Tag Archives: Fire in the Triad

foodie b’eat: Got To Be NC Competition Dining Series is coming to Winston-Salem!

You may notice a few changes with Competition Dining. First, it’s now being referred to as the Got To Be NC Competition Dining Series. Gone is the “Fire in the…” title. The other BIG change is that this year it’s in WINSTON-SALEM. And it’s about time! We know we have great chefs across the Triad and especially Greensboro, but it’s time that the rest of the Triad came on over to the Twin City to see its gorgeous downtown and enjoy this competition, where plenty of WSNC chefs will be featured along with their counterparts across the county line and beyond. Take a look at the brackets which were announced today at the media event at the Benton Convention Center.

The Winston-Salem series features 16 chefs starting May 26. Here’s the official release from the Got To Be NC Competition Dining Series which lists the chefs and the match-ups. Come out for one of the greatest night’s of food…ever.  And be sure to catch the full story and some one on one interviews in the next issue of YES! Weekly coming out on May 13.

IMG_3721The Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series, a single-elimination tournament highlighting the best of the state’s food, agriculture and culinary talent, will pit 16 highly competitive chefs against each other in its upcoming regional tournament in the Triad. For the first time in competition history, the local series will be held in Winston-Salem. All of the 15 interactive battles will be hosted at the Benton Convention Center from May 26 through July 7, and tickets are now available at www.competitiondining.com/events/triad.

In every Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series dinner event, two chef teams battle it out preparing three courses each centered on a featured North Carolina ingredient that is revealed only an hour before they start cooking that day. Ticketed dinner guests savor a full-service, six-course meal without knowing which chef prepared which dishes. Unlike any other cooking competition, attendees vote on each course using a free app, and ultimately help determine who moves on to the next battle round and who goes home.

Series competitors are randomly assigned to brackets. The Triad preliminary match-up battles include:

“We’re excited to be going to Winston-Salem and really impressed by the level of culinary talent in the competition this year,” said Jimmy Crippen, Competition Dining Series founder and host. “We have chefs from Winston-Salem, Greensboro and across the state. They’ll all face off in what I know will be one of the most fun, competitive and delicious tournaments for everyone involved.”

During 2015, the Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series is hosting bracketed tournaments in three regions of the state: Raleigh, Winston-Salem, and two brackets in Charlotte. For the first time ever, the tournament will also host a bracket in South Carolina, which will be held in Greenville this summer. The five winners each receive a grand prize of $2,000, a handmade chef knife by Ironman Forge and the coveted “Red Chef Jacket” provided by ALSCO.  Additionally, all five move on to compete in the battle of champions at the end of the year.

All Triad events are held at the Benton Convention Center located at 301 W 5th Street in Winston-Salem. Tickets range from $55 to $75, excluding beverage, tax and service fee. Guests can attend as many dinners as they like and tickets must be purchased by midnight the day before a battle. Reservations are open now at www.competitiondining.com/events/triad.

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, Libbey, ALSCO, NC Egg Association, Hits Technology, Joyce Farms 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 www.competitiondining.com or get in on the conversation at www.facebook.com/competitiondining and @CompDiningNC on Twitter or Instagram.

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.


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.


Chef Chris Russell


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.

Kevin Reddicks display plate 8-14

IMG_2043   IMG_2051

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?

IMG_2022    B.Christophers crabcake with relish and aioli 8-14 IMG_2046

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!

     IMG_2029 IMG_2035  IMG_2033IMG_2044   IMG_2050

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Peeled and deveined white shrimp (tail on)

Applewood smoked bacon slices (thick cut)

6 inch skewers
Good quality orange marmalade Horseradish to taste


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.


Noble’s Grille – Home of a Champion

Image 8

On my bucket list has been Noble’s Grille. I’m a fan of Jimmy Noble. He’s a big reason Mr. foodie and I started patronizing LOCAL restaurants that serve LOCAL and regional ingredients. When you eat at one of his restaurants, you know where just about everything is coming from. The service is usually stellar and well, the food—amazing. Jimmy has since moved a lot of his business to Charlotte, but the Winston-Salem location remains.  And leading the kitchen is the super-talented and recent Got To Be NC Competition Dining’s Fire in the Triad Champion, Chef John Bobby. See his Fire in the Triad YouTube video here.

Some of you may know that I did all the tweeting and Facebooking for Competition Dining’s Fire in the Triad battle nights. Those pictures of delicious courses? All me! It was a total blast. Of course being able to taste each and every course was fabulous. In the preliminaries, Chef Bobby had a decisive win and I pretty much said I wouldn’t be surprised if he won it all. He just has a way with food. Last week and for the next 3 weeks, Chef Bobby is showcasing all his winning courses from Fire in the Triad. Last week featured Battle Hilltop Farms Ostrich. And I wasn’t about to miss it.

We got right to it and ordered the seasonal featured salad with local blackberries and blueberries and chevre. It was beautiful. The berries were sweet, succulent and were a great complement to the earthy greens.

Mixed Berry Salad w/ Chevre

Mixed Berry Salad w/ Chevre

We ordered a Charcuterie plate to go along with it. We let the Chef make the selections for it. He chose for us the Speck, Lamb Sopressatta and Lonzino for meats and two cheeses, one was a gruyere and the other? I’ve no idea. But it was kind of like a Brie. And wonderful. The speck was my favorite. And it was accompanied with pickled veggies and an eye-popping, house-made black mustard (which wasn’t black…the seeds are black).  You need just a smidge. It also had a sweet and light tomato jam.

Charcuterie Sampler

Charcuterie Sampler

Like I said, my reason for coming this particular week was because Chef Bobby was featuring his high-scoring, MIND BLOWING Ostrich from his winning first battle. Here’s the Battle Ostrich Menu.

Image 6

I came for the second course. I ordered it before I ordered my wine. They kept the order “on hold” for me, lest they run out. This ostrich is incredible, but what made it shine in the battle and this evening was the toasted farro with ostrich sausage. I mean, I’m obsessed with this combination of flavors. The peppery filet, the creamy farro with those chunks of ground sausage, pomegranate gastrique with REAL pom seeds. Heaven on a plate. One of my favorites of the competition. If you haven’t had ostrich, you must try it. It’s very lean, very healthy. Hilltop’s Paul Wagoner feeds his ostrich the spent grains from Foothills Brewery. They serve Ostrich Burgers from birds fed from their own grain. It’s a beautiful circle of sustainability.

Peppered Ostrich Filet with Ostrich Sausage Farro

Peppered Ostrich Filet with Ostrich Sausage Farro

Isn’t it gorgeous??

Mr. foodie decided to get 2 more small plates instead of one entree. They were pretty big for something called “small.” He ordered the PEI Mussels and the Pork Belly. It was some of the best pork belly we’ve every tried. And the mussels and their broth were delicious.

Image 15 Image 2

You see those pork cracklins? I ordered a box of them. Yes, I did.

In between “courses” I peered inside the open kitchen to get a few pictures of Chef Bobby “chef-ing.”

Image 10

Chef John Bobby, moving too fast for clear a shot

Image 9

Image 20

If you’ll check out the menu above, you’ll notice dessert was a devil’s food cake that is served with strawberries. Chef Bobby’s wife, Lucia, was his pastry chef at Fire. She works at the Ritz Carton in Charlotte. He’s replicating the desserts she made (which scored HUGE points because they were AMAZING) on his own because he IS his pastry chef at Noble’s. Ostrich for dessert? You bet! Thinly sliced and cocoa dusted. I was too full to order it, but if you were brave it would’ve looked like this. (Photo courtesy of Competition Dining).

Course 6 Battle HIlltop Ostrich

Devil’s Food Cake, Cocoa Dusted Ostrich, Strawberry Consomme, Chocolate Chantilly (Photo: Courtesy Competition Dining)

It’s not every day that you get to eat at the restaurant of a Champion Chef. But you can, anytime! They are sure proud of him at Noble’s Grille. They have the best representation of his
win on display in the foyer. The Red Chef’s Jacket! There aren’t many of these floating around NC.

Image 16

The coveted “Red Chef’s Jacket” from Competition Dining

I’m guessing that this week features Battle Chocolate. Next week will feature Cheese & Honey and in two weeks, the Championship battle: Bacon & Butt. And you will want to try them. AND save room for dessert for goodness sake!

Chef Bobby and the winners of Fire on the Rock, Fire in the Triangle, Fire on the Dock and Fire in the City (Charlotte) will battle it out for the title of BEST CHEF in NC in November. Best of luck, Chef John Bobby.  We know you will do the Triad proud.

 Have you ever tried Chef Bobby’s food? What’s your favorite dish at Noble’s Grille?

Noble's Grille on Urbanspoon