Crippen’s cooks up ‘Best Chefs’ dinners

Article Published: Sep. 8, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 8, 2011
Crippen’s cooks up ‘Best Chefs’ dinners

Chef Bill Smith of Crook’s Corner restaurant in Chapel Hill will prepare dinner Sept. 20 at
Crippen’s Country Inn in Blowing Rock.

Photo submitted

The state of North Carolina has a well-earned reputation as the fine dining Mecca of the Southeast. The problem is, you sometimes have to drive a long way to experience the culinary skills of a particular chef.

Crippen’s Country Inn in Blowing Rock has solved that problem this month by hosting three North Carolina “James Beard” award-winning chefs. All three visiting chefs have been semi-finalists for Best Chef Southeast, a coveted nomination that includes competition from Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee.

On Tuesday, Sept. 13, Crippen’s will welcome chef Bruce Moffett of Barrington’s Restaurant in Charlotte. A James Beard Best Chef Southeast semifinalist in 2009, Moffett is well known for his upscale American dishes, such as roasted chicken with creamy mashed potatoes, spinach in a garlic pan sauce and veal and porcini mushrooms. Barrington’s, a 45-seat bistro-style restaurant, is a favorite special occasion destination for Charlotte diners.

On Tuesday, Sept. 20, Bill Smith of Crook’s Corner restaurant in Chapel Hill be the guest chef at Crippen’s. Crook’s Corner, a Chapel Hill institution for more than three decades, was a 2011 James Beard Foundation “American Classics” award winner. The award is given to restaurants with timeless appeal, locally owned, and beloved in their regions for quality food that reflects the quality of their community.

Smith was a semifinalist for Best Chef Southeast in 2009 and 2010. In addition to cooking at Crippen’s, Smith will sell and sign his popular cookbook, “Seasoned in the South: Recipes from Crook’s Corner and from Home.”

On Tuesday, Sept. 27, Crippen’s welcomes Keith Rhodes from Catch in Wilmington. Rhodes, a Wilmington native, has been voted the city’s best chef for three consecutive years. Rhodes’ specialty is seafood, and his passion for what he calls “modern seafood cuisine” is contagious. He is a stickler for wild caught seafood, and his signature side dishes, North Carolina sweet potato salad and conch fritters, accompany the catch of the day.

“All three guest chefs showcase the very best of North Carolina in their restaurants every night,” restaurant owner Jimmy Crippen said. “Having this kind of talent here in Blowing Rock fuels the fire of culinary excellence in the High Country. We couldn’t be more excited about hosting these three guys here in the mountains.”

Each guest chef will shape his unique menu for that evening only and will be working in concert with Crippen’s team and chef Stan Chamberlain.

During each evening, diners will have the opportunity to meet the guest chefs in person.

The price for the guest chef dinners is $49 per person plus beverages and tax. For more information, or to make reservations, call Crippen’s at (828) 295-3487. Crippen’s Country Inn is located at 239 Sunset Drive in Blowing Rock.

James Beard Foundation

Established in 1990, the James Beard Foundation Awards recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields. The foundation’s mission is to celebrate, nurture and preserve America’s diverse culinary heritage and future.

The annual James Beard Foundation Awards honor the best and brightest talents in the food and beverage industries.

For more information, visit

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Got restaurant news? Email editor Frank Ruggiero at ( or call (828) 264-6397.

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