MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Sushi lovers from all along the Grand Strand made their way to the Myrtle Beach Convention Center on Sunday to enjoy sushi rolls and watch as chefs participated in the first-ever sushi showdown competition.

From traditional to inventive, 20 competitors, all competing for the title of “Grand Strand Sushi Showdown Champion” pulled out all the stops to make their sushi stand out.

“I’ll give up Sunday football to come get sushi,” said Loren Wilson, a Myrtle Beach resident. “Like, come on.”

20 competitors, 55 vendors and more than 500 people showed out for the competition.

The unique event was put on by Gringo Ninja Private Chef Service.

“Oh, you know, they say it’s all about sushi, you know, and it’s different places putting on for their sushi places,” Wilson said. “And I’m a sushi fanatic. You know, I go, this is how I roll.”

The owner, Ricky Lang, has always had a love for sushi and wanted to bring the experience to the Grand Strand with the friendly competition.

“I mean, I’ve always just loved sushi,” Lang said. “That’s kind of how we got started, and I’ve been to a couple of food competitions, and I was like, ‘man, maybe sushi would just be a cool thing to do.’ So, I just kind of put it into, put it out there in the universe and it ended up happening.”

People from all over the Grand Strand came to the event, shopped and interacted with the vendors, and sampled all different types of sushi rolls.

“My God, they are on point,” Wilson said. “They brought out their A game, you know, with different sauces and meals. Like, I’m telling you.”

As chefs competed for the grand prize, participants were able to master the delicate craft of sushi rolling with tutorials from Gringo Ninja chefs.

Not only does the company serve up cuisine of your choice in your home, they love giving back and wanted to do something of their own.

“So, we decided to start a non-profit. It’s called ‘Taste for Change,'” Lang said. “It’s really just giving back to the community through food.”

People in attendance enjoyed the event so much, they hope it will be put on for years to come.

“I hope there’s going to be a second and third and fourth and fifth annual of this because it was great so far,” said Shay Williams, a Longs resident.

After this year’s turnout, Gringo Ninja plans for it to be an annual event. The proceeds raised from the showdown will go towards SC Needs Help.

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Gracie is a multimedia journalist at News 13 and is from Cleveland, Ohio. Gracie joined the team in June 2023 after graduating from the University of Alabama in May. Follow Gracie on Facebook, Instagram and X, formerly Twitter, & read more of her work here.