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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Winston-Salem Chefs Heat Up Competition Dining’s Fire in the Triad

I hit the jackpot when I attended Fire in the Triad of “Got to Be NC” Competition Dining series on the evening that bacon was the featured ingredient. Six glorious courses with the magic of bacon worked into every bite, including bacon tasso sushi, wrapped in collard greens with shrimp lobster bisque, culminating in almond-dusted chocolate-covered bacon for dessert! If you missed my guest blogger post reviewing the event (a.k.a, "bacon bliss"), check it out here!
Whetted your appetite yet? All the more reason to go --  It’s also local food. The series travels across the state to highlight the best culinary talent, agriculture and artisan foods North Carolina has to offer. Several Winston-Salem chefs compete in our area’s Competition Dining series: Fire in the Triad. Full of secret ingredients and similar in concept to the popular “Iron Chef” television show, it’s the only contest where the diners get to be the judge!
The 15 competitive dinners take place April 22 - June 2, 2014 at the Empire Room at 203 South Elm Street, Greensboro, NC.

Chefs from across the Triad applied for the competition. Each chef leads a team of three. The final 16 contenders include eight chefs from Winston-Salem (many are my favorites!), including chef Matthew Culpepper of Quiet Pint Tavern (April 22); Chef Tim Grandinetti of Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar (April 30); Chef Kevin Reddick from Artisan restaurant will compete against Chef Donny Smith of New Town Bistro (May 5); Chef Richard Miller of GRAZE will compete against District Roof TopBar & Grille’s Brandon Sherrill (May 6); and Chef Travis Myers of RiverBirch Lodge will compete against Mitchell Nicks of Mad Hatter (May 7). Winners of these rounds will go on to compete with each other in the quarterfinals to determine who qualifies for the semifinals, with the final battle taking place June 2.
The Got To Be NC Competition Dining Series is part of a larger movement. Because we are all chefs, farmers, and/or diners, the mission of Fire in the Triad is to connect and celebrate our community through a dynamic, entertaining, North Carolina culinary experience.
Paying guests savor each of six courses in a blind tasting alongside a panel of culinary and celebrity judges in a series of 15 dinner competitions. Each evening, two restaurants “battle” it out side-by-side in a single elimination format. There are three dishes from each chef created around a “featured” ingredient from a North Carolina farmer or artisan producer. The featured ingredient is revealed to the chefs only an hour before they start cooking, and it must be used in each of the three courses.

Diners, alongside culinary and guest judges, rate each dish and determine who moves on to the next round and who goes home. At stake in each series is a grand prize of $2,000, a handmade chef knife by Ironman Forge in Charlotte, and the coveted “Red Chef Jacket.” The runner-up receives $500. Reservations for dinners are $59, excluding beverage, tax and tip. Reservations for the semi-finals and final are $69. To get a seat at the table, make your reservations early at

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