The first of 16 dinners of the Fire in the Triad series went down last night. This is the first time the Triad has seen a culinary event like this. Chefs go head-to-head in culinary combat beginning at noon the day of each battle, not knowing anything except sheer talent and luck-of-the-draw will help them win each competition.
Each night, in “Iron Chef”-style format, dinner guests are presented with a six-course menu (three courses from each chef) created around a local/North Carolina ingredient. The featured ingredient is revealed to the chefs at noon the day of their battle and it must be used in each of their three courses.
Diners are then asked to vote for their favorite dish based on overall presentation, aroma, flavor, accompaniments AND creativity and execution of the secret ingredient.
The secret ingredient last night: CHEERWINE! You can't call yourself a true North Carolinian without having tried this cherry-flavored carbonated beverage at least once. Much to my surprise, two of my table's diners had never had it! And what a wonderful first time to partake the goodness that is... Cheerwine...
Chef Jay Pierce of Lucky 32 in Greensboro
Chef Timothy Bocholis of Bistro B in Kernersville
The energy in the dining room at Painted Plate was electric. There was a lot going on and everyone was on the edge of their seats in anticipation of what was about to begin.
First,let me tell you--this was the most organized, technologically advanced dinner I have ever had the opportunity to attend. Not only were there TV screens set up around the room to showcase each chef's bio, we were treated to a short videos by the State Fire Marshal's Office and other sponsors, we also had QR codes to scan to access the electronic ballots for voting.
|High-tech voting system. I wonder who this "Miller-Ra" person is? :)|
|Pinot Grigio & Pinot Noir from Left Coast Cellars in Oregon|
|The night's wine selection|
|First course: Fire roasted corn, field pea salad with canteloupe & Cheerwine gastrique|
|Second course: Crab & lobster Cheerwine ceviche with sweet potato crisp|
|Third course: Chipotle Cheerwine braised veal with black beans, cassava & curtido|
|Fourth course: Matambre of beef--braised in Cheerwine, stuffed with asparagus, red peppers,|
onions, carrots, & purple potato puree
|Fifth course: chocolate fudge cake, Cheerwine syrup, chèvre fondue|
|Sixth & final course: fig mousse, Cheerwine sorbet, peach bacon jam|
After much hemming and hawing, I finally got my votes in and waited for the final score...
|My votes are locked in! It's like American Idol but better!|
And the winner is: Chef Timothy Bocholis of Bistro B!
Congratulations, Chef! Responsible for courses number two, four and six, Chef Bocholis used the Cheerwine best and presented well. I can't wait to see who he's up against in the semifinals!
Please read my blog for a nightly recap of Fire in the Triad posts to stay in the loop. You can also follow me on twitter @niksnacks and the hashtag #CompDiningNC for live updates during each battle. Please also follow Competition Dining on Facebook or the web.