Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Blowing Rocket

Fire on the Rock announces 2013 lineup

Jeff Eason

The eight area chefs to compete in the Blowing Rock division of the 2013 Fire on the Rock Chefs Challenge were announced Wednesday at an event at Meadowbrook Inn in Blowing Rock.

The roster of competing chefs includes Craig Miller of Jackalope’s View, James Welch of the Laurel Room at the Green Park Inn, Sam Ratchford of Vidalia Restaurant, Will Young of Toe River Lodge, John Dean of Twig’s Restaurant, Clark Barlowe of Heirloom, Sam Beasley of 1861 Farmhouse and Julius Kalman of Canyons of the Blue Ridge.

The lineup includes a previous champion in Beasley, several veterans such as Ratchford and Welch, as well as newcomers to the competition such as Young and Barlowe.

The preliminary rounds of the Fire on the Rock Chefs Challenge will take place at Meadowbrook Inn from Monday through Thursday, April 8-11.

The semifinal round will take place Tuesday and Wednesday, April 16-17, and the finals of the Blowing Rock division will take place on Wednesday, April 24.

Each dinner begins at 7 p.m. The cost of the dinner is $59 per person, excluding tax, beverage and gratuity.

The winner of the Blowing Rock division will face the winner of the Asheville division, Chef Adam Hayes of the Red Stag Grill, in the Fire on the Rock championship on Tuesday, April 30.

“Competition Dining was born in the mountains, so we feel that we should include all the amazing culinary talent that resides in Western North Carolina into the original Fire on the Rock series,” said Jimmy Crippen, the restaurateur who founded Fire on the Rock in Blowing Rock eight years ago.

“Those Asheville chefs certainly threw down the gauntlet in January, now it’s time for the High Country chefs to bring the fire.”

The winner of the Fire on the Rock Chefs Challenge will receive the red chef’s jacket, $2,000 cash and will advance to the state championship of the 2013 Competition Dining Series.

That chef will face off against the winners of the other regional competitions: Fire on the Dock in Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach; Fire in the Triangle in Raleigh; Fire in the Triad in Greensboro; and Fire in the City in Charlotte.

Got to Be NC
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 at Crippen’s Country Inn and Restaurant as Fire on the Rock.

How it works: 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 15 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.

Sponsors of the 2013 “Got to Be NC” Competition Dining Series include the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, Southern Foods-Pate Dawson, Pepsi Bottling Ventures, Swisher Hygiene and Certified Angus Beef.

For more information, visit http://www.competitiondining.com.

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