Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Chef Jon Fortes of Mimosa Grill Wins Fire In the City Competition Dining Series™

A technical glitch delayed the announcement of winners until 10 am this morning, yet the crowd at Bonterra Dining & Wine Room left appreciative of the food and skill shared by Fortes and Chef Phil Barnes of Rooster’s Wood-Fired Kitchen.


Charlotte, NC (Oct. 22, 2013) At the end of a 16-dinner competitive series featuring top Charlotte area chefs, Jimmy Crippen named Chef Jon Fortes of Mimosa Grill in uptown Charlotte the Champion of Got To Be NC Competition Dining Fire in the City Series. “Battle Cheese and Honey” saw Fortes edge out Chef Phil Barnes of Rooster’s Wood-Fired Kitchen in Charlotte, N.C.

Chef Fortes was announced as the winner and given the event’s signature red chef jacket in an announcement this morning at Central Piedmont Community College. The event ended dramatically last night at Bonterra Dining & Wine Room. All ballots were committed, but a technical glitch prevented the scores from being accessed. The team from Hits Tech worked through the night to access the scores and tabulate the winner, and no scores were lost.

“Throughout two years of the statewide competition, this is the first time we’ve ever had a technical issue of any kind. It’s my worst nightmare,” said Jimmy Crippen, host and founder of the event. “I want to ensure everyone that the scores submitted by our pro judges and diners are the scores that they submitted. This was a close contest, and these numbers are authentic and correct.”

Crippen continues, “I also want the Charlotte community to know what great chef talent we have here. This has been a terrific host community for us. Charlotte should be very proud, and your champion will represent you well at Final Fire.”

The final scores and are posted at

Chef Jon Fortes and teammates took home the trophy, a $2000 check and a handmade chef knife made by Charlotte-based Ironman Forge in addition to the coveted red chef’s jacket. The $2000 check was presented by Mac Sullivan, chief executive officer of Pate Dawson-Southern Foods (lead sponsor of the event) and Jimmy Crippen.

Last night’s Fire in the City challenged the chefs to use two featured North Carolina ingredients: Looking Glass Creamery’s Chocolate Lab cheese from Fairview, N.C. and St. Dominic’s honey from Mayodan, N.C. The chefs were required to use cheese and honey in each of their three courses for 130 diners. The chefs are not told what the featured ingredients will be until noon on the day they compete.

Both chefs rose to the occasion. Chef Fortes’ first course was St. Dominic’s Honey Bourbon Sweet Potato “Risotto,” Looking Glass Creamery Chocolate Lab Pimento Cheese, Whipped Honey Collard Kraut, Pork Confit Slider and Chocolate Lab Old Fashioned Southern Squash Casserole with Crispy Bacon. He followed with Fried Wanchese NC Shrimp, Looking Glass Creamery Chocolate Lab Smoked Tomato & Crab Risotto, St. Dominic’s Honey Poblano Relish and Pure Wild Honey Butter. The dessert course included Looking Glass Creamery Chocolate Lab Cornmeal Cake, Autumn Spiced St. Dominic’s Honey Apples and Almond Honey Semifreddo.

Chef Barnes’ highest scoring dish of the night was the St. Dominic’s Honey Glazed Cheshire Pork Belly, Braised Honey Collards, Looking Glass Creamery Chocolate Lab Sweet Potato Puree, Candied Fennel and Chocolate Lab Tuille.

Professional culinary judges for the evening included Mark Allison, Dean of Culinary Education from Johnson & Wales University; Bob Boll, Division Director of Central Piedmont Community College's Culinary Arts, Hospitality Management, and Baking and Pastry Arts programs; Dayvee Sutton from WCNC; and Terrance Bates from WCCB Charlotte. Their votes were weighted at 30 percent. The dining public's votes were weighted at 70 percent.

The 2013 Got To Be NC Competition Dining Series' winning chefs from each region were also in attendance. Official event blogger, Heidi Billotto joined the judges as a non-voting guest. Her summary of the event will post soon at

Chef Jon Fortes will now compete Nov. 20-23 in Raleigh, N.C. at Final Fire: Battle of the Champions against the Got To Be NC Competition Dining Champions from Asheville, Wilmington, the Triad and the Triangle. Final Fire tickets go on sale online on Oct. 30 at 7 p.m.


The Got To Be NC Competition Dining Series, in its second year, is part of a larger movement. With a focus on chefs, farmers, and diners, the event’s mission is to connect and celebrate this unique community through a dynamic, entertaining dining experience. Each statewide competition features 16 chefs and 15 single-elimination dinner battles judged by the public. Fire in the City is part of the Got To Be NC Competition Dining Series.

Statewide sponsors for the event include the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Pate Dawson-Southern Foods, OUR STATE Magazine, Certified Angus Beef, Pepsi Bottling Ventures and Swisher Hygiene.

For more information, contact Kristen Baughman at (919) 750-5712 mobile or (PR Specialist) or Susan Dosier at (704) 993-7871 mobile or (PR Consultant) offers event dates, ticket sales, and bios on participating chefs offers daily news and updates, photos of chef dishes and more shares videos of the winner after each competition, video bios on each chef and more uses the hashtag #compdiningnc to enjoy the fun, ongoing conversation

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