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Who’s Made the Cut?

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Article Published: Mar. 8, 2013 | Modified: Mar. 14, 2013
Who’s Made the Cut?

Fire on the Rock creator and host Jimmy Crippen interviews last year’s regional winner, Chef Michael Foreman of Bistro Roca, in Blowing Rock.

Photo by Susan Dosier

The High Country’s top culinary talent has been selected, and the battle brackets will soon be announced.

The Got to Be N.C. Competition Dining Series Fire on the Rock returns home to Blowing Rock for its eighth consecutive year, with the local contestants being announced March 13 at 4 p.m. at the Meadowbrook Inn & Suites.

For the first time in Fire on the Rock history, the competition is divided into two regional rounds— one eight-chef round in Asheville, which concluded Jan. 30, and one eight-chef round that will kick off at Blowing Rock’s Meadowbrook Inn April 8. Eight Blowing Rock chefs will battle during preliminary rounds April 8 through 11, followed by the semi-finals April 16 to 17.

The Blowing Rock champion will be crowned on April 24 and will go on to battle Asheville champ Adam Hayes of the Red Stag Grill on April 30 to determine the overall Fire on the Rock winner.

The winner will receive the coveted “Red Chef Jacket,” a $2,000 cash prize and advances to the Final Fire series in November 2013 to vie for the 2013 championship title.

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

The High Country’s eight selected chefs include previous competition winners, a James Beard featured chef, as well as one chef who has reveled in his own 15-minutes of culinary fame as a contestant on “Chopped” on the Food Network.

Sponsored by the N.C. Department of Agriculture, Southern Foods-Pate Dawson, Pepsi Bottling Ventures, Swisher Hygiene and Certified Angus Beef, the Got to Be N.C. Competition Dining Series pits North Carolina’s top chefs in five regional “Iron Chef”-style competitions that culminate with the battle of the regional champions at the Final Fire event in November. In this unique experience, diners sample six gourmet dishes prepared by two competing chefs and vote after savoring each dish.

Throughout the 2013 season, an estimated 10,000 guests will be served gourmet meals prepared by 80 chefs at 79 different battles. Those interested in attending should consider buying tickets early, which are only available online at, as nearly every battle in the 2012 season sold out.

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 the Got to Be N.C. Competition Dining Series Facebook page, YouTube channel or Twitter feed.

Beat It

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

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