Meet Your “Fire in the Triangle” Chefs for Battle 8, The Oxford vs Chapel Hill Country Club

The last of the preliminary round of NC Competition Dining Series, “Fire in the Triangle” is tonight and boy what a ride. Let’s start first by saying that last nights Battle Noodles (First Noodle Company, Charlotte NC)with Flights at the Renaissance vs Sono Japanese Restaurant was unbelievable. Both Chef Dean Wendel of Flights and Chef Michael Lee of Sono were in it to win it and I dare say it was another close call…..until dessert. The Dessert from Flights, actually the only dessert of the evening was over the top, wanted second and thirds good.

Wonton Pistachio Crusted Blackberry Cake with White Chocolate, Strawberry Sherbet & Pistachio Wonton Cigarette – Photo courtesy of Judy Royal

I also want to mention the group of guests dining last night. They were fun, energetic, rowdy and it was clear a great time was had by all. Especially at the end of the night when they gave both chefs well deserved standing ovations

Chef Dean Wendel at Fire in the Triangle post-win interview

I am running low on time today, so pardon the very brief recap. Please come back for a more thorough recap by the end of the week.

Tickets sold out quickly for Fire in the Triangle, but stop by my blog for a daily recap and these “meet the chef” posts to stay in the loop. You can also follow me on twitter @durhamfoodie and the hashtag #CompDiningNC for up to the minute details during each battle. Please also follow us on Facebook at Durhamfoodie and Competition Dining

And now for tonight’s competing chefs for The Oxford vs Chapel Hill Country Club.

Chef Christopher Hill 

Christopher Hill, The Oxford in Raleigh, NC

My cooking style is: Stong classical French foundation with American influences.

My competitive advantage is: the experience I gained from working in the culinary profession at an early age. Working in many different regions in the country has given me a unique knowledge of various unique.

Q & A with Chef Christopher Hill

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

Christopher: We are currently using a bison from the Asheville area and chicken from Winston Salem, produce and dairy when we can.

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

Christopher: I like to pay respect to the hard work of the farming that is done locally and statewide.   I am new to The Oxford in downtown Raleigh and I am in the process of making local products more readily available for our kitchen staff to work and create with.

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

Christopher: I would like to see all varieties of beets.  I think beets would be great to showcase in a setting like this.

Me: Least hoping for?

Christopher: I am looking forward to whatever ingredient is revealed that day!

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

Christopher: Just remember to have fun and try to translate our passion for food on the plates for the patrons to enjoy

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

Christopher: Confidence and don’t take anything for granted

Me: What do you think it takes to win?

Christopher: Confidence and don’t take anything for granted

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

Christopher: I am excited to be a part of showcasing the ingredients of this great state while looking forward to working with the talent in this area.  There is a lot of talent and should make for a very interesting competition.

Chef Jimmy Reale

Jimmy Reale: Chapel HIll Country Club in Chapel Hill, NC

My cooking style is:  Contemporary American with strong Mediterranean and Italian influences.

The NC ingredients I use are:  Everything that I can get my hands on! I make it a point have a relationship with the many local farmers and producers around me. I’ve always had a seasonal menu and it’s important to me to incorporate NC ingredients at every opportunity.

Fire in the Triad will run August 13 through September 25 in Winston-Salem. For tickets go here.

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;

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.


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