Meet your “Fire in the Triangle” Battle #5 Chefs, Herons at the Umstead Hotel & Spa vs Market Restaurant

Wow, hard to believe we are now halfway through the NC Competition Dining Series “Fire in the Triangle.” Battles 1-4 have proven not only that we are surrounded by amazingly talented chefs, but also that as North Carolinians, we are surrounded by what the incredible bounty of the land, and artisan food producers have to offer.

Got to be NC has sure brought to the table some excellent offerings. So far the secret ingredients have included NC blueberries, Lusty Monk Mustard (Asheville), Jonhston County Country Ham and last night, NC eggs (Quail, Duck and Chicken)…….so what’s next? I’m thinking some type of veg maybe….

For rules of the Got to be NC North Carolina Competition Dining Series go here.

Congratulations to last nights Winner Chef Scott James of Midtown Grille and Chef Matt Hannon of Ashten’s Restaurant and Pub for another fantastic battle. And thank-you Gabrielle Kaasa (@nutellaisevil on Twitter) and Noah Kaasa for taking the time (I know it must have been rough =)) to attend and recap the nights festivities on the blog this morning. For the official results and menu go here.

All the Chefs in the NC Competition Dining Series, from the Mountains, to the Coast, to the Triangle and the Triad (Up next in the series, Aug & Sept), are highly talented and help place North Carolina on the map as a dining destination, equal to that of many of the “big” cities we hear tooted about on a daily basis. We are in the ranks people, these Chefs are killin’ it in the kitchen.

The Competition Dining Series benefits the Office of the State Fire Marshal in North Carolina to support local fire fighters, as cooking is the number one cause of house fires. Instructional tips about kitchen fire safety will be shared during each event.

I am excited to finally attend my first “Fire in the Triangle” battle and I couldn’t be more excited to see how the night unfolds. Don’t worry if you can’t attend, stay tuned to the conversation on Twitter following me @durhamfoodie  and the hashtag #CompDiningNC for all comments. Please also follow us on Facebook at Durhamfoodie and Competition Dining

I am also especially thrilled to check out 1705 Prime, the official location for all “Fire in the Triangle” battles. From what I have heard the space is beautiful and the staff wonderful.

Tonight’s NC Competition Dining Chefs bring head to head Chef John Childers of Herons at the Umstead Hotel & Spa vs Chef Chad McIntyre of Market Raleigh. Thank goodness I don’t actually have to vote, oh the pressure!!!! Lol!!!

So let’s go ahead and get to know the Chefs behind tonight’s competition…….Battle……..Guesses?????

P.S Don’t miss reading the Q&A’s =)

Chef John Childers

John Childers: Herons in Cary, NC

My cooking style is:  Refined American with worldly influences.

The NC ingredients I use are: Ashley Farms poultry, Heritage Farms Pork, and Johnston County Hams to name a few.  My personal philosophy is to utilize as many local products as possible as a means to support sustainable agriculture and the local economy.

Q & A with Chef John Childers

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

John: I incorporate local ingredients in a few ways. My purveyors are always sourcing the best local ingredients to supply our restaurant with. I also source ingredients through research and local markets.

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

John: Sourcing local ingredients is very important to me, our hotel, and our guests. We pride ourselves on supporting the community, and the most direct way to do this as a chef is by supporting sustainable farming.

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

John: I do not really have a local ingredient that I  am not looking forward to having the opportunity to work with.

Me: Least looking forward to?

John: Again, I am excited to see North Carolina’s bounty.

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

John: The team has prepared by researching local products and developing a game day strategy.

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

John: The strategy is CLASSIFIED. I am joking, we hope to display what we do everyday. We want our competition food to remain true to our restaurant food’s style and flavor.  I guess the strategy is to not over think the secret ingredient. We want to feature the ingredient in the purest form, in the most creative way.

Me: What do you think it takes to win?

John: Luck! That is what it takes to win. Your fate is in the peoples’ hands. Honestly, that is what makes this competition so amazing. The format is such, that any competitor can be victorious.

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

John: I hope we all walk away from the competition with a deeper respect for farmers, their products, and each other as chefs. And of course, I hope to do all of these while winning! I’m looking forward to answering the “after” questions. Hopefully as a round one winner!

Chef Chad McIntyre

Chad McIntyre: Market in Raleigh, NC

My cooking style is:  Healthy and fresh with dedication to using as many local and seasonal ingredients as possible.

My competitive advantage is:  I am familiar with many of the local NC products that could be featured as a secret ingredient during the competition.  I really enjoy being creative on the fly and finding the best way to use the ingredients available to me.

Q & A with Chef Chad McIntyre

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

Chad: I am very adamant about using local ingredients.  We try to work within a tight radius of the restaurant sourcing our product.  This gives me a more “face to face” approach when planning my menu.  If a farmer has sustainable and well run farm, the chances are greater  that their product being the best quality.  North Carolina has a bevy of top quality meats, produce, seafood, and locally made product.  I would be a fool to think that a tomato grown on the other side of the planet would last better than one grown right down the road.

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

Chad: It is very important.  It is what helps us stand out from the rest of the restaurants out there.

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

Chad: Honestly, I can’t say I am “hoping” one way or the other for a specific ingredient.  I have my list of comfortable ingredients that I will work with. But, if I wanted to be comfortable I would just stay at home and read.  I want to be challenged.  I am really hoping for an ingredient that I had no idea that was grown or produced here.

Me: Least hoping for?

Chad: Something too over done, say Tuna.  Or an product that is so well balanced that I would feel I was doing it an injustice to change what was intended to be.

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

Chad: Real simple.  I just told them to do what they do every time they cook: “create what makes you feel good”.  I have a belief that it isn’t only the spices and seasoning that you put into a dish, but it is your aura and attitude that help make the dish complete.  Great chefs make great food.  Also, I told them to “BRING THA THUNDA!”

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

Chad: No big strategy or secret.  Just be true to the ingredient and true to myself.

Me: What do you think it takes to win?

Chad: Hopefully three tasty courses from our team.

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

Chad: More than anything I would want people to realize that truly great dishes can be produced from some of the simplest ingredients.  And that a restaurant and home chef should be proud to get and cook local ingredients.

GOOD LUCK GUYS AND THANKS FOR MAKING US PROUD =) LOVE JO

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

Special thanks to the NC Competition Dining Series Sponsors, without their support, we would not have the privilege of attending such a series of events here in NC.

SPONSORS: The North Carolina Department of Agriculture (NCDA), Southern Foods/ Pate Dawson, OUR STATE Magazine, Crippen’s Country Inn & Restaurant in Blowing Rock, Whole Harvest Foods and H.ITS Technology. Local sponsors include the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau and Independent Weekly.

HAPPY EATING Y’ALL!

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