Thursday, December 27, 2012

Best things from 2012...

Yes! Weekly looks back on all things food from 2012. Guess who won the "Best Food-Related Event"!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

We love cooking. And we love competitive cooking. But we also love people who write about our competitive cooking.

And that's exactly what Mackensey Lunsford of the Asheville Citizen-Times did in advance of our upcoming "Got to Be N.C." Fire on the Rock series in Asheville, where she'll be serving as guest judge.

If you're a journalist interested in being a judge for future events, contact us here or on Twitter @CompDiningNC. In the meantime, check out Mackensey's piece here and pick up tickets for the event here.

“Got To Be N.C.” Competition Dining Series announces chef battle bracket for Fire on the Rock-Asheville

The competition at Lioncrest on Biltmore fires up on Jan. 14 with the first of 7 dinners. Check out the brackets below. Tickets available at

The 2013 “Got To Be N.C.” Competition Dining Series has announced the eight chefs chosen to compete in the preliminary Asheville rounds of Fire on the Rock, which kick off Jan. 14.

Sponsored by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Southern Foods-Pate Dawson, the inaugural Asheville competition will pit eight of Asheville’s best chefs in an Iron Chef-style competition. The Fire on the Rock-Asheville finalist will go head-to-head with the Fire on the Rock- Blowing Rock finalist in Blowing Rock on April 30.

Below are the participating chefs and the dates for the dinners to be held at Lioncrest on Biltmore in Asheville. All dinners start at 6:30 pm.

Jan. 14

Peter Pollay of Posana Café versus Scott Wallace of RankinVault

Jan. 15

Adam Hayes of The RedStag Grill versus John Strauss of Hobnob

Jan. 16

Matthew Miner of The Asheville Public versus Jason Brian of Jack of the Wood

Jan. 17

Jason Roy of Lexington Avenue Brewery versus Mauricio Abreu of Chef Mo’s

Jan. 22

Jan. 14 winner versus Jan. 15 winner

Jan. 23

Jan. 16 winner versus Jan. 17 winner

Jan. 30

Jan. 22 winner versus Jan. 23 winner

From left to right:

Matthew Miner, Asheville Public
Scott Wallace, Rankin Vault
Jason Roy, Lexington Ave. Brewery
Mauricio Abreu, Chef Mo’s
Jason Brian, Jack of the Wood
John Strauss, Hobnob
Adam Hayes, The Red Stag Grill
Peter Pollay, Posana Cafe


Fire on the Rock opens series in January with a new Asheville venue


Chefs challenged to bring on the fire in 2013 “Got To Be N.C.” Competition Dining Series

ASHEVILLE, N.C.— North Carolina chefs are sharpening their knives—and their culinary skills—as the “Got To Be N.C.” Competition Dining Series kicks off its second year of statewide competition. Sponsored by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture (NCDA) and Pate Dawson-Southern Foods, the “Got To Be N.C.” Competition Dining Series pits North Carolina’s top chefs in five regional Iron Chef-style competitions that culminate with the battle of the regional champions at the Final Fire event in November.

In this unique experience, diners sample six gourmet dishes prepared by two competing chefs and vote after savoring each dish. Diners’ critiques can count up to 70 percent of the score with select judges determining up to 30 percent. Each chef builds the courses around a “secret” North Carolina ingredient selected by the NCDA, which is revealed less than an hour before the chefs start to prep the night’s meal.

Fire on the Rock kicks off January 14 at Lioncrest on the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. Eight chefs from the area will battle during preliminary rounds January 14-17, followed by the semi-finals January 22-23, with the Fire on the Rock-Asheville finalist determined on January 30. Tickets for the event will be available on Saturday, December 15, and can only be purchased at

"As we looked to expand in 2013 we knew we had to engage the amazing culinary talent that resides in Asheville and the lower mountain region,” said Fire on the Rock founder Jimmy Crippen.  “Competition Dining was born in the mountains, so we felt that we should incorporate the Asheville area into the original Fire on the Rock series."

The second leg of Fire on the Rock will kick off in April at Meadowbrook Inn & Suites in Blowing Rock, the birthplace of the “Got To Be N.C.” Competition Dining Series. As in Asheville, eight chefs from the area will battle during preliminary rounds April 8-11, followed by the semi-finals April 16-17, with the Fire on the Rock-Blowing Rock finalist determined on April 24.

On April 30, the Asheville finalist will go head-to-head with the Blowing Rock finalist at Meadowbrook Inn & Suites, and the top chef will be crowned Fire on the Rock champion. Each regional winner receives the coveted “Red Chef Jacket,” and advances to the Final Fire series in November 2013 to vie for the 2013 championship title and a cash prize.

Throughout the 2013 season, an estimated 10,000 guests will be served gourmet meals prepared by 80 chefs at 79 different battles. Interested in attending? Consider buying tickets early—only available online at—as nearly every battle in the 2012 season sold out. The second regional battle will kick off in February with Fire on the Dock in Wilmington, followed by Fire in the Triad in Greensboro, Fire in the Triangle in Raleigh and a new Fire in the City round in Charlotte.

For more information, visit the “Got To Be N.C.” Competition Dining Series Facebook page, YouTube channel or Twitter feed.