Sunday, July 17, 2016

Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series: The Raleigh Semifinal!

Thursday night, I had the privilege of serving as one of three Pro Judges for the sold-out Raleigh semifinal of the Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series in downtown Raleigh’s historic 214 Martin Street. This battle pitted Team Will Work For  Food from Pinehurst, with chefs Matthew Hannon, chef at Ironwood Restaurant; Jen Curtis, chef de cuisine at Chef Warren's Bistro in Southern Pines; and Niklas Anderson, sous chef at Curt’s Cucina in Southern Pines against Team Fuquay-Varina's Finest: Joseph Fasy, proprietor and executive chef at Hook and Cleaver Market on Broad and part owner and executive chef at Old North State Catering; Leo Cuthbertson, chef at Hook and Cleaver Market on Broad; and Bryan Dahlstrom, executive chef at the Crown Complex in Fayetteville.

This semifinal was Battle Cheese (provided by Boxcarr Handmade Cheese) and Applesauce (courtesy of Heirloom Goodness) and, as has come to be expected in the Competition Dining Series, the chefs brought their A-game—so much so, that the teams were only separated by .02 of a point going into the dessert course. But, as frequently happens in these competitions, dessert proved to be one team’s downfall.

Will Work For Food’s Local Beet and Heirloom Goodness Winesap Applesauce Root Cake with Caramelized White Chocolate Boxcarr Cottonbell Cajeta, Boxcarr Cottonbell Custard, and Winesap
Applesauce Gastrique received a 29.975, whereas Fuquay-Varina’s Finest’s Mountain Apple Cake with Heirloom Goodness Stayman Applesauce and Perry Lowe Orchards Dried Apples, Apple Cider Glaze, Thai Basil Sour Cream Custard, Boxcarr Robiola Wafer scored a devastating 25.775.

With an overall score of 28.909, Will Work For Food bested Fuquay-Varina’s 26.851 final tally and will move on to face the winner of Raleigh’s second bracket in the Raleigh Finale on July 24.

The battles in Raleigh’s second bracket are scheduled for July 18, 19, and 21 and are $59 each, and tickets for the Raleigh finale battle on July 24 are $69 each. Tickets are available now at

For more information, visit  or join the conversation and follow along at and @CompDiningNC on Twitter and Instagram.