Saturday, February 11, 2012

Feb 7-8 Judges

We had some wonderful judges at Fire on the Rock this week who we would like to thank. This past Tuesday, we had Randy Johnson, Lynn Stallworth, and David Roger. On Wednesday we were joined by judges Heidi Billotto and Dr. Gaila Hogdin. Learn more about each of these judges below.

Randy Johnson is a mountain man with a national travel and outdoor writing reputation. He is currently the Travel Editor of National Parks Traveler. In the past, he was editor-in-chief of Hemispheres, the award-winning inflight travel magazine for United Airlines. He is also the author of many regional trail guides including HIKING NC and HIKING THE BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY. Many of you may know him as the founding editor of the THE MOUNTAIN TIMES.  

     Randy moved to the Boone area in 1978 to launch the Grandfather Mountain trail management program that helped this High Country landmark become a UN-designated International Biosphere Reserve and later a state park. Over the years, Randy helped forge the Parkway trail system at Grandfather, while reopening Blowing Rock’s Glen Burney Trail and designing a portion of the Mountains-To-Sea Trail.  

     For this week's "Fire On The Rock," Randy brought his experience reviewing and exploring restaurants all over the world for his travel writing. Learn more about Randy at his website:  Check out National Parks Traveler Web magazine at
Lynn Stallworth also lives in the Boone area. She's just returned from Food Blog South in Birmingham, Alabama, one of the top food blogging conferences in America. Lynn is a busy mom AND STUDENT with two teenagers in her house. She couldn't wait to actually sit still during this week's competition!  You can learn more about Lynn and her cravings and cooking at

David Rogers is editor and publisher of the Blowing Rock News at This online magazine has faithfully covered FIRE ON THE ROCK since its inception with the fastest updates and publishing schedule in the High Country. You will likely see David at every single competition. We asked him to weigh in from a culinary perspective, and you're likely to hear what it was like for him in his coverage online.

Heidi Billotto is a food writer and editor, a cooking instructor, caterer and Charlotte media personality. As food editor for Charlotte Living Magazine, Heidi is always on top of the Charlotte and regional dining scene, making restaurant suggestions and covering all kinds of culinary destinations. She is a frequent guest on WCNC’s Charlotte Today and WBTV’s The Morning Show in addition to many Charlotte radio shows.

     She teaches cooking classes at Reid’s Fine Foods located in Charlotte’s Myers Park neighborhood and also hosts classes in her home. She offers a monthly culinary series called “On the Farm” where she teaches at local farms in and around the Queen City.

     Her blog is, and also check out for her work.

DR. Gaila Hodgin is a Culinary Arts teacher at Avery High School in Newland, NC. Her creative, dedicated students have won state and national recognition for their outstanding performance at high school competitions in North Carolina and throughout the country.

     Many of her students have gone on to attend culinary school. In fact, one student graduated from Cordon Bleu in Paris and now works professionally in Oregon.

     She has served in many leadership capacities, both at her school and in her profession.
She’s served as Secretary for the High Country Chef and Cooks Association, part of the American Culinary Federation and as Secretary of the Culinary, Hospitality, Tourism, Educators Alliance--a state group that serves to bring educators and business people together.

     Dr. Hodgin brought an impressive collegiate record with her when she relocated from Greensboro, North Carolina to the mountains.  She served as an administrator and professor at UNC-G’s School of Home Economics and Education and has also taught at the University of South Carolina and at Hood College in Frederick, MD.

Thanks to all of these outstanding judges for giving up their time to judge FIRE ON THE ROCK!!

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