Meet the Chefs of “Fire in the Triangle” Battle #2

If you followed the tweets at #CompDiningNC last night or got the inside scoop from Matt Lardie on the blog this morning (See post prior to this one), you know it was an exciting evening for all who attended and even those of us who didn’t but followed the twitter feeds. For a great post battle interview with Shane Ingram, winner of battle #1,  check out the CompDiningNC YouTube Channel. Follow my Durhamfoodie Facebook page for more updates from around the Triangle.

Tonight’s “Fire in the Triangle”  Competition Dining battle pits Chef Adam Rose of Il Palio Ristorante vs Chef Josh DeCarolis of Jujube, both located in Chapel Hill. As I post this, the chefs have just had announced to them the secret ingredient for tonight’s battle. That means the afternoon is underway and the creative juices have started flowing. Each chef will prepare three dishes incorporating a North Carolina product, what do you think it could be? The secret ingredient will be announced to the public at 7pm……..oh the anticipation!!!!

Having eating at both restaurants many times, I am well aware of how talented each of these two chefs are and I am sure those dining tonight will  be in for a wonderful surprise. Come back here tomorrow morning for another recap from Matt.

Tickets are all sold out except for July 10, July 17 and July 23. See below for details.

Watch as Host Jimmy Crippen introduces Adam Rose and Josh DeCarolis and then read more below, including some Q & A’s with Chef Rose.

Your Chefs:

Adam Rose: Il Palio in Chapel Hill, NC

My cooking style is:  Simple, clean American cuisine with an Italian influence.

The NC ingredients I use are:  Produce, cheese, seafood, grains, and pork to name a few.  I’m very passionate about sourcing and selecting local ingredients. I like to take advantage of fresh products and highlight their natural properties, tastes, and attributes.

Josh DeCarolis: Jujube in Chapel Hill, NC

My cooking style is: Classically based, but eclectic.  I like to fuse Western and Eastern influences.

My competitive advantage is: My ability to bring a lot of very interesting ideas into the fold.  My style is unique and I’m sure that my food will add an X factor for my competitor to contend with.  I’m also pretty darn handsome, which should count for a lot.

Q & A’s with Chef Adam Rose

Me: With the competition dining series focusing on NC products, how do you as a chef incorporate local ingredients onto your menu?

Adam: Sourcing local ingredients for Il Palio’s menu is a priority for me. Either by purchasing directly from the farmers and artisan producers, or partnering with great NC family owned purveyors like Southern Foods, Cornucopia Cheese, and Specialty Foods Company, I am dedicated to building great relations and growing our NC list every week.

It never ceases to amaze me who and what shows up at my back door.  For example, just 2 weeks ago, a woman named Elizabeth Wall representing Atlantic Sturgeon and Caviar Company knocked on the door and offered me a sample of N.C. farm raised sturgeon and caviar.  We are receiving our first shipment tomorrow.

Me: How Important is sourcing locally for your restaurant to you?

Adam: I have a strong belief in the local and sustainable movement.  Il Palio is honored to be a participant in the annual Farm to Fork Picnic that is a fund-raiser for Slow Food Triangle, Carolina Farm Stewardship and the Breeze Farm Incubator, associated with NC State Department of Agriculture.

Local sourcing?  I am incredibly fortunate to have my Chef de Cuisine, Isaiah Allen, as the established owner and farmer of Rocky Run Farm, located in Hillsborough.  This unique relationship exemplifies true farm to fork planting, growing and harvesting practices based on Il Palio’s needs.  I often describe Il Palio as the place where Italy meets North Carolina.

Me: As for the secret ingredient, what are you most hoping for?

Adam: No hopes for any particular ingredient.  We will do our best to compete fairly, have a good time and make sure our guests enjoy a great meal and feel like they received the food service and experience that were looking forward to.  After all, at the end of the day, without the guests, we chefs have no reason to cook.  

Me: Least hoping for?

Adam: kohlrabi

Me: How have you prepped yourself and your two helpers for this event?

Adam: It is hard to refer to Isaiah Allen, Il Palio’s Chef de Cuisine and Jay Beaver, from NYC’s acclaimed Gramercy Tavern, as my helpers as they are talented and respected in their own rights.  Suffice it to say, we have done our homework and look forward to the competition.

Me: Do you have a strategy for winning over your opponent?

Adam: I believe he is counting on his being handsome to count for something.  Josh is a talented chef, and on any given day this could be any chefs competition to win.  We are going to cook honest food with great technique, let the ingredients shine and the guests will be the final judges.  I myself am looking forward to seeing how it all goes.

ME: Aside from winning, of course, what are you looking to walk away from this experience with?

Adam: Hopefully, by the end of it all, several hundred people who have never experienced food as we do it in Il Palio will be fans, and I look forward to cooking for them time and time again.

Triangle location for all dinners: 1705 Prime Catering and Events, the premier private event space for Rocky Top Catering at 1705 East Millbrook Road, Raleigh, NC 27609;

THE SERIES IS SOLD OUT EXCEPT FOR THE DATES OF: July 10, July 17 and July 23,  and these seats are going FAST. To purchase tickets and for more information about the Competition Dining series throughout the state head over to


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