Competing for Flame and Fortune

Article Published: Feb. 3, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Competing for Flame and Fortune

Chef Josh Grogan of Crave slices ginger root in the kitchen of Crippen's Country Inn during the first round of the 2011 Fire on the Rock Chefs Challenge.

Photo by Jeff Eason

Competing for Flame and Fortune

20 High Country teams battle it out in the 2011 Fire on the Rock Chefs Challenge

Gentlemen, start your ovens!

The 2011 Fire on the Rock Chefs Challenge began this week at Crippen"s Country Inn and Restaurant this Tuesday. The "Iron Chef"-style cooking competition features 20 chef teams from some of the finest restaurants in the High Country, with the finals to be held at the Hayes Performing Arts Center during the Blue Ridge Wine and Food Festival in April.

The first preliminary challenge was held at Crippen"s on Tuesday and featured Chef James Welch of the Green Park Inn vs. Chef Josh Grogan of Crave, in which Welch defeated Grogan in the ginger battle.

Wednesday night"s match featured Chef Skipper Clyburn of Glidewell"s on Main Street vs. Chef Tom Jankovich of Painted Fish Catering.

Next week"s Fire on the Rock schedule includes matches featuring Rowland"s Restaurant at Westglow vs. the Meadowbrook Inn (Tuesday, Feb. 8) and Hearthstone Tavern versus Char (Wednesday, Feb. 9).

During the single elimination Fire on the Rock Tournament, teams square off in a competition to create three delicious food offerings presented to approximately 100 diners at Crippen"s. All of the creations contain a secret ingredient that is revealed to the chef teams around noon. That evening, diners are served a six-course meal, one course at a time. They rate the six courses in a blind judging, not knowing which chef prepared which dish.

And the end of the meal, the scores are announced, and one chef team stands victorious, while the other team starts preparing for next year"s competition.

Previous competitions have used secret ingredients, such as strawberries, beets, milk and beer. The chef teams can use those secret ingredients to create appetizers, salads, soups, entrees or desserts.

All of the preliminary heats are held at Crippen"s Country Inn in Blowing Rock, and the seating begins at 6:30 each evening. The cost of the event is $39 (excludes tax, tip and beverage).
The final four teams will compete during the Blue Ridge Wine and Food Festival in Blowing Rock in mid-April.

For more information, or to make reservations, call (828) 295-3487, or visit

Preliminary Rounds
Feb. 8: Rowland"s Restaurant at Westglow vs. Meadowbrook Inn
Feb. 9: Hearthstone Tavern vs. Char
Feb. 22: Jackalope"s View vs. Bistro Roca
Feb. 23: Sorrento"s vs. Canyons
March 1: Table at Crestwood vs. Manor House at Chetola
March 8: Paolucci"s vs. Josh"s on Union Square
March 15: Vidalia vs. Feb. 1 winner
March 16: Gamekeeper vs. March 8 winner

March 22: Feb. 8 winner vs. March 15 winner
March 23: Feb. 9 winner vs. Feb. 22 winner
March 29: Feb. 23 winner vs. March 16 winner
March 30: Feb. 2 winner vs. March 1 winner

Beat It
Got restaurant news? E-mail editor Frank Ruggiero at ( , snail mail Mountain Times Publications, Attn: Frank Ruggiero, 474 Industrial Park Drive, Boone, N.C. 28607, or call (828) 264-NEWS and ask for Frank.

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