Matt and Amy Bell, owners of the restaurant South on Main, usually avoid cooking contests. But the cornbread festival was different. "It's more of a community project than a competition," Matt says. "And it's directly outside the restaurant." The pair won the traditional category with their classic cornbread, a recipe developed by Amy's grandmother Nellie Mae. "You don't dare mess with family recipes," Matt says. "And if you do, you better make sure they can't tell."
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and brush a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with vegetable oil.
Whisk the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg, vegetable oil and buttermilk, then fold into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combined.
Transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool 15 minutes before serving.