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Vidalia and Twigs in Fire on the Rock finals

Article Published: Apr. 18, 2013 | Modified: Apr. 25, 2013
Vidalia and Twigs in Fire on the Rock finals

From left, Team Vidalia members Hayden Watson, Sierra Cockerill and Chef Sam Ratchford pose with Team Jackalope’s Chef Craig Miller as the winner of Tuesday night’s Fire on the Rock Chefs Challenge is announced.

Photo by Jeff Eason

You could say that Chef Sam Ratchford really cuts the mustard.

Ratchford and his cooking team from Vidalia Restaurant and Wine Bar finished off the chef squad from Jackalope’s View during Tuesday evening’s Fire on the Rock competition in a battle that featured the secret ingredient of Lusty Monk brand mustard.

With the victory, Ratchford and his team earn a place in April 24's final bout of the Blowing Rock component of Fire on the Rock, in which they'll face April 17 contest winner John Dean of Twigs. The winner of the final will face the winner of the Asheville component of Fire on the Rock, Chef Adam Hayes of the Red Stag Grill.

During Tuesday night’s competition, both teams utilized Lusty Monk Mustard’s Altar Boy Honey Mustard, Original Sin Coarse Ground Mustard, and Burn In Hell Hot Mustard to create six original dishes.

Those courses were then judges by the approximately 90 diners at the Meadowbrook Inn.
The Competition Dining Series is a blind contest where the diners do not know which chef created which dish.

Jackalope’s View chef Craig Miller created the following dishes: a wilted spinach and arugula salad with lump blue crab, roasted peppers, tasso croutons, with a warm Altar Boy Honey Mustard vinaigrette; pan-seared pesto chicken, Original Sin jus, fennel risotto, with a bacon and heirloom tomato salad; and Burn In Hell brownie and churro with Mexican chocolate sauce.

Ratchford countered with a Creole lobster cake with Original Sin remoulade, sweet mustard slaw, sun-dried tomato jam and mustard seed caviar; Altar Boy Honey Mustard BBQ white pheasant with double smoked pork belly, stone ground cheddar grits, apple-fennel salad with mustard vinaigrette and zucchini fries; and a chipotle mustard ice cream with orange cake, pomegranate coulis, mustard caramel, candied zest and whipped cream.

Ratchford’s dishes defeated Miller’s by a combined score of 77.52 to 64.19.

In the April 17 match, Chef John Dean of Twigs defeated Chef Julius Kalman of Canyons by a narrow margin with a final score of 68.4 percent to Kalman's 67.5 percent.

Ratchford and his team of Sierra Cockerill and Hayden Watson will meet Dean and his team in the final on Wednesday, April 24.

For more information, or to make reservations, call the Meadowbrook Inn at (828) 295-4300, or visit For more information on Fire on the Rock, visit

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

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