Cooking it up big time!

First Posted: 6/9/2009

Jeff Stager and Danny Speer have been two partners in swine since they started learning how to cook from hanging over their grandmothers shoulders when they were kids.
Ever since then, the barbecue grilling duo has shared its love of cooking by providing meals and entertainment for family and friends, and the partners even started their own catering business, Titans of Taste, in August 2008.
The favorite pastime landed the pair as Mount Airys first home-town team to compete in the Mayberry Days Cook Off, which it won second place in 2008.
Stager and Speers obvious passion for cooking led their family and friends to nominate the pair for LIVEs Ultimate Hometown Grill Off, a barbecue cooking contest sponsored by LIVE! with Regis and Kelly.
Having to part ways with their original barbecue recipes, they entered them in the contest and were selected as participants in the national contest last month.
Now as part of the final four contestants, they are required to make a one-minute video set to air on LIVE! with Regis and Kelly for the nation to vote on who it thinks should be the final two.
Speer filmed the video Tuesday afternoon, with the help of the Surry Arts Council, in front of the Andy Griffith Playhouse, the place where he said it all started and theyve been grillin and chillin ever since.
The video was filmed by Video Works of North Carolina on Franklin Street and featured the squad tour, the TV Land statue of Andy and Opie, Floyds Barber Shop and the Titans of Taste grill.
The show called us last minute around 4 p.m. yesterday. They asked us to make a one-minute video, said Speer, 33, shortly after filming for about an hour. He represented Titans of Taste by himself on the video.
Stager was out of town, but he shared his enthusiasm via phone.
Im ecstatic about anything that challenges us to make us better. It seemed like the perfect opportunity, he said Tuesday night. Weve been cooking for years, everything we cook people have rave reviews about, it just made sense for us to come together for a business. We enjoy what we do, its a labor of love, its our name, our representation.
Speer said he was also really excited about the opportunity and added that regardless of how far they make it in the contest, he was excited to have the national publicity for their business.
We love what we do, weve always cooked together, he said. It all started with Mayberry Days, weve really expanded since last year.
Their services range from backyard barbecues to custom parties including options for providing decorations, wait staff and entertainment. Their Tongue Slappin Sauce can even be purchased at the Mount Airy Meat Center and G&B Energy in Pilot Mountain.
Speer said theyve also helped with various charity events including one that helped raised money for a boy with leukemia.
Stagers mother, Mary Joyce, said that their business has flourished as a family business.
Its really a family business, the kids make sandwiches, the spouses are out running for supplies, they stay up all night slow roasting, she said.
For her birthday two years ago, she said Stager and Speer surprised her with a huge birthday bash in which they stayed up cooking all night and invited 200 people.
It was really the best birthday, she said.
If viewers vote them as the top two final contestants, they could win an all-expense paid trip to New York where theyll have the chance to grill a recipe on LIVE!, compete for the coveted Ultimate Hometown Grill Recipe title and appear in an upcoming issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine.
Stager said he hopes the exposure brings their business to a new level of recognition.
It would help us as a business with national notoriety (and to) compete on a national level. I hope it makes our business grow leaps and bounds Im ready for the Food Network, he said, laughing.
To learn more about Titans of Taste, visit
Contact Erin C. Perkins at [email protected] or 719-1952.

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