Derek Simcik - Chopped 420 Champion, Food Network Beat Bobby Flay Winner

The Mansion on Forsyth Park hosting Celebrity Chef Dinner

EAT IT AND LIKE IT | Presented weekly by SAVANNAH TECHNICAL COLLEGE

Updated April 25, 2023 at 7:24 p.m.

If you are keeping score at home, we are four months into 2023 and already Savannah and its food scene have gotten more national television attention than probably the last couple of years combined. Things continue to be red hot around here. That, in turn, draws more attention. The more attention The Hostess City draws, the more people are intrigued. There are a lot of chefs out there wondering, “What exactly is going on down there?”

Sunday night, a select group of celebrity chefs will be here in Savannah, one night only, offering up the kind of dining experience we only get once every few years around here.

They are calling it “Family Meal.” It’s happening Sunday night at 700 Drayton, the restaurant inside of The Mansion on Forsyth Park.

“This is super exciting for us,” says Derrick Simcik, Executive Chef at 700 Drayton. “These chefs have not met each other, but I’ve worked with all of them separately.”

What you may not know about Chef Derrick is that he is a former “Beat Bobby Flay” Champion as well as a “Chopped 420” Champion. So, some of his associates have run in similar circles.

The list includes Solomon Johnson, also a Chopped 420 Champion, Byron Gomez, a Top Chef Season 14 participant, and Zoi Antonitsas named Food and Wine’s Best New Chef. Rob Newton from Fleeting here in Savannah rounds out the crew for Sunday’s dinner.

click to enlarge The Mansion on Forsyth Park hosting Celebrity Chef Dinner
700 Drayton

“We are calling it Family Meal because we are all doing foods from our backgrounds,” Derrick says. “There will be Cajun influences, Greek, African Creole, and Costa Rican type dishes.”

“It’s super exciting to see what is happening here in Savannah and be able to bring this type of talent to town for this dinner,” he says.

“All it took was one text back in, I think it was March. I reached out to all of them, they checked their calendars and if they were free, they were in. We are all friends. It will be nice to get together.”

Chef also says he’s going to enjoy the opportunity to work alongside other great talents with their skill sets and regional influences from across America.

“Once you become an Executive Chef, you don’t get to work with other people all that much,” he says. “This is an opportunity to learn new things while collaborating with other Executive Chefs.”

click to enlarge The Mansion on Forsyth Park hosting Celebrity Chef Dinner
700 Drayton

Besides the great eats, the best part of the evening is the fact that every dime of the proceeds from the event is going to No Kid Hungry, a national nonprofit group. There will be a smallish Silent Auction to help boost the amount of money raised as well.

Tickets are $195 per person, which includes tax and gratuities, with once again all proceeds going to No Kid Hungry. This is going to be a very special night.

You can find a link to tickets at OpenTable HERE.


Published April 25, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.

Jesse Blanco

One of the most recognizable personalities in the Savannah/Hilton Head Island television market, Jesse Blanco is sometimes called "Savannah's Anthony Bourdain." His 'Eat It and Like It' show has become a major regional brand in the foodie world.
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