Chef Jon Fortes of Mimosa Grill Takes Home Second Regional Title, Moves on to Final Fire Statewide Championship this November
The Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series, a single-elimination tournament highlighting the best of the state’s food, agriculture and culinary talent, has named a regional winner for the Fire in the City series. Chef Jon Fortes of Mimosa Grill on South Tryon Street in Charlotte became the competition’s second two-time regional champion last night overcoming the battle of sweet potatoes and Pepsi. Fortes beat out Chef Tom Dyrness of Mama Ricotta’s in the final Fire in the City dinner competition after rising to the top of the 16-chef regional tournament that started back in August.
In front of a sold out crowd of more than 150 people, the final battle challenged the chefs to use two featured ingredients, Scott Farms Sweet Potatoes and Pepsi. One of the crowd favorites of the night and the highest scoring dish of the whole battle was Fortes’ third course, which included Pepsi braised pork belly, sweet potato bread pie, Brussels chips, bacon and Pepsi pomegranate glaze. (See complete scores and dishes here.)
“As the returning Fire in the City champion, my goal this year was not only to win the regional tournament again, but to also win the Final Fire statewide title, and I’m ecstatic to be one step closer to making that happen.” said Fortes. “It was a long day in the kitchen prepping for the final battle with two unexpected secret ingredients, and I couldn’t be prouder of our team’s collective efforts and the dishes we created.”
As part of his Fire in the City winnings, Fortes took home a $2,000 cash prize, a handmade chef knife by Ironman Forge and the coveted “Red Chef Jacket” provided by ALSCO. Additionally, the Mimosa Grill team moves on to the Final Fire Battle of Champions this November where they will compete against the winners from each of the four other regional tournaments – Wilmington, Asheville, Greensboro and Raleigh.
“The Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series is unlike any other dinner experience in the country, and last night’s exhilarating battle between long-time friends was one for the books,” said Jimmy Crippen, Competition Dining Series founder and host. “Chef Jon Fortes has been a fierce competitor throughout the entire series and his dynamic performance in the final battle was well deserving of a second regional title.”
In every Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series event battle, the two participating chefs each prepare three courses centered on the featured ingredient that comes from a North Carolina farmer or artisan producer. Those ingredients are revealed to the chefs only an hour before they start cooking that day and must be used in each course. Attending community members serve as judges alongside industry professionals, all blindly scoring each dish using an interactive app. In last night’s final Charlotte battle, the diners and pro judges agreed that Fortes’ dishes had won him the regional title for the second time in a row.
Five regional tournaments are officially complete and the Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series now moves on to Raleigh with the Final Fire statewide championship series heating up starting Nov. 19. Additional information is available at www.competitiondining.com
About The Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series
The Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series is sponsored by the NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Pate Dawson-Southern Foods, Certified Angus Beef®, Pepsi Bottling Ventures, the NC Wine & Grape Council, Hits Technology and local partners in each region of the state. The goal of the series is to celebrate local North Carolina products and agriculture, and to showcase the culinary ingenuity and talent across the state. For more information, visit www.competitiondining.com or get in on the conversation at www.facebook.com/competitiondining and @CompDiningNC on Twitter or Instagram.