foodie b’eat: Get Ready for Competition Dining’s Final Fire!

You know I LOVE THE Got To Be NC Competition Dining Series. So much so that I have worked at the event. It’s so much fun and incredibly delicious. And we’ve really been introduced to some rising stars through this competition. Well tickets to Final Fire go on sale this week. Check out the latest:


Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series Announces Chef Brackets and Ticket Sales for
Statewide Championship, Final Fire

Interactive Dinner Competition Returns to Raleigh for Championship Battles Nov. 19 to 22

Raleigh, North Carolina – Oct. 22, 2014 – The Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series, a tournament highlighting the best of the state’s food, agriculture and culinary talent, is gearing up for its Final Fire series in which five chefs from across North Carolina will battle it out to take home the statewide championship. Community members are invited to attend the tournament’s four live dinner events, savoring the six-course meal and serving as judges, from Nov. 19 to 22 in Raleigh. Tickets to these interactive battles go on sale Wednesday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. at http://www.competitiondining.com and are guaranteed to sell out quickly.

The five competing chefs won their regional series to move on to earn a place at Final Fire. It’s all part of the 2014 Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series, a single-elimination, Iron Chef-style challenge between local chefs across North Carolina. Regional series included Wilmington, Asheville, Greensboro, Raleigh and Charlotte, with eight to 16 talented chefs competing in each tournament.

The five winning chefs, representing some of the best North Carolina culinary talent, recently drew knives to determine the championship bracket for the upcoming Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series Final Fire, which is scheduled as follows:

Nov. 19 Dinner: Fire on the Dock Champion Antoine Murray of Cape Fear Country Club in Wilmington, versus Fire on the Rock Champion Michelle Bailey of Season’s at Highland Lake in Flat Rock
Nov. 20 Dinner: Fire in the City Champion Jon Fortes of Mimosa Grill in Charlotte, versus Nov. 19 winner
Nov. 21 Dinner: Fire in the Triad Champion Tim Thompson of Marisol Restaurant in Greensboro, versus Fire in the Triangle Champion Dean Thompson of Flights in Raleigh
Nov. 22 Championship Dinner: Nov. 20 winner, versus Nov. 21 winner

Along with bragging rights, at stake in the Final Fire series is a grand prize of $4,000 cash, two handmade chef knives by Ironman Forge and a trip to the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley, California, compliments of Kikkoman and the Pro Chef Program.

In each of the Final Fire dinner battles, just as each dinner throughout the year-long Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series, two participating chefs each prepare three courses centered on a secret or featured ingredient that comes from a North Carolina farmer or artisan producer. Featured ingredients are revealed to the chefs only an hour before they start cooking that day and must be used in each course.

At the dinner events, ticketed guests get in on the action, savoring the combined six courses without knowing which chef prepared each plate. Alongside culinary and guest judges, diners rate each dish using an interactive app, ultimately determining who moves on to the next round and who goes home.

“North Carolinians are really getting into these interactive events; we’ve had such an amazing response from fans across the state,” said Jimmy Crippen, Competition Dining Series founder and host. “With the level of talent competing, the four Final Fire dinner battles are sure to be extremely competitive and entertaining for everyone in attendance. It’s the culmination of the fun, creativity and talent we’ve seen throughout the year and we expect tickets to sell out really fast – in fact, last year’s Final Fire tickets sold out within eight minutes. Those interested should be online and ready when the tickets are released!”

All Final Fire events are held at Renaissance North Hills Raleigh, located at 4100 Main at North Hills Street. Tickets to attend the first three battles are $129 each excluding beverage, tax and tip. Tickets for the final championship battle are $139 each excluding beverage, tax and tip. Learn more and buy tickets starting Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. via http://www.competitiondining.com.

About The Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series
The Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series is sponsored by the NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Pate Dawson-Southern Foods, Certified Angus Beef®, Pepsi Bottling Ventures, the NC Wine & Grape Council, Hits Technology and local partners in each region of the state. The goal of the series is to celebrate local North Carolina products and agriculture, and to showcase the culinary ingenuity and talent across the state. For more information, visit http://www.competitiondining.com or get in on the conversation at http://www.facebook.com/competitiondining and @CompDiningNC on Twitter or Instagram.

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Seasons Change

triadfoodies:

I know where I’m gonna eat when I get to Charlotte. Much love to you Chef.

Originally posted on Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen:

As I look out of the window on this overcast day, I can’t help but think about the fact that summer is fading and all of the lovely produce that we have been enjoying recently will not reappear for months. However, I rejoice at what is to come – although autumn’s bounty is less celebrated than summer’s, it is no less delectable.

In the same spirit, I would like to share with you that I have accepted a position with a restaurant in Charlotte, so I will be handing over the reins of culinary operations at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen in Greensboro to our general manager Felicia McMillan and her more-than-capable team. Felicia is not new to this, she has been with this outfit for 12+ years, including five as Chef de Cuisine. I have no doubts that she and her colleagues will carry the southern culinary baton like championship…

View original 225 more words

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Competition Dining Chefs Fire It Up at the New Belk Home Store

It’s so fun to be a part of whatever Competition Dining is doing. On Thursday, August 14, the Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series and Belk celebrated the new freestanding Belk Store (604 Green Valley Rd.) in Greensboro with a unique, interactive cooking class that taught us how to to cook like a Competition Dining Series chef! If you missed it, don’t despair, all the pics and even recipes are below.

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This is the first freestanding Belk Home Store devoted solely to tabletop and housewares. The  store has a tremendous selection of high-end kitchenware…some of which were put into action at the event. Two of the 2014 Fire in the Triad quarterfinalists – Chef Chris Russell of B. Christopher’s in Greensboro and Chef Kevin Reddick of Artisan Restaurant in Winston-Salem, shared some of their tricks of the trade with an onsite cooking demo. AND we got to taste the deliciousness and took home some recipes to boot! Some lucky winners even got to take home some Got to be NC swag. Belk also gave away an incredible Le Crueset grill pan to one of our winners.

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Chef Chris Russell

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Chef Kevin Reddick

These two chefs are very engaging and are at the helm of two of the Triad’s yummiest kitchens. We encourage you to give them each a try very soon! Chef Kevin shared with us a Marinated Tomatoes and Compressed Watermelon with Grouper. He vacuum sealed the melon on-site which gave the melon an interesting texture as well as intense flavor. Then he seared the grouper and placed it on top of the melon and tomato. Wonderful! His second dish was a Virginia Lump Crab Cake with Summer Corn Aioli. Chef also juiced corn with a juicer provided by Belk (juicing corn!!) and used that juice to add sweetness to his aioli and just added a hint of corn flavor. A delightfully different twist to a traditional aioli.

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Chef Chris Russell’s first dish was a Mini Crab Cake with Roasted Corn and Tomato Relish, which is one of his specialties at his restaurant. He seared his crab cakes but finished them in an “not so conventional” oven for our demo. The corn relish was really great and summery. Chef’s second dish was an Applewood Smoked Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp with a great horseradish marmalade. There’s just something about bacon cooking, right?

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Ahh…the smells. The tastes! The chefs. So friendly and fun to watch. And these guys are busy…just after our event, Chef Russell headed out to cater a party for Crosby, Stills & Nash. How rockin’! And the following Monday, Chef Reddick was a featured chef at Dates Make a Difference’s Eat for a Cause.

The Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series is unlike any other dinner experience in the country! It’s a single-elimination tournament highlighting the best of the state’s food, agriculture and culinary talent. The competition hosts five regional tournaments throughout the year, including the surrounding markets for Wilmington, Asheville, Greensboro, Raleigh and Charlotte. The 2014 Fire in the Triad series pitted 16 top local chefs against each other this past April through June until a final winner emerged. You can find all of the results from the regional competition here. And next year, be sure to attend. It will be an evening you won’t soon forget!

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From the Kitchen of Kevin Reddick | Artisan Restaurant | Winston-Salem, NC
Recipe: Marinated Tomatoes and Compressed Watermelon with N.C. Grouper

Ingredients:

3 large heirloom tomatoes 2 Tbsp. basil
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 2 Tbsp. sliced chives

1 ripe watermelon
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
4 (4-6 oz) portions fresh grouper Vacuum seal bags
Vacuum sealer

Method:

For the melon: Dice melon into 1/2” cubes, reserving as much liquid as possible. 2 cups total. Slice chives very thin and harvest at least 2 tsp. Put 1/2 melon in each bag, cover with juice, a touch of kosher salt, 1/2 tsp. chives, and seal. Chill for 2 to 4 hours.

For the tomatoes: Slice 3 tomatoes into steaks (slices). Toss in bowl with 2 tsp. kosher salt, 1 tsp. fresh ground pepper, 2 Tbsp. basil, and 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil. Place in single layer in flat dish, cover, and chill for

2 to 4 hours, turning once.

For the fish: Heat cast iron skillet or pan of choice, add grape seed oil and cook until 120 to 130 degrees, turning once.

Place tomatoes and melon on serving platter of choice and top with seared grouper. Drizzle with good finishing quality olive oil, eat and enjoy!

From the Kitchen of Kevin Reddick | Artisan Restaurant | Winston-Salem, NC
Recipe: Virginia Lump Crab Cake with Summer Corn Aioli

Ingredients:

3-4 ears of fresh corn 1/2 cup corn juice
1 1/4 cups mayo
1 egg

2 Tbsp. chopped shallots 2 Tbsp. sliced chives
1/2 tsp. red chili powder 1/2 tsp. old bay

Zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs Juicer
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper

Method:

For the aioli: Harvest 1/2 cup corn juice and combine with 3/4 cup mayo and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt.
Chill for at least 1 hour.

For the crab cake: Drain and pick crab. Add all ingredients except breadcrumbs and gently combine. Add breadcrumbs and gently fold in. Portion into cakes and chill for at least 1 hour. Sauté until 120 degrees and golden brown on both sides. Place on plate with dollop of aioli and serve with your favorite sides or a nice summer salad.

From the Kitchen of Chris Russell | B. Christopher’s | Greensboro, NC
Recipe: Mini Crab Cakes with Roasted Corn and Tomato Relish

Ingredients:

1# jumbo lump crab meat
1/2 finely diced red bell pepper
1/2 finely diced white onion
3 Tbsp. mayo
3 Tbsp. panko (Japanese) bread crumbs 1/2 tsp. whole grain mustard
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 ears silver queen corn (in husk)
3 Roma tomatoes. diced
1/2 finely diced red onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Juice of one lime
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Sweat pepper and onion in sauté pan with olive oil. Set aside. Mix mayo, mustard and lemon juice in mixing bowl. Add crab meat, bread crumbs, salt and pepper and fold trying not to break apart the crab lumps. Refrigerate for 30 min. Shape into small patties. In a hot oiled pan, brown both sides for approximately 30 seconds or until golden brown and set aside. Finish in a 350 degree pre-heated oven for 8-10 minutes. Serve with lemon-dill sauce.

For the salsa: With husks on, roast corn on pan sheet in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 40 minutes or until husks are completely brown in color. Let sit to cool. Unwrap corn and shave kernels off the cob. Mix all ingredients in mixing bowl and let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving to let the mixture marry together for best flavor. Serve with crab cakes.

From the Kitchen of Chris Russell | B. Christopher’s | Greensboro, NC
Recipe: Applewood Smoked Bacon – Wrapped Shrimp

Ingredients:

Peeled and deveined white shrimp (tail on)

Applewood smoked bacon slices (thick cut)

6 inch skewers
Good quality orange marmalade Horseradish to taste

Method:

Wrap each shrimp with one piece of bacon, leaving tail exposed.

Skewer two shrimp per skewer.
Grill on Panini grill until bacon is cooked through.

Combine orange marmalade with horseradish to taste.

Serve the shrimp skewers with horseradish-orange marmalade dipping sauce or any favorite sauce.