Meet Your Chefs for Fire in the Triangle Battle #3

Battle three of Competition Dining Series “Fire in the Triangle” is underway as Chef Ryan Payne of Weathervane Restaurant at A southern Season and Chef Chris Harris of Fork & Barrel spend the afternoon planning, prepping and preparing 3 dishes each for 120 people utilizing a North Carolina “secret ingredient.”

The beauty of these competitions is that it showcases the bounty of North Carolina farms and NC artisan products. So far we’ve had battle NC blueberry and battle Lust Monk Mustard, a fabulous mustard company based out of Asheville, NC. If you haven’t tried it, I highly suggest doing so. I personally keep a jar in my fridge at all times. But enough about that, let’s get down to Battle #3 and meet tonight’s amazing Chefs.

First an introduction from Competition Dining NC’s founder and  host Jimmy Crippen, owner of Crippen’s Country Inn & Restaurant in Blowing Rock, NC.

Before meeting the Chef’s, I want to thank the people who made the Competition Dining NC series possible. I think it’s absolutely amazing that this type of event is here for us to enjoy and the fun it is for those who are attendiing. For those of us who haven’t had the chance to get to a battle or didn’t get tickets (It is now sold out), it’s been great fun to feel a part of it by keeping up with the evenings happening via twitter using and following the hashtag #CompDiningNC. If you’ve had a chance to attend, I’d love you’re feedback in the comments section of the recaps. Links below.

Battle #1: Four Square vs Twisted Fork, NC Blueberries

Battle #2: Il Palio vs Jujube, Lusty Monk Mustard

So thanks to Jimmy Crippen for the vision and the sponsors, Crippen’s Country Inn & Restaurant, NC Department of Agriculture (Got to be NC), Southern Foods/Pate Dawson Company, h.its Technology, Our State, Whole Harvest, Greater Raleigh CVB and Independent Weekly for making this possible.

And now, drum roll please……………………….

Chef Ryan Payne

Ryan Payne: Weathervane in Chapel Hill, NC

My cooking style is:  Local, southern, fresh with worldly influences.

My competitive advantage is:  Our fan base from the Weathervane and A Southern Season.  We will bring an incredible following to our battles and we look forward to the challenge of rising to their expectations throughout the competition.

Chef Chris Harris

Chris Harris: Fork and Barrel in Raleigh, NC

My cooking style is: New American Cuisine with a twist and a kick!

My competitive advantage is:  My longevity and breadth of experience.  I’ve worked in every environment, from small independent restaurants to large dining clubs.  I thrive on spontaneity and can handle anything that gets thrown my way.

Q & A with Chris Harris

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

Chris: I try to do as many local products as possible. From local, pasture raised beef, pork and chicken to NC cheeses,  produce and seafood

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

Chris: Very important. I think more and more, people want to know and should know, where their food comes from. Sourcing locally also helps build a sense of community.

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

Chris: It doesn’t matter

Me: Least hoping for?

Chris: No comment

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

Chris: Booze and meditation. No, seriously, what this competiton has done is kind of force us as cooks to go back and study some of the basics again.

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

Chris: Sabotage! I really don’t have a stategy other than going in and cooking my stlye of food.

Me: What do you think it takes to win?

Chris: Finishing on time,  putting out a great product  and being true to yourself

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

Chris: Having fun and working with other chefs

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; http://www.rockytopcatering.com/our-venue/1705prime.php

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