16 chefs sign up for Iron Chef-style contest

aweigl@newsobserver.comMay 29, 2012 

Jimmy Crippen of Crippen's Country Inn & Restaurant in Blowing Rock, NC.

COURTESY OF DES KELLER

aweigl@newsobserver.com

Chef Jimmy Crippen is bringing 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, owner of Crippen’s Country Inn & Restaurant in Blowing Rock, 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 and Fire on the Dock in Wrightsville Beach are complete, while Fire in the Triangle in Raleigh and Fire in the Triad in Greensboro are coming up.

Sixteen chefs have signed up for the Triangle contest.

Here’s how it works: Two chefs, each with the help of two assistants, 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 cellphones are confiscated, have about six hours to plan their menus and cook. 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 and 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. A portion of ticket sales will be donated to N.C.’s Office of the State Fire Marshal to support local firefighters because the leading cause of home fires and burn injuries is cooking.

The preliminary matchups are:

•  June 11: Shane Ingram of Four Square in Durham vs. Adam Jones of 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 are July 9-10 and July 16-17. The semifinals will be July 23-24. The final competition will be July 31.

The 6:30 p.m. dinners will be at Rocky Top Hospitality’s event space, 1705 E. Millbrook Road, Raleigh.

To buy tickets, go to competitiondining.com.

Weigl: 919-829-4848

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