Meet the Judges and Co-Hosts of the 2017 NCRLA NC Chef Showdown…

2017 Chef Showdown Logo - BannerJoin 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 .

cropped-2017-chef-showdown-logo.pngWhile 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.


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!