Join Charlotte based food writer, blogger and culinary personality Heidi Billotto and WRAL TV’s favorite TV anchor and self proclaimed foodie Ken Smith as the co-hosts of the 2017 NC Chef Showdown in Raleigh on Monday Aug 21, 2017.
Yes, its the evening of the Big solar eclipse, but after the sun and the moon have their big show that afternoon 16 culinary stars and 6 mixology meteorites will come out to shine at night!
Its North Carolina’s premiere culinary competition with awards for the 2017 NCRLA Chef of the Year, 2017 NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year and 2017 NCRLA Mixologist of the Year awards up for grabs. Could be anyone’s game. We won’t know the official winners or those receiving People’s Choice Awards until Monday night, but Heidi and Ken will be bringing it all to you bite by bite, sip by sip live in Raleigh at the 214 Martin Street/Market Place event venue. If youc an’t be in Raleigh, follow all the action on our social media. Don’t miss it! Tix at NCChefShowdown.com .
While the event will feature a People’s Choice award as a part of all the interactive fun for the crowd in attendance, Six official Culinary Judges and three official Mixology Judges will also be on hand to crown the winners and also make selections for the Most creative chef and pastry chef and the chef and pastry chef who make the best use of produce, proteins and product that is grown, raised, caught or made in the state of North Carolina
So happy to welcome our esteemed panel of judges and mixology judges to the party – Cheers to our culinary judges: Colleen Minton of Terra Vita, the annual festival of local food and drink to take place this year in October; Chef Lionel Vatinet, North Carolina’s famed French Master Baker and owner of La Farm Bakery in Cary, NC.; Chef Jesse Roque, of Never Blue Restaurant in Hendersonville and the 2016 NCRLA Chef of the Year; Lisa Prince, host of Flavor, NC, a wonderful television series dedicated to preserving and celebrating North Carolina’s agricultural heritage, one dinner plate at a time. Also on the culinary judging panel is Tim Parrish, Marketing director for Got to Be NC, our presenting sponsor – the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; and Steve Mangano, creator of the hot new culinary app, CurEat, the technology sponsor for this the 2017 NC Chef Showdown.
Colleen Minton, Terra Vita
Chef Jesse Roque, Never Blue Restaurant
Chef Lionel Vatinet, La Farm Bakery
Lisa Prince, Flavor NC
Tom Parrish, NC Agriculture
Steve Mangano, CurEat
While our six culinary judges will be tasting all 16 sweet and savory dishes, our panel of three mixology judges will be sipping their way through the event judging our mixologists on Style, Creativity, Presentation, Originality of the Recipe and Overall Taste.
Our 2017 panel of Top Shelf Mixology judges include Jordan Keiper, an award winning mixologist, restauranteur and newly named North Carolina Spirit Ambassador; Fred Thompson, publisher of Edible Piedmont magazine and author of numerous books centered around food and drink, including “Bourbon: 50 Rousing Recipes for a Classic American Spirit”; and Max Trujillo, co-creator of the North Carolina F&B Podcast, a show that focuses on the food and beverage industry, specific to North Carolina.
And there you have it – the judges for the 2017 Nc Chef Showdown….let the games begin!
What inspired you to become a chef? My interest in food began as a kid, from harvesting tomatoes with my mom from our garden, making tomato sauce and canning it for the year to come. As well as with my grandma, learning to pickle and can beets and green beans from her garden.
Describe your culinary style. I make food that I want to eat and that I hope other people want to eat too. I don’t do anything new or ground breaking, but rather take familiar dishes and try to present them in a way that reflects my experiences and background. A lot of my background in cooking comes from the Mediterranean, mostly Greek and Italian, but also including Turkish and Lebanese influences as well.
What is your favorite food? Favorites: Tacos or Ramen; Guilty Pleasure: Donuts!
What is your greatest culinary accomplishment? Being invited to cook and then to come back and cook again at the James Beard House in New York City on three separate occasions!
Please describe your culinary style. New Southern Deliciousness!
What do you consider to be the best thing about being a chef? The opportunity to collaborate, to work on a team and to serve my guests
What’s your favorite food? Anything Italian… and I adore Foie Gras!
What you may not know about chef Tim…As creative as my culinary arts might seem, I am a math and science guy, left-brained, and i perceive flavors, textures, and colors as if they were part of an equation… I just try to solve the equation.
What do you consider to be the best thing about being a pastry chef? That I can literally do whatever I want. I make all the bread, cheese, and desserts every day. As long as they are ready at service time I can come up with my own menus. I love it!
Describe your culinary style. Creative – Since I have been at Heirloom I haven’t made the same dish twice, although different variations have come around. I think there is way too much out there to learn than to be stuck in making the same things over and over.
What is your favorite meal? After service at midnight we get grilled cheeses at the diner. Pimento on rye…. yaaaasssssss!
And, what is it we might not know about chef Ann Marie? That she’s been on the Food Network, not once but twice!
What do you consider to be the best thing about being a chef? There is no better feeling on earth then watching a guest take a bite of food that has come from the kitchen to the table and just see their BIG smile on their first bite – It’s why we do what we do – to make others happy!
What’s your favorite meal? Any meal I can have with my girlfriend Allie, they are often few and far between..
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you? After my freshman year of college, I decided to stay in Charlotte for the summer and I needed to find a job to pay my rent and bills. My first Job in Charlotte was actually at Mimosa Grill, but as a server’s assistant/bus boy – It’s funny how it always comes back full circle.
How would you describe your culinary style? I like to say I’m always “changing and improving.” I like to take an old classic and reconstruct it with a different element, presentation, or flavor profile.
What’s your favorite meal of the day? BREAKFAST! Breakfast is always that one meal in the day that is really going to make and impression of how you feel throughout the day. I believe you should always having something that is both wholesome, but also soulful to you. Personally, I like a good stack of pancakes with berries or bananas and a nice glass of milk; or even better, biscuits and gravy with soft cooked eggs and fruit, its the best!
What’s your favorite food? I do have a guilty pleasure for pizza. I’ve set a goal with my boyfriend to try every pizza place in the Triangle!
How do you describe your culinary style? Southern-Inspired cuisine with a focus on local sustainable ingredients, and whole animal processing.
What do you consider to be the best part of being a chef? The community, the connections we are able to make with such genuine people. That really pushes you to be better for your cliental and be your best self every day.
What is your favorite food? Great bread and great cheese, and my guilty pleasure is fresh pasta.
What is your greatest accomplishment? I am getting MARRIED this year to an amazing woman that has a big heart, infectious smile and is fiercely smart.
What inspired you to become a chef? When I was young I would sit on the counter and watch my grandmother make fresh pasta – she would hang it all over the kitchen. She eventually would let me help and I’ve been in love ever since.
What do you consider to be the best thing about being a chef? Being able to be creative! Learning that there are not many rules you have to follow when creating a dish. Push the limits!
What is your favorite meal of the day? Breakfast, because it’s acceptable to eat it at all hours of the day and night.
If you couldn’t be a chef, what would you do? I would want to be a Forest Ranger in the Pacific Northwest.
What do you consider to be the best thing about being chef? The ability to help people be happy. There is no denying that there is solace in a warm bun or joy in a birthday cake. Outside of that, it is a limitless field ,always growing and changing with the people it provides for. I see that as an unending challenge, an exciting one .
What is your favorite meal of the day? Breakfast: Belgian waffles with fresh fruit over flowing and a drizzle of maple syrup and a side of bacon, please.
What is your favorite food? Definitely salad, any and all types; but my guilty pleasure is anything where peanut butter and chocolate unite.
Your greatest accomplishment? It would have to be having my name on a menu. I was more excited about that than getting my degree.
What inspired you to become a chef? The Flavors & Scents from Provence, France, along with two grandmothers who were constantly cooking, all from homegrown and raised ingredients.
How would you describe your culinary style? French!
What is your favorite food? White fish, Mediterranean style. My guilty pleasure – Saucisson and Pissaladiere
How did you come to be a chef in North Carolina? I started my career in France, met my American wife on a cruise ship, which brought me to the U.S. in 1994. We moved to Raleigh in 1998 from Las Vegas and have since relocated to the Greensboro area.
What do you consider to be the best thing about being a chef? I love the chance to create something with my hands on a daily basis and have guests who can enjoy the food immediately and be amazed. Also, I love being able to form relationships with farmers and food artisans who’s hard work and passion flow through to the food they create – they make my job easy.
How would you describe your culinary style? French/American cuisine with a focus on locally available product .
What is your favorite meal of the day? Family meal at the end of dinner shift with my staff. Finally able to relax and enjoy the company of the people who work so hard to make it all possible.
Your ticket price includes unlimited tasting sized portions from all 16 of these talented chefs, tasting sized cocktails from six North Carolina distilleries represented by six of the state’s talented mixologists, a chance to vote in the evening’s People’s Choice awards, a selection of wine or beer, a gift bag to take home and an evening of fun, music and more! Don’t wait, Get Your Tickets Now!