Chef Jimmy Crippen, owner of Crippen's Country Inn and Restaurant in Blowing Rock, has brought his Iron Chef-style cooking competition to the Triangle starting June 11.
Crippen is the force behind the annual Fire on the Rock competition, which started seven years ago in Blowing Rock. This year, Crippen teamed up with the N.C. Department of Agriculture's Got to Be N.C. campaign to take the competition statewide. So now there are four contests across the state: Fire on the Rock in Blowing Rock, Fire on the Dock in Wrightsville Beach, Fire in the Triangle in Raleigh and Fire in the Triad in Greensboro.
Sixteen chefs have signed up for the Triangle contest starting June 11 with Four Square's Shane Ingram going up against The Twisted Fork's Adam Jones. The complete list of pairings was announced today at a press conference in North Raleigh.
Here's how it works: Two chefs with the help of two sous chefs each prepare three courses for about 100 people using a secret N.C. ingredient that is only revealed on the day of the competition. The chefs, whose cell phones are confiscated, have about six hours to plan their menus and cook their courses. That evening, the diners and a panel of guest judges will choose the winning dishes, not knowing which chef cooked which course. The winning chef moves onto the next round. The overall winner takes home $2,000, while the runner-up wins $500.
The public can buy tickets to the dinners. The cost is $49 excluding beverage, tax and tip for the preliminary rounds, and $59 for the semifinal and final rounds. Go HERE to purchase tickets. All events start at 6:30 p.m. at Rocky Top Hospitality's catering event space, 1705 E. Millbrook Road, Raleigh, which is the original Michael Dean's location.
The preliminary contests are these:
- June 11: Shane Ingram of Four Square in Durham vs. Adam Jones of The Twisted Fork in Raleigh.
- June 12: Adam Rose of Il Palio in Chapel Hill vs. Josh DeCarolis of Jujube in Chapel Hill.
- June 13: Ryan Payne of Weathervane at Southern Season in Chapel Hill vs. Chris Harris of Fork and Barrel in Raleigh.
- June 18: Scott James of The Midtown Grille in Raleigh vs. Matthew Hannon of Ashten's Restaurant & Pub in Southern Pines.
- June 19: John Childers of Herons at the Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary vs. Chad McIntyre of Market Restaurant in Raleigh.
- June 20: Reto von Weissenfluh of Mia Francesca Trattoria in Raleigh vs. Serge Falcoz-Vigne of 518 West Italian Café in Raleigh.
- June 25: Michael Lee of Sono in Raleigh vs. Dean Wendel of Flights at the Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel.
- June 26: Christopher Hill of The Oxford in Raleigh vs. Jimmy Reale of Chapel Hill Country Club in Chapel Hill.
The quarterfinals will be July 9-10 and July 16-17. The semifinals will be July 23-24. The final competition will be July 31.
A portion of ticket sales will be donated to N.C.'s Office of the State Fire Marshal to support local fire fighters because cooking is the number one cause of house fires.