Charlotte friends, don’t miss the NCRLA Chef Showdown!
For the first time ever, the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association (NCRLA) is hosting the NCRLA Chef Showdown in the Queen City next week at Aria in Founders Hall at the Bank of America Center Uptown, August 27th from 5:30pm to 9:00pm. How lucky are we?
This event is open to the public and tickets are still available. (Click here to access tickets.)
21 Chefs and 6 mixologists will be competing head to head – trying to woo guests and judges – with their food and drink creations using – of course – North Carolina ingredients. As a local food lover, this event is near and dear to my heart and I cannot wait to attend! Guests will be able to taste dishes from all 21 chefs and drinks from 10 beverage vendors – local distilleries, breweries, and wineries.
The 2018 NCRLA Chef Showdown
Chefs and mixologists will be competing for the titles of NCRLA Chef of the Year, NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year, and NCRLA Mixologist of the Year. Professional judges will choose winners based on taste, presentation, and best use of North Carolina ingredients. Attendees will have the chance to vote on their favorite dish and elect a People’s Choice winner.
The North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association is the driving force behind North Carolina’s $24 billion restaurant, foodservice and lodging industries. They began this Chef Showdown three years ago as an extension of the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Expo and I am thrilled that it came to Charlotte this year.
NCRLA Chefs … Sweet and Savory Across The Carolinas
If you are a fan of local food, there’s a good chance you have dined or drank with a few of the names on the list of this year’s competitors. I had the chance to talk with one of my favorite local chefs here in Charlotte – Luca Annunziata, and Asheville chef Scott Ostrander – known to North Carolinians across the state for the amazing creations he prepares at the Red Stag at the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Asheville.
I have been a fan of Chef Luca for years and I am excited to see him compete against other talented North Carolina chefs. Chef Luca has been featured twice on the Food Network, worked on the Cunard cruise line, and has owned two restaurants here in the Queen City. He is currently the chef at Caffe Siena – authentic Italian food in uptown. Chef Luca says he is excited to compete in the NCRLA Chef Showdown because he is looking forward to meeting and having fun with the other chefs as well as showcasing his culinary talents.
If you are a fan of the Grand Bohemian in Asheville, you might be very happy to hear that plans are underway to open a Grand Bohemian Charlotte in 2020. For those of you who have had the pleasure of dining at the Red Stag, you know that Chef Scott Ostrand’s style is simple, fresh, and seasonal. Chef Scott competed at the NCRLA Chef Showdown last year and, although he might deny it, I think he really wants a win this time!
Each chef will be preparing sweet or savory dishes for all of us to taste – Chefs Scott and Luca are both competing in the savory category. To make it into the finals, Chef Scott prepared a Carolina Bison Shoulder Braised in Green Man Porter served over a ratatouille of summer sqashes, with roasted Garlic eggplant puree and Appalachian Blackberries. Ummm… yes, please.
For his winning dish, Chef Luca prepared Raviolo stuffed with Proffitt Family Farms (yay! one of my fave farms!) certified organic ground beef gemovese, Sianno straccialtella cheese, Burtonfarms sauteed beets, yellow and romesco cauliflower, Auston Farm baby carrots, and a purple cauliflower consommé.
Stop the madness. Get yourself a ticket to this event. Don’t even bring a date. He or she might slow you down. I will be attending alone. Look for me. If I don’t chat, it’s probably because my mouth is full. Cheers, y’all! May the best chef (and mixologist) win!
See you Monday!
For more information, and to learn more about all the chefs and mixologists, check out the NCRLA event website at www.ncrla.org/chefshowdown/