It was a lot of fun to be once again be invited to the Char-Broil all star event. (Seriously does anyone ever turn down an opportunity to be in the sun for a few days>?) This year’s event was held in Atlantic Beach Florida at the beautiful One Ocean Resort. Glorious beach views and top notch amenities was the theme for the weekend. Really – this was pretty lovely to work and learn in this environment.


My fellow all star Char-Broil Bloggers were once again a blast to be around. You really need to check these folks out:

Meet the All-Stars

  • David Olson – “A Bachelor And his Grill”David Olson – “A Bachelor And his Grill”
    David the the author of A Bachelor & His Grill. His food blog is a mix of crazy delicious grub & original recipes, a travel log for his worldly adventuring, littering of semi-appropriate/sarcastic humor, & connection point with some of the most amazing, inspirational, & engaging people he has ever met….

    Read more ?

  • Curt McAdams – “Live Fire”Curt McAdams – “Live Fire”
    Curt McAdams is an award winning competitor in all categories of several Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) sanctioned competition events and a certified barbeque judge (CBJ) in that respected organization. Curt shares his passion for cooking over an open fire in photographs of his food on his web log Livefire. …

    Read more ?

  • Julie Reinhardt – “She Smoke”Julie Reinhardt – “She Smoke”
    Julie Reinhardt is the author of She Smoke a Backyard Barbeque Book and hands-on partner of Smokin’ Pete’s BBQ in Seattle, a place she lovingly calls “a joint.” The fragrant aroma of smoke lingers in Julies clothes as she races between her duties as restauranteur, wife and mother….

    Read more ?

  • Scott Thomas – “Grillin’ Fools”Scott Thomas – “Grillin’ Fools”
    The Grillin Fools are husbands, fathers, sons and good employees during the work week – but evenings and weekends their nearly-a-century of outdoor cooking experience blossoms and they become grilling super-heroes. OK – that may be stretching it a bit but they are busy grilling year-round grilling. …

    Read more ?

  • Jane Bonacci – “The Heritage Cook”Jane Bonacci – “The Heritage Cook”
    Jane Evans is the author of The Heritage Cook, a web log celebrating the traditional ingredients and recipes of American family life. Jane hails from the San Franciso Bay area and her attention to the ingredients is influenced by the farms, orchards, ranches and nearby access to seafood providing an unending source of inspiration. …

    Read more ?

  • Chef Christo – “Chez What?”Chef Christo – “Chez What?”
    Chef Christo Gonzales or simply “Christo” hails from New York and manages a busy schedule as private chef for individuals as well executive chef for two catering companies. A prolific cook and writer he shares his thoughts on food by contributing to more than a dozen web and social media outlets including photos of his creations….

    Read more ?

  • Catherine Mayhew – “The South In My Mouth”Catherine Mayhew – “The South In My Mouth”
    Catherine Mayhew is the author of The HandyMom’s Guide to Grilling (Cool Springs Press) and the sassy southern lady behind the web log The South In My Mouth.  In her own words: “I think about lunch just after breakfast and dinner right after lunch.”…

    Read more ?


The time was packed with information sessions on Char-Broil grills and accessories for the 2013 season and future plans as well. We learned a lot about presentations, TRU Infrared technology and photography.  Plus how can you resist marketing materials and information when it is held with the cutest paper clips ever.

Pig Paper Clips, Diva Q

Char-Broil is also one of the sponsors of the HGTV SMART Home located a short distance from our hotel in Jacksonville Florida.


HGTV SMART Home Cha-Broil


We got to tour the house and check out the really interesting Technology they use.

Of course we had to check out the grill station! (I need to get that lamp light over the grill it was gorgeous)

HGTV Char-Broil SMART Home Grill area, Scott Thomas

After the house tour we travelled to Mayhew Florida to visit a fish market. We had enjoyed some of the terrific Shrimp thats available locally and it was great to see cases of fresh shrimp and trawlers.

Christo Gonzales, David Olsen Char-Broil All Star Weekend Diva Q  Char-Broil All Star Blogger Weekend

There was a deep sea fishing trip booked as well but unfortunately due to high seas it was cancelled. Darnit. I was really looking forward to that.  However we all headed to the SPA instead. I know it was a tough call but I made the sacrifice and got a really cute pedicure instead.  The ocean views from the One Ocean SPA were gorgeous.

Char-Broil Spa


After the relaxation we had a very serious event. It was the 2013 Char-Broil All Star Throwdown Competition.  This is an annual event with no monetary prizes but bragging rights.  We randomly pull numbers to find your partner and then you get grilling. My partner this year was the lovely Jane Bonacci “The Heritage Cook” She was an excellent partner and we worked very well together.

Blackbox Competition Char-Broil 2013



The black box competition contained: Calamari, Semi Sweet Dark Chocolate, blood oranges, Prawns, Snapper, sun dried tomatoes & Collard greens. We were required to use every mandatory item.

We had old Bay seasoning, salt, pepper, thyme, parsley, olive oil, lemons and hot sauce as pantry items. Plus wood planks if we wanted.

I think we made something spectacular. We had 22 minutes. Thats all the time we had from start to finish to grill, photograph and present to the judges. Our judges were the VP of Char-Broil Marketing Michelle Zeller, a ONE Ocean team representative, and hosted by Marketing Specialist Mary Eitel from MKE Communications.

This was our entry titled Bounty of the Sea:

Bounty of the sea. Planked seafood entry

Our entry included:

  • Smoked Calamari stuffed with grilled shrimp, charred collards, finely minced sun dried tomatoes and seasonings
  • Louisiana grilled shrimp
  • Shrimp stuffed sea shells
  • Blood Orange chocolate reduction
  • Thyme grilled snapper

Jane made the absolutely amazing Blood orange,chocolate reduction for the plank that paired beautifully with the snapper.  Make sure you check out her Chocolate Monday post next week for the recipe.

The competition was intense and all of the teams put out some incredible food. Very glad to report that Jane and I won the competition and the bragging rights for the next year. Trophy widget will be coming soon from the always helpful Michael Williams Char-Broils Multi Media Content Specialist and Community Manager.

After the contest we celebrated with some refreshing cocktails and a wonderful Grouper dinner oceanside.  A great time was had by all. Its really great to hear of all the Char-Broil All Star’s successes. These are some seriously talented people that make amazing food!! Make sure to check out their blog Posts on Char-Broil and their own personal websites.

BBQ Cocktail

This event is always jam-packed with information, interesting education sessions and lots of laughter with my fellow Char-Broil All Stars. Looking forward to seeing them all sooner than later.

Just a reminder: 

As one of the Char-Broil All star bloggers I get to share a really great deal for my readers & followers.  Char-Broil has given me a code to post for the year for 25% off. Thats a big chunk of change to save.

Diva Q Big Deal


This code will give  25% OFF All Grills and Cookers on  Pls note it is not applicable to parts but to grills & accessories only. This code & link below is valid until December 2013. Just use the code when you are checking out and click the link below:



Char-Broil 4 out of 5 say its better



A couple of weeks ago I had the great opportunity to head to Atlanta Georgia for the Char-Broil All Star Blogger Event. It was a really interesting event that brought together some of the fine folks from Char-Broil and some of the All Star Bloggers:

Julie Reinhardt From She Smoke

Catherine Mayhew -Put Some South in My Mouth

Christo Gonzales-Chez What?

Scott Thomas-Grillin’ Fools

Curt McAdams-Live Fire

David Olson-A Bachelor & His Grill

Barry Martin – Chief Grilling Officer Charbroil

Attending from Char-Broil

Michelle Zeller, VP Marketing
Michael Williams, Social Media
Jose R. Mendez, Director of Innovation
Alex Gafford. Vice President, Director of Research and Development
 Mary Eitel, Public Relations

The team from Char-Broil did an exemplary job of going through the amazing technology of TRU Infrared grilling and the entire lineup of Char-Broil grills and accessories. We also discussed the Company and its strategic goals. In addition we also talked about the Corporate culture of Char-Broil.  They take great care and pride in their employees.


The backdrop for the event was a beautiful place called Serenbe.

Serenbe is a 1,000 acre community located under 30 minutes from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson
International Airport. It is a national model for the future of balanced development in the U.S.—
focusing on land preservation, agriculture, energy efficiency, green building, walkability, high density
building, arts and culture, and community living for multiple generations. With a projected 70% of
future building occurring in the greenfield, Serenbe demonstrates how urban development models
can succeed on the edge of a metropolis while preserving a vast majority of the greenspace. Serenbe’s
ultimate goal is to demonstrate how development can accommodate the need for housing with minimal
impact on nature—Serenbe’s land plan call for a preservation of at least 70% of the acreage, while
accommodating as many or more people as traditional subdivision-style development, which would
disturb nearly 80%.

To say Serenbe is beautiful would do it a disservice. It is an absolute haven. It was incredibly relaxing to stay there. At every corner there was organic vegetation, hundreds of trails and beautiful gardens.



The private home I shared with Catherine and Julie was amazing. Just a lovely home that was warm and accommodating. So much better than a hotel.



We had the opportunity to dine at the Farmhouse a couple of times.

As Proprietress Of The Farmhouse, Marie Nygren Reinforces Farm-To-Table Movement, Authentic Southern Hospitality & Family Heritage

It was a great place to also converse with everyone from Char-Broil and the All Star Bloggers. The food was very good and the hospitality incredible.

The event culminated in a BBQ battle of epic proportions. A Grilling event like no other. A black box event which pitted the bloggers in teams to use any Char-Broil grill to the best of their abilities in a timed contest. We had no idea the contents. To say it was challenging was an understatement. The ingredients were Whole chicken, pineapple, crunchy peanut butter, fennel, bacon and blue cheese.

The judges were VP of Marketing Michelle Giroux Zeller, Jose R. Mendez, Director of Innovation and Alex Gafford Vice President, Director of Research and Development.

*Picture courtesy of Char-Broil 

The ingredient lineup. Lots of great sauces and rubs from Char-Broil too!


Chief Grilling Officer Barry Martin & I sharing a laugh.

By good fortune I was partnered up with Catherine Mayhew. She is such a lovely woman and has some terrific skills.

It was truly a collaborative effort. We worked together and made a beautiful dish of grilled fennel salad with grilled pineapple orange chicken, blue cheese crumbles and topped with bacon. We also made some very unique tropical appetizer bites of grilled pineapple with a very unique chunky peanut butter Char-Broil Memphis BBQ sauce glaze and topped with grilled bacon and segments of orange.

We came in second and received an honorable mention. The winner team was the dynamic duo of Chef Christo and Scott Thomas. They had an outstanding chicken dish chock full of flavor.

In addition to the fun chopped competition we got to play on a variety of Char-Broil grills. It was really fun to see so much creativity on the grills and it was a great experience. I liked understanding the versatility of the Char-Broil product line and how they can compliment my own charcoal and pellet grill line up at home.

The last stop of the day for me was a tour of HGTV’s Green Home Giveaway at Serenbe. I can’t post the pictures of the interior until after the giveaway but the home was really interesting to tour.  Very interesting design.


I realized just how different all of our personalities were and how much I enjoyed being with my fellow bloggers. All of us have  unique passion for food and fun. Great to meet them all and get reacquainted with the people I knew already.

The trip was very fun and I came home with lots of ideas on how to utilize my Char-Broil Infrared Grill. Its a great addition to my backyard lineup.  Many thanks to Mary, Barry, Michelle and the entire staff at Char-Broil for inviting me to this event. It was great fun and educational too.


Here is how you can follow the Char-Broil All Star Bloggers that attended the event- they have a terrific assortment of blogs, pintrest, twitter and facebook accounts.


Julie Reinhardt 

She Smoke BBQ Blog 

Smokin Pete’s BBQ 

She Smoke on Facebook

She Smoke on Twitter



Chef Christo Gonzales

Chez What?  Blog

Chef Christo on Facebook 

Chef Christo on Twitter


Curt McAdams

LiveFire Online

Curt McAdams on Twitter

CurtMcAdams on Facebook 


Catherine Mayhew

The South in my Mouth Blog

The South in my Mouth Pinterest 


Scott Thomas 

Grilling Fools Website 

Grillin Fools on Facebook

Grilling Fools on Twitter


David Olson

A Bachelor & His Grill Blog

A Bachelor & His Grill Facebook

A Bachelor & His Grill Pinterest