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Taste for the Space offers chance of a lifetime to one lucky chef

Mar 27, 2017 05:02PM ● Published by Bryan Scott

The space where one lucky winner will have the chance to make their culinary aspirations become a reality. (Keyra Kristoffersen/City Journals)

By Keyra Kristoffersen | keyrak@mycityjournals.com

A cooperative effort between the Shops at South Town, the Utah Restaurant Association and Pacific Retail Group is looking to offer a six-month rent-free restaurant space at the brand new dining hall area of the Shops at South Town, a $50,000 startup investment and fully stocked kitchen and signage. 
 
“This is the first event of its kind that Pacific Retail has ever done and the first event of its kind here in Sandy,” said Lindsay Burgee, national marketing director for the Pacific Retail Property Group, an organization based out of Southern California that owns the mall property.
 
Devour Magazine, Sysco and Fox 13 have also joined the effort to make this event special through sponsorships and media and marketing efforts.
 
“Really the concept is to take Utah-based culinary professionals — could be a food truck, a restaurant, a catering business, could even be someone who has always aspired to have a restaurant — and support their dreams and bring them together in a large food festival type community and family event and have a cook-off and really making that dream a reality,” said Burgee. “The really awesome thing about this community, in particular, is the excitement and the word of mouth and the community getting behind the idea and embracing what we’re doing.”
 
Budding restaurateurs, food truck owners, chefs and anyone who is interested in moving their dream into a terrace brick-and-mortar space have been invited to try out by serving up their signature dish.
 
“It’s really exciting," said Katy Sine, vice president of marketing for the Utah Restaurant Association. “We’re looking to narrow it down to 12 to 14 chefs and businesses operating in the state of Utah.”
 
Competitors have been submitting applications though all of March and will compete on May 6 at the Shops at South Town by submitting their best example of what they want to offer in the space for the guests to vote on via text.
 
“They are literally offering their taste for the space,” said Sine. “Their vision. Their dream.”
The process began in December 2015 with Pacific Retail beginning the collaborative effort to create this event and get the public interested. Each contestant was asked to submit an application as well as a video detailing their expertise, culinary plans for the space and why they’re the best fit. 
 
Finalists for the competition will be announced April 7 and the public is invited to attend the Taste for the Space event on May 6, which will be held at the Shops at South Town that evening. The Taste Utah Dining Awards on May 9 will announce the winner of the cook-off.
 
The Utah Restaurant Association is also in partnership to create a television show called “Teen Chef Pro,” which will follow 12 Utah teens through the process of learning from professional chefs and competing in a professional culinary atmosphere for a four-year scholarship to Johnson & Wales University.
 
“There’s a good mix of lots of folks who have original stories, but I think the coolest thing about food is that we all need to eat but how we experience it is what creates community,” said Sine. “It brings together everyone. Food is the common language.”
 
Taste for the Space is expected to gather between 1,000–2,000 attendees eager to help make the choice for the next new restaurant venture.
 
For more information on the Taste for the Space event and ticket information, visit shopsatsouthtown.com/tasteforthespace/.
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