Meet Bridges Prep Shrimp and Grits Cook-Off winner

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Jason Dangerfield of ‘Cooking Just for Fun’ and his daughter, Lily, who was his helper at the Bridges Prep Block Party and Shrimp and Grits Cook-Off.
Jason Dangerfield of ‘Cooking Just for Fun’ and his daughter, Lily, who was his helper at the Bridges Prep Block Party and Shrimp and Grits Cook-Off.

For Jason Dangerfield, there’s only one way to cook shrimp and grits – all in.

“My philosophy on cooking anything, especially shrimp and grits, is to spare no calorie and to use the best ingredients you can find. Don’t shy away from something that sounds new and exciting,” said Dangerfield, winner of the People’s Choice Award for Best Recipe at the Third Annual Bridges Block Party – Shrimp and Grits Cook-off presented by Ameris Bank.

Dangerfield was the winner out of nine chefs who participated in the Cook-Off, held in the historic downtown of Port Royal. Other contestants included:

  • Thomas Tasty Treats
  • BSA Troop 1
  • Nautilus Seafood and Grill
  • Aunt Pearlie Sue and Singleton Catering
  • The Tavern at Royal Pines
  • Twin Sea Shrimp and Grits
  • Joe Loves Lobster Rolls
  • Team Smith

“It was an incredible day of sunshine, shrimp and grits and lots of people having fun,” said Amy Painton, co-chair of the Third Annual Bridges Prep Block Party and Shrimp and Grits Cook-Off. “There were lots of different techniques to cooking the signature dish, but the people voting agreed that Jason’s was the best.”

Dangerfield’s catering service is called “Cooking Just for Fun” because that’s his approach.

“I started helping when I was a kid and my Mom and Dad were always having large parties and we were always providing barbecue or something,” he said. “When I was in the service, every time we had a command function I got put in charge of putting on the event and it just grew from there. I tell people it’s a hobby gone wrong.”

One of the things that influenced his winning recipe at the Bridges Prep Block Party was careful cooking of the grits.

“Growing up we had grits for many of our meals and we would have them with all kinds of gravies and other dishes like fried fish and, of course, shrimp. We never just had the plain quick grits, we always had what I call real grits that are stone ground and usually yellow.

“In my recipe for the Cook-Off, I used zero water, just a lot of half-and-half and whole milk, not to mention a ton of cream cheese and sour cream and of course lots of real butter,” Dangerfield said.

Originally from Moncks Corner, SC, Dangerfield and his wife moved to Beaufort in 1996 with the Navy. “Minus some deployments, I have been here since 1996,” he said.

For the event, Sea Eagle Market donated fresh local shrimp for the chefs and Piggly Wiggly donated the grits for the Cook-Off. Bridges Prep’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) produced the event and it is the key fundraising event for the state charter school in downtown Beaufort.

Most of Jason’s catering is done to help non-profits raise money. To reach him, email him at dangerfieldinc@yahoo.com.