Hayes will advance to the Final Fire championship in November
The heat was on April 30 as two of Western N.C.’s premier chefs battled it out during the “Got To Be N.C.” Competition Dining Series Fire on the Rock finals. Chef Adam Hayes and his team from Asheville’s Red Stag Grill took home the bragging rights after six fierce courses split with Vidalia’s Sam Ratchford of Blowing Rock.
The competition was certainly fiery between the two WNC chefs—in one of the closest Competition Dining battles yet, the winner was determined by merely three-tenths of a point. At the end, Hayes took 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.
At Blowing Rock’s Meadowbrook Inn & Suites, 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.
Competition Dining challenges the chefs to use featured ingredients grown or produced in North Carolina. This battle, Old Mill of Guilford Grits and Midnight Moon Moonshine were the chosen components to bewitch the judges and a full house of diners. The chefs were required to use both ingredients in all three dishes, and were not privy to the secret ingredients until noon on competition day.
Both chefs came to impress. Hayes’ first dish was a spicy tempura lobster crab roll, that featured grit “rice” and a collard green wrap, N.C. shrimp ceviche, sugar snap, carrot and shiitake cashew salad, blueberry moonshine mirin, and Annatto chilli oil. He followed that with his highest scoring dish, his blueberry moonshine brined venison tenderloin, which had a Southwestern rub and was served with chipotle golden grits with Ashe County Cheddar, crispy broccolini, blueberry moonshine demi, and basil-mint chimchurri. He finished the competition with a moonshine crispy rice treat that featured strawberry moonshine panna cotta, sweet grit cream, Guilford Grit meringue, moonshine macerated fruits, and a blueberry moonshine balsamic glaze.
Ratchford claimed the highest scoring dish of the night with a rosemary thyme smoked pork tenderloin finished with a blueberry moonshine barbeque sauce, and accompanied by strawberry moonshine Brussels and snow pea slaw, rapini yellow grit remoulade and sweet potato grit crouton.
Diners and culinary judges alike cast their votes through the new “Competition Dining” voting app, available on Apple and Android mobile devices, which allowed them to rate each dish as it was presented. Diners and judges without smartphones filled out voting ballots during dinner.
The heat of the competition will continue May 14 as sixteen of the Triad’s best chefs battle it out during Fire in the Triad in Greensboro at the Empire room. Interested in attending? Tickets can only be purchased at http://www.competitiondining.com/events/fire-in-the-triad.