|(left) Chef Gregory John; (right) Chef John Bobby|
It went from Team Country Club and Team Noble's to Team Greensboro and Team Winston-Salem very quickly. The county lines were crossed and brought out fans and families for both chefs. This night promised to be some of the best food of the series so far. This battle, a month in the making, came to a fever pitch when the featured ingredients were revealed.
Do you remember this commercial?
I was totally obsessed with it AND cheese as a kid. The first featured ingredient we were treated to: Calvander cheese from Chapel Hill Creamery. Calvander is reminiscent of Asiago, made with raw milk and aged at least 7 months. It’s semi-hard, good for melting and grates well too. Portia McKnight and Flo Hurley, the creamery's owners and cheesemakers were on hand Tuesday night to dine and enjoy the dishes made with their wonderful product.
The second featured ingredient was local honey from St. Dominic's in Mayodan. Battle Honey in 2012 was one of my favorites. The family of the apiary was also on hand to dine and enjoy each of the six courses of the night.
Judges for the evening: Michael Hastings, food editor of the Winston-Salem Journal, Associate Professor Jerry Lanuzza from Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte and Susan Melvin from St. Dominic's Honey.
Okay, it's time to eat. I'm hungry. How about you? Be sure to read this week's Yes! Weekly for another look at Fire in the Triad, written by yours truly. I was not privy to what was going on in the kitchen because I decided to vote tonight, but I do know that the kitchen was running behind.
|Honey White Peach Glaze BBQ Shrimp, Stone Ground Calvander Grits, Sauteed Snow Peas, Shaved Country Ham & Calvander Frica|
|Mustard Gnocchi, Baby Vegetable with Honey Gastrique, Bacon Lardons, Calvander Beer Cream|
|Honey Bourbon Braised Pork, Herbed Spaetzle Hash, Honey Glazed Root Vegetables, Sauteed Spinach, 60 Minute Egg with Calvander Bacon Ale Fondue|
The honey bourbon pork was dry, but the flavors of both the honey and bourbon were pronounced strongly. Both were distinct and did not overpower one another. The spaetzle was not successful. Typically, a soft, eggy noodle, this showing of German noodles was not. It had the texture of a soft grain like farro: toothsome and al dente, but it did match the texture of the potatoes (hash). The sauteed spinach was flavorless but it cradled the 60-minute egg. Yes. A 60-minute egg. Cooked in an immersion circulator for 60 minutes, the intention of the egg was to be pierced by the folk, the yolk will be thick, with a fudge-like consistency and run all over the pork (the reason for the dry pork, I suppose) to moisten it and to flavor it. The slow-cooked egg ran all over the plate, indeed. The calvander fondue mimicked hollandaise and was not nearly as intense as the previous beer cream. It was VERY light in flavor. So light, I did not detect any bacon. Or ale for that matter.
|Andouille & Calvander Raviolio, Grilled Poblano, Honey Mustard Chimichurri|
@NikSnacks whatcha gonna do if the secret ingredients are fried bologna, peanuts, and potted meat?
— Travis Myers (@Chef_Myers) June 18, 2013
The smoky andouille, salty calvander and poblanos inside the pasta made this dish taste like the most elegant hot dog on the planet. Hot dogs = bologna + potted meat. Two things I am not interested in eating. Ever. Combined with the garnish of sweet red onions and honey mustard chimichurri, it was the perfect recipe for a deconstructed hot dog. The only other misstep: the pasta dough. It was undercooked. Not al dente; Undercooked. It wasn't raw, but it had that unpleasant bite to it that needed another 3 minutes in simmering water to be perfect. The unlisted ingredient of charred green beans were also smoky and tasted great with the rest of the dish. Crisp and snappy, the beans' texture was what the pasta's should have been.
|Chocolate Honey Crème Caramel with White Chocolate Calvander Ganache|
|Calvander & Pear Torte, Honey Meringue, Pistachio Crumble|
|Check out the floral design of the sauce on the plate|
The scores were close all night long. The winner by 1.5 points was Chef John Bobby of Noble's Grille! Winston-Salem is still in it to win it and will meet the winner of Wednesday night's battle between Chef Creighton McNeil of Liberty Oak and Chef Tim Bocholis of Bistro B.
Tickets for the next Competition Dining series, Fire in the Triangle are on sale NOW. Team brackets will be announced on Monday, June 24. Stay tuned to Facebook and competitiondining.com for all of the details!
About Competition Dining: In 2013, this unique 15-dinner competition dining experience has traveled across the state of North Carolina to Asheville/Blowing Rock, Wilmington and now Greensboro. Raleigh and Charlotte are slated for later this summer and fall. Each evening, two of the region's best restaurants “battle” it out side by side in a single elimination, “Iron Chef”-style format. Each chef must create three courses, for a total of six plates, each using a “secret” North Carolina ingredient.