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Ready, set, grill



Article Published: Mar. 13, 2013 | Modified: Mar. 15, 2013
Ready, set, grill

Fire on the Rock is back. This year's competition includes, from left, chefs James Welch, Sam
Beasley, Will Young, Clark Barlowe, host Jimmy Crippen, Julius Kalman, John Dean, Sam
Ratchford and Craig Miller.

Photo by Jeff Eason



The eight area chefs to compete in the Blowing Rock division of the 2013 Fire on the Rock Chefs Challenge were announced on Wednesday at an event at Meadowbrook Inn in Blowing Rock.

The roster of competing chefs includes Craig Miller of Jackalope’s View, James Welch of the Laurel Room at the Green Park Inn, Sam Ratchford of Vidalia Restaurant, Will Young of Toe River Lodge, John Dean of Twig’s Restaurant, Clark Barlowe of Heirloom, Sam Beasley of 1861 Farmhouse, and Julius Kalman of Canyons of the Blue Ridge.

The lineup includes a previous champion in Beasley, several veterans, such as Ratchford and Welch, as well as newcomers to the competition, such as Young and Barlowe.

The preliminary rounds of the Fire on the Rock Chefs Challenge will take place at Meadowbrook Inn from Monday through Thursday, April 8 to 11. The semifinal round will take place Tuesday and Wednesday, April 16 to 17, and the finals of the Blowing Rock division will take place on Wednesday, April 24.

Each dinner begins at 7 p.m. The cost of the dinner is $59 per person, excluding tax, beverage and gratuity.

The winner of the Blowing Rock division will face the winner of the Asheville division, Chef Adam Hayes of the Red Stag Grill, in the Fire on the Rock championship on Tuesday, April 30.

“Competition Dining was born in the mountains, so we feel that we should include all the amazing culinary talent that resides in Western North Carolina into the original Fire on the Rock series,” said Jimmy Crippen, the restaurateur who founded Fire on the Rock in Blowing Rock eight years ago. “Those Asheville chefs certainly threw down the gauntlet in January; now it’s time for the High Country chefs to bring the fire.”

The winner of the Fire on the Rock Chefs Challenge will receive the coveted red chef’s jacket, $2,000 cash and will advance to the state championship of the 2013 Competition Dining Series.
That chef will face off against the winners of the other regional competitions: Fire on the Dock in Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach; Fire in the Triangle in Raleigh; Fire in the Triad in Greensboro; and Fire in the City in Charlotte.



‘Got to Be NC’ Competition Dining Series

The mission of the yearlong, statewide competition is to engage the farmer, the chef and the diner in an exciting evening of food and entertainment with the goal of promoting North Carolina chef talent and the use of local ingredients.

Each of the five regional competitions feature 16 chefs and 15 single-elimination dinner battles judged by the public.

This is the second year the concept has been executed statewide. It was started eight years ago by Crippen as Fire on the Rock at the now-closed Crippen’s Country Inn and Restaurant in Blowing Rock.



How It Works

Each evening, two restaurants “battle” it out side-by-side in a single elimination, “Iron Chef”-style format.

Guests savor a six-course menu (three dishes from each chef without knowing whose food they’re tasting) created around a featured ingredient. For all 15 dinners, the ingredient will come from a North Carolina source. The featured ingredient is revealed to the chefs on the day of the event, and it must be used in each of their three courses.

Diners, alongside culinary and guest judges, rate each dish and determine who moves on to the next round and who goes home.

For more information, visit http://www.competitiondining.com.



Beat It

Got restaurant news? Email editor Frank Ruggiero at (frank@mountaintimes.com) , or call (828) 264-6397.

Additional Images

Fire on the Rock is back. This year's competition includes, from left, chefs James Welch, Sam
Beasley, Will Young, Clark Barlowe, host Jimmy Crippen, Julius Kalman, John Dean, Sam
Ratchford and Craig Miller.
Photo by Jeff Eason

From right, Fire on the Rock host Jimmy Crippen talks with Chef Sam Ratchford of Vidalia in
Boone at a previous competition. Ratchford joins this year’s roster of area chefs competing for
the coveted red jacket.
Photo by Amanda Lugenbell

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