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Fire on the Rock trophy to stay in Blowing Rock

Article Published: Apr. 5, 2012 | Modified: Apr. 12, 2012
Fire on the Rock trophy to stay in Blowing Rock

From left, Bistro Roca Chef Michael Foreman and Glidewell's Chef Guy Thomas will face off April 11 for the grand finale of this year's Fire on the Rock Chefs Challenge at Crippen's Country Inn & Restaurant in Blowing Rock.

Photo submitted

The 16 chef teams that entered the 2012 Fire on the Rock Chefs Challenge last month were from restaurants from all over the High Country.

The two restaurants that remain in the competition are within walking distance of each other.
Chef Michael Foreman and his team from Bistro Roca will face Chef Guy Thomas and his team from Glidewell’s in the grand finale of this year’s competition on Wednesday, April 11, at Crippen’s Country Inn and Restaurant.

The championship of this Competition Dining Series event will kick off the 2012 Blue Ridge Wine and Food Festival in Blowing Rock. The event begins at 7 p.m.

For the first time in the history of Fire on the Rock, two restaurants from Blowing Rock are matched in the finals. Glidewell’s is located on Main Street in the old Tijuana Fats building, while Bistro Roca is located around the corner on Wonderland Trail in the old Dockside Ira’s/Antlers building.

The final match guarantees that the Fire on the Rock Chefs Challenge championship will remain in Blowing Rock.

Chef Michael Barbato of Timberlake’s (formerly the Manor House) at Chetola won the event last year.
In the final four of the Fire on the Rock Chefs Challenge, Chef Guy Thomas defeated Chef James Welch of the Green Park Inn’s Laurel Room in a battle that featured the secret ingredients of wontons, egg roll wrappers, spring roll wrappers and lo-mein noodles from First Noodle Company of Charlotte.

Welch’s dishes included a lo mein salad with jumbo shrimp, Thai Maine lobster spring roll with a red curry coconut sauce; Sriracha grilled duck eggrolls with porcini soy ginger dipping sauce and collards with tasso; and a lo mein kugel with walnut pecan spring roll with dried cherry and golden raisins, Frangelico ice cream and raspberry coulis.

Thomas countered with a spring roll with crab, andouille, red pepper crema and shaved asparagus salad; lo mein with scallop and Maine lobster, bacon, onions, garlic, parsley and broccolini; and crunchy egg roll Napoleon, chocolate sauce and banana ice cream, mascarpone-fried wonton with pineapple.

Thomas’ three dishes outscored Welch’s by an average dish score of 61.7 percent to 57.9 percent.
In the second final four battle last week, Chef Michael Foreman of Bistro Roca defeated Chef Sam Ratchford of Vidalia in a battle featuring the secret ingredient of Carolina bison from western North Carolina.

Ratchford’s dishes included hickory-smoked bison ribeye bruschetta with caramelized onion-fennel compote, Romano risotto crouton, Sriracha aioli and apple ginger salad; a surf and turf consisting of bison top sirloin and Carolina shrimp, red win pan jus, wilted spinach, fingerling potato fries and Cardamom vinaigrette; and bison rutabaga cupcake and cream cheese icing with bison crimson ice cream, cinnamon fingers, caramel, chocolate ganache with a strawberry coulis.

Foreman countered with dishes that included Carolina-style barbecue bison spring roll with collard slaw, quick pickled spring vegetables and lingonberry barbecue sauce; roasted bison Delmonico with Sicilian hee-hee salad and broccoli di rabe risotto; and a sesame oil bison cake with ginger-cola tamarind sauce, burnt honey ice cream and bison sesame brittle with caramel cream choux puff.

Foreman’s three dishes outscored Ratchford’s by an average dish score of 70.4 percent to 67.4 percent, in one of the closest Fire on the Rock battles this season.

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