1.14.2015

Ticket Giveaway: NC Chefs to Battle it Out in Annual Competition Dining Series.

North Carolina has a "Super Bowl" of its own in the state, and it's just getting started. The Carolina Panthers may be out, but your favorite chef is just firing up. The event to see this year is the The “Got To Be NC” Competition Dining Series. 


2015 Triangle area chefs compete in "Got to Be NC" Competition Dining Series
2015 Triangle area chefs compete in "Got to Be NC" Competition Dining Series

The brackets are out, and I'm going to help you get a front row seat for a six-course dinner created around North Carolina ingredients. 

Battle Apple Mill Apple Butter, Atlantic Caviar & Biltmore Winery Sparkling Wine Blanc de Blanc: NC  Competition Dining Series
Battle Apple Mill Apple Butter, Atlantic Caviar & Biltmore Winery Sparkling Wine Blanc de Blanc

Here's the fun part about this competition. There is a secret ingredient for each dinner, and the chefs don't know what that ingredient will be until a few hours before guests arrive. Each chef has to make three dishes using that secret ingredient. It could be chocolate or sweet potatoes or peanut butter. 


Big Spoon Roasters Peanut Pecan Butter & Panko-Crusted Lamb with Goat Cheese Crème Fraîche Mousse, Islander Ginger Beer & Basil Vinaigrette, Pickled Windcrest Farm Organics Ginger, Beet & Ginger Beer-Marinated Dry Apple Salad
Big Spoon Roasters Peanut Pecan Butter & Panko-Crusted Lamb with Goat Cheese Crème Fraîche Mousse, Islander Ginger Beer & Basil Vinaigrette, Pickled Windcrest Farm Organics Ginger, Beet & Ginger Beer-Marinated Dry Apple Salad

Peaches or blackberries. It could be heirloom pork. It could be NC beer, or TOPO whiskey.  It could be several ingredients. No one knows until that day. This competition is quite a challenge, and the chefs are vying for a 2,000 cash prize and a coveted red chef jacket. 

In a blind tasting (don't worry...neither you or the chefs are blindfolded), you get to rate the dish put before you by using a fun phone app. At the end of the evening, the system computes a winner based on the scores for each dish. 

Competition Dining Course 1 battle Pepsi and Sweet potatoes   Brown Butter Roasted NC Flounder, Bourbon-Pepsi Sausage Meat Pie with a Bacon, Sweet Potato & Kale Crust, Apple-Pistachio Butter
Competition Dining Course 1 battle Pepsi and Sweet potatoes (2014)

Brown Butter Roasted NC Flounder, Bourbon-Pepsi Sausage Meat Pie with a Bacon, Sweet Potato & Kale Crust, Apple-Pistachio Butter


The winner gets to move on to the next round, and a regional chef will eventually battle it out for top honors in the state against other regional chefs at the end of the year. 

It's really exciting in person. They hype it all up. They play music. Dim the lights. It's like the Super Bowl for foodies. 

The competition is starting first in Raleigh so let's take a look at the brackets:


First-Round Brackets

 I'm going to be a guest judge (judges rankings weigh a little heavier on the point scale than the audience diners. It's kind of scary. You may even get booed, if they audience does not agree with you your choices) on Jan. 26 at the dinner between these two chefs: Christopher Hill of Faire Steak & Seafood and Teddy Diggs of Il Palio in Chapel Hill. 


Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series, Jan. 26 dinner in Raleigh
Hill vs. Diggs. They look like they are ready to rumble. 

Hill describes his cooking style as classical French foundations with Southern influences while Diggs says his is rustic and regional Italian. Their bios are strong. Diggs has cooked for the Obamas during their vacation in Martha Vineyards. He started making pizzas at local pizzeria when he was 15. Meanwhile, Hill is a chef who has worked his way up from dishwasher to Executive Chef.  He's also felt this competition pressure before. This will be his third time competing. It will be Digg's first time in the competition. Will one be more familiar cooking with the secret ingredient? Can't wait to find out later this month. 

YOUR CHANCE TO GO: 2 Tickets to Feb. 2 Dinner Giveaway

You can use this link to order your tickets to any of the dinners, including the night I'm judging. Tickets get more pricey per person as the competition gets to the finals. It is a six-course dinner though, and loads of fun. 

All Triangle events are held at 1705 Prime, located at 1705 E. Millbrook in Raleigh. Tickets to attend a preliminary battle cost $55 each and tickets for a quarterfinal battle are $59 each, excluding beverage, tax and service fee. 



Sweet Grit & Almond Cake, Vanilla Railhouse Brewery Porter Marshmallow, Buttermilk Sherbet, Pine Nut Toffee
Sweet Grit & Almond Cake, Vanilla Railhouse Brewery Porter Marshmallow, Buttermilk Sherbet, Pine Nut Toffee
Tickets to attend a semifinal battle cost $69 each and tickets for the final competition are $75 each, excluding beverage, tax and service fee.  You can attend as many dinners as you like or you can try to win tickets to the Feb. 2 match up from my blog. 


  • Feb. 2 Dinner: Spencer Carter of Weathervane in Chapel Hill, versus Rhett Morris of Rhett's Restaurant in Southern Pines  (Enter to win tickets via rafflecopter). 


Quarterfinals
  • Feb. 9 Dinner: Jan. 19 winner versus Jan. 20 winner
  • Feb. 10 Dinner: Jan. 21 winner versus Jan. 26 winner
  • Feb. 16 Dinner: Jan. 27 winner versus Jan. 28 winner
  • Feb. 17 Dinner: Feb. 2 winner versus Feb. 3 winner

Semifinals
  • Feb. 23 Dinner: Feb. 9 winner versus Feb. 10 winner
  • Feb. 24 Dinner: Feb. 16 winner versus Feb. 17 winner

Final Battle (Triangle championship event)
  • March 2 Dinner: Feb. 23 winner versus Feb. 24 winner

The Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series has the goal 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.

This giveaway ends at 12:00 am on Sunday, January 25. One winner will be chosen at random. Please share with your friends. They may want to go, too.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


See you all at competition dining!

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