fully equipped rental cabins, and the 18-hole Meadow Links Golf Course. Boaters can use a courtesy dock behind the restaurant.
Guests enjoy a wide range of recreation, including walking trails, swimming, fishing, boat and canoe rental, bicycle rental, tennis, volleyball and playgrounds. Parking is $5 and includes many activities. To learn more, visit GeorgiaStateParks.org/GeorgeTBagby or call 229-768-2571.
About the Festival & Golden Onion Cookoff
The Golden Onion competition will be held on Sunday, April 14, in Vidalia, Ga., as the official kick-off to the 36th Annual Vidalia Onion Festival. Chefs will have one hour to prepare recipes. The First Place champion will be presented the Golden Onion trophy and a cash prize of $500. The Golden Onion competition will be held at the Vidalia Community Center at 107 Old Airport Road. The event is open to the public starting at 12:30 p.m. Advance tickets cost $10 or $15 at the door and include an event recipe booklet. For details visit
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