Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sunday, February 24, 2013

This Week's Battle Update

This is an exciting week in the GotToBeNC Competition Dining Series as three veterans looking for redemption take on three newcomers to Fire On The Dock!

Monday, Feb. 25th veteran Docker Chef Clarke Merrell of Circa 81 in Morehead City, is poised for battle. He has been following the series all last year looking for that extra edge that will earn him the win. His competitor, Chef Shane Tyner of King Neptune in Wrightsville Beach has taken this restaurant to new levels of culinary excitement, and with his focus on discipline Shane has the commitment of a kamikaze to  let noone stand in his way.

Tuesday, Feb. 26th Chef Joshua Woo of downtown Wilmington's YoSake restaurant surprised everyone with win against local competition Bento Box as diners learned that it's not always about the style and reputation of the restaurant, but the talent that lies within the chef leading the charge. He knows what to expect and may have a few tricks up his sleeve. He battles Chef Mark Andrews of the Bald Head Island Country Club, finalist for NCDA's Best Dish in NC contest. Mark has the knowledge, wisdom and maturity to come into this competition swinging as serving over 100 guests multi-course dinners comes easy to the club chef.

Wednesday, Feb. 27th is the man with the most to prove as Chef Gerry Fong of Persimmons in New Bern gets back in the game. Last year Gerry went all the way to the Grand Finale but fell short. That didn't stop him from solidifying his the reputation as an insanely talented chef. Also, if you want to know who had the most fun throughout last year's series, hands down it was Gerry Fong! But standing in his way is a chef they call "Firetruck"! Chef James Rivenbark of Wrightsville Beach's South Beach Grill. He earned the name Firetruck because you can definitely see him coming and nothing gets in his way! James attended Fire On The Dock last week to get a feel for the game as he is preparing to change the color of his chef coat from blue to red as he tries to earn the coveted red chef's jacket.

Tickets are still available for this week's battles. Just click here and pick your battles !

Saturday, February 23, 2013

fire on thedock  
Check out Chef Joanie Babcock's Newsletter written below. This chef embodies what competition dining is all about! It was a pleasure having you in the series Team Southern Exposure! JC

Friday & Saturday Specials

Grilled Green Acre Farms Shitake "Bulgogi" Mushrooms Sesame Fried Rice

Brothers Farm Kohlrabi Soup with Kohlrabi Leaf Pesto

Fried Calamari, Parmesan-Pepperoncini, Garlic Aioli

Grilled Bluefin Tuna, Green Onion-Wasabi Sauce, Jasmine Pea Pilaf
 Grilled Australian Waygu Strip Steak, Blue butter, Pomme Frits

Marion Blackberry Baklava

Sunday Brunch

Sage and Thyme Roast, Pork Steamship
Honey-Pecan Sweet Potatoes
Butter Beans & Corn

  Dear Foodies,
We are coming to you live from beautiful downtown Faison. I would like to thank all of our customers who attended" Fire on the Dock," Wednesday night! You made it a special night for me, to look out there and see so many of you who made the trip for my team and Southern Exposure. Amazing! 
  We arrived in Wilmington at 10am, unloaded, and sat nervously waiting to look at the truck full of veggies, spices, nuts, shrimp, veal, pork, lamb, a pantry on wheels! As we walked up the plank to the truck my knees were shaking. The sun was shining, the smell of salt air, the smell of fear.
  As we met upstairs at the Bluewater Grill to find out our "secret ingredient" and to meet Mark Lawson our opposition from the Blockade Runner. A little guy with his Sous Chef and 15 year old daughter. What! Yes a very sharp little girl with a lot of determination.
We all found places to sequester our selves to plan our menu. We were so nervous and shaking, I thought I might throw up! For me I just froze, like a deer in the headlights. Nothing would come out. After mumbling down some ideas we started in. Things seemed to go smoothly, we made progress. We had surrendered our phones to make it an even playing field. Of course I was going thru separation anxiety, I did not know the time, and when I asked what time it was I wish I hadn't. At one point I looked at Miles and said I hate every minute of this, I couldn't find myself.
When it was time to start plating the 115 plates times three, I started to get into the grove and I loved it. Marks plates were beautiful and ours were not so hot.
The Chef Refs were Laurence Willard and Billy Seay to of the nicest guys ever. Billy and I got to talking and realized we knew tons of people in Charlotte. My Mentor John Berries was his best friend. My old boss Catherine Coulter, Pewter Rose, places I used to work.
Laurence made me feel strong and helped in more way than he will ever know.
When it came down to the final vote even before, I was so proud of my guys, they were champions. So was I.
  When I stepped from behind that kitchen wall and saw a sea of our customers cheering to the Rolling Stones, 'Honkey Tonk Woman" ( a song I picked).
they were cheering for us! My legs held up, knees were great, I was tired as hell. I knew that I had won in so many ways. Thank you universe!
Big thanks go out to Jimmy Crippins for his "Fire on the Dock" I told him he saved me. I have started going  to the gym, working out, doing my "Rocky" training.
Mark and I were both interviewed on The Penquin" radio station, yesterday which gave us a little more exposure. As I look back, I loved it and will do it again.

Your Chef,

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Call for Chefs! Fire on the Rock heads to birthplace, winner to compete against Asheville champ

Blowing Rock chefs should begin sharpening their knives—and their culinary skills—as the “Got To Be N.C.” Competition Dining Series heads to its birthplace, Blowing Rock. The call for applications is now open for professional chefs who will battle one-on-one against each other and be pitted against the rival Asheville chefs in the Fire on the Rock series. Applications must be received via fax by February 22nd to be considered. Click here to download the Fire on the Rock Application.

Sponsored by the N.C. Department of Agriculture, Southern Foods-Pate Dawson, Pepsi Bottling Ventures, Swisher Hygiene and Certified Angus Beef, 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.

Fire on the Rock-Blowing Rock kicks off April 8 at the Meadowbrook Inn & Suites. Eight chefs from the area will battle during preliminary rounds April 8-11, followed by the semi-finals April 16-17, and the Fire on the Rock finalist determined on April 24. The Fire on the Rock-Asheville finalist, Adam Hayes from Red Stag Grill, will go head-to-head with the Fire on the Rock-Blowing Rock finalist in Blowing Rock on April 30. Chefs can enter the competition by visiting the website. 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.

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

Friday, February 8, 2013

Fire On The Dock 2013 Bracket Announced

“Got To Be N.C.” Competition Dining Series announces chef battle bracket for Fire on the Dock
The competition at the BlueWater Grill fires up on Feb. 18 with the first of 15 dinners. Check out the brackets below. Tickets available at
WILMINGTON, N.C. (Jan. 28, 2012)— The 2013 “Got To Be N.C.” Competition Dining Series has announced the sixteen chefs chosen to compete in the preliminary rounds of Fire on the Dock, which kick off Feb. 18.
Sponsored by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Southern Foods-Pate Dawson, Fire on the Dock will pit sixteen of the area’s best chefs in an Iron Chef-style competition. The Fire on the Dock winner will go head-to-head with the other regional competition.
Below are the participating chefs and the dates for the dinners to be held at BlueWater Grill in Wrightsville Beach. All dinners start at 6:30 pm.
Feb. 18
Scott Grimm of Dockside versus Antoine Murray of Cape Fear Country Club
Feb. 19
James Doss of Rx versus Thomas Mobely of The Oceanic
Feb. 20
Mark Lawson of Blockade Runner- East Oceanfront Dining versus Joanie Babcock of Southern Exposure
Feb. 25
Clark Merrell of Circa 81 versus Shane Tyner of King Neptune
Feb. 26
Josh Woo of Yo Sake versus Mark Andrews of Bald Head Island Club
Feb. 27
Gerry Fong of Persimmons versus James Rivenbark of South Beach Grill
March 4
Brent Poteat of 22 North versus Pat Greene of Elijah’s
March 5
Kristen Mitchell of Cameo 1900 versus Josh Petty of Sweet and Savory
March 11
Feb. 18 winner versus Feb. 19 winner
March 12
Feb. 20 winner versus Feb. 25 winner
March 20
Feb. 26 winner versus Feb. 27 winner
March 21
March 4 winner versus March 5 winner
March 27
March 11 winner versus March 12 winner
March 28
March 20 winner versus March 21 winner
April 3
March 27 winner versus March 28 winner

The mission of the yearlong, statewide competition is to engage the farmer, the chef and the diner in an exciting evening of food and entertainment with the goal of promoting North Carolina chef talent and the use of local ingredients. Each of the five regional competitions feature 16 chefs and 15 single-elimination dinner battles judged by the public. This is the second year the concept has been executed statewide. It was started eight years ago by event host and founder Jimmy Crippen in Blowing Rock, N.C. at Crippen’s Country Inn and Restaurant as Fire on the Rock.

Statewide sponsors include The North Carolina Department of Agriculture (NCDA), Southern Foods-Pate Dawson, OUR STATE Magazine, Crippen’s Country Inn & Restaurant in Blowing Rock and h.ITS Technology. The Office of the State Fire Marshal in North Carolina provides information at each dinner as cooking is the number one cause of home fires and burn injuries.

How it works: Paying guests sample each course in a blind tasting alongside a panel of culinary and celebrity judges in a series of three dinner competitions. Each evening, two restaurants “battle” it out side-by-side in a single elimination, “Iron Chef”-style format. Guests savor a six-course menu (three dishes from each chef without knowing whose food they’re tasting) created around a featured ingredient. For all seven dinners, the ingredient will come from a North Carolina source. The featured ingredient is revealed to the chefs on the day of the event, and it must be used in each of their three courses.

Diners, alongside culinary and guest judges, rate each dish and determine who moves on to the next round and who goes home.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Chef Adam Hayes at Red Stag Grill Wins “Got To Be N.C.” Competition Dining Series Fire on the Rock-Asheville

The heat was on Jan. 30 as two of Asheville’s premier chefs battled it out during the “Got To Be N.C.” Competition Dining Series Fire on the Rock-Asheville finals. Chef Adam Hayes and his team from Red StagGrill took home the bragging rights after six fierce courses split with the Lexington Avenue Brewery’s Chef Jason Roy.

At Biltmore’s Lioncrest, over 120 diners immersed themselves in the night of deliciousness while they eagerly awaited the final results from event host and founder, Jimmy Crippen. Crippen discussed the day’s events with each chef before revealing the scores for all six courses. Chef Hayes and his team will advance on to the Fire on the Rock finals, where he will go head-to-head with winner of the Fire on the Rock-Blowing Rock on April 30. The Fire on the Rock champion will take home the coveted “Red Chef Jacket,” and will advance to the Final Fire series in November 2013 to vie for the 2013 championship title and a cash prize.

Competition Dining challenges the chefs to use two featured ingredients grown or produced in North Carolina. This battle, Battle Certified Angus Beef® and Texas Pete were the chosen components to bewitch the judges and a full house of diners. The chefs were required to use the ingredients in each of their three courses, and were not privy to the secret ingredients until noon on competition day.

Both chefs came to impress. Hayes’ first and highest scoring dish was the Certified Angus Beef® Pho Rare CAB Flat Iron with Daikon Noodles, Scallions, Cilantro, Grilled Shiitake Mushrooms and Texas Pete Lime Foam. He followed that with Spanish Style Shrimp & Grits Shrimp, Crawfish, Certified Angus Beef® Tasso, Marinated CAB Skirt Steak, Old Mill of Guilford® Saffron Grits, and Texas Pete® Sofrito. He finished the competition with a dessert he named “Chocolate Pete and Candied Beef Texas Pete®”— chocolate mousse, pistachio-beef brittle, Texas Pete® and pepper curd, orange-scented cake, and Certified Angus Beef® skirt jam.

Roy’s highest scoring dish of the night was Certified Angus Beef® Skirt Steak, Grilled Chili Spoon Bread, Frijoles Negro, Mango “Pete” Puree, Cilantro Pesto, and Texas Charred-Cippolini Onion.

The judging was determined by guests who had forms or mobile apps to fill out during service, along with a panel of select media and culinary professional judges.

Hayes will square off again in late April against the Fire on the Rock-Blowing Rock winner. Part two of Fire on the Rock will kick off on April 8 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. Tickets will sell out fast, so get your ticket now by visiting