Competition dining adds Asheville and Charlotte



Article Published: Dec. 7, 2012 | Modified: Dec. 7, 2012
Competition dining adds Asheville and Charlotte

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



Last year, Blowing Rock’s Fire on the Rock Competition Dining Series went statewide.

The competition, created by Jimmy Crippen of Crippen’s Country Inn and Restaurant in Blowing Rock, expanded to three other locations: Fire on the Dock in Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach, Fire in the Triangle in Raleigh, and Fire in the Triad in Greensboro.

In 2013, the competition will pick up two new locations. Fire on the Rock will have both an Asheville and a Blowing Rock component, and Fire in the City will take place in Charlotte.

“Billie Rogers of the Blowing Rock Chamber asked me if we could once again have a Fire on the Rock event at the same time as the Blue Ridge Wine and Food Festival,” Crippen said. “So, the quarterfinal round dinners of Fire in the Rock will all take place during the weekend of the wine festival this year.”

Last week marked the application deadline for chefs and restaurants looking to compete in the Asheville portion of Fire on the Rock. That portion will include seven dining competitions to be held at the Biltmore Estate’s Bluewater Grill.

Fire on the Rock in Asheville will hold its preliminary round on Jan. 15, 15, 16 and 17, 2013; its second round Jan. 22 and 23; and its semifinal match on Jan. 30.

Fire on the Rock at Crippen’s in Blowing Rock will hold its preliminary round on April 8, 9, 10 and 11, 2013; its second round on April 16 and 17; and its semifinal on April 24.

The Fire on the Rock grand finale, featuring the Asheville and Blowing Rock semifinals winners, will take place at Crippen’s on April 30, 2013.

According to Crippen, organizers for the Fire in the City chefs competition in Charlotte have been negotiating with the Meyers Park Country Club to host the dinners there, but no decision has been finalized on that competition’s locale. Fire in the City will be held in the fall.

“Another new development is that we will hold Fire in the Dock earlier in the year,” Crippen said. “This year, it will be held in February and March to accommodate their natural off-season.”

Crippen added that all of the Competition Dining Series events next year will result in eight winning chefs being crowned. The top eight will participate in a grand finale competition in Raleigh next November.

All of the Competition Dining Series events feature two chef teams from two restaurants competing against each other. Each team creates three dishes utilizing a secret ingredient or ingredients that are revealed to the teams at noon on the day of competition.

All of the secret ingredients are grown, raised, caught or manufactured in North Carolina.

On the evening of the competition, diners will sample all six dishes without knowing which chef team created what. They will then score each dish on the basis of visual appeal, aroma, taste and utilization of secret ingredient.

The chef team with the highest overall score at the end of the evening wins a cash prize and the opportunity to move forward in this single elimination format competition.

The winners of the four competitions last year received checks for $2,000 and the coveted red chef jackets.

In last month’s statewide final in Raleigh, Chef Ryan Payne and his team from Weathervane Restaurant at A Southern Season in Chapel Hill defeated Chef Michael Foreman and his team from Bistro Roca in Blowing Rock.

The “Got to Be NC” Competition Dining Series is sponsored by the N.C. Department of Agriculture, Pate Dawson-Southern Foods, Our State Magazine, Dansko and the N.C. Office of the State Fire Marshal.

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