Competition Dining Quarter Finals Begin TONIGHT! Four Square vs Il Palio

I apologize right off the bat that this post is short and lacking. Currently I am stuck in the Dallas Fort Worth airport with internet service that 1. costs $10 and 2. doesn’t work wort a darn, even if this is an airport fave of mine.

I promise to add photos and links as soon as possible, but did not want you to miss a great Q & A with Chef Adam Rose from Il Palio before Competition Dining started this evening.



It’s that time once again to kick-off Competition Dining Series “Fire in the Triangle” and this time it’s the quarter finals y’all. So far 16 chefs have competed, 8 are left. That’s it! Tonight pits Chef Shane Ingram of Four Square (Durham) against Chef Adam Rose of Il Palio (Chapel Hill)…whew!! This is going to be a doozy……as they all are. The chefs in the entire Competition Dining Series, across the state, have proven themselves as some of our top NC chefs, win or lose.

So what was it that pushed these two chefs competing tonight over the top to win against their opponent in the first round?

Chef Shane Ingram

To begin the series, Chef Ingram competed against Chef Adam Jones of Twisted Fork (Raleigh) in “Battle Blueberries.” Both chefs brought their  “A” game but in the end it was the crowd favorite that won the day for Ingram; Grilled Vanilla Bean Pound Cake with Roasted Blueberry Lime Crumble, Jalapeno Mint Syrup and Toasted Meringue.

Grilled Vanilla Bean Pound Cake with Roasted Blueberries, Lime Crumble, Jalapeno Mint Syrup & Toasted Meringue, Photo by Judy Royal

Going into battle two, Chef Adam Rose of Il Palio vs Chef Josh DeCarolis of Jujube took on the one and only, amazing….. Lusty Monk Mustard (Asheville, NC). One of my favorite local NC products. I was truly sorry to miss this battle, but happy that my good friend Matt Lardie from Green Eats Blog was there to cover for me.

Chef Adam Rose

Both chefs were well received and when it came down to a last decision it was the audience that had the final say, Chef Adam Rose.

But how do the chefs feel after the battle? Read what it was like for winning chef Rose below:

Post Battle Q & A with Chef Adam Rose, Il Palio

Me: What were the biggest challenges?

Chef Rose: Shrimp.  I was inspired to make fried shrimp because I know it is a crowd pleaser and the seafood batter I learned from my Mississippian mother-in-law, contains buttermilk and whole grain mustard.  The biggest challenge was cleaning, deveining and peeling 15 to 20 pounds of shrimp, in a matter of hours, while finishing this dish, and two additional courses, to serve for over 120 ppl.

Me: Were there any “oh no” moments when you thought something went seriously wrong?

Chef Rose: I knew something was wrong when I finished plating my dessert course, apple tarte tatin, and saw that there were six empty plates to be filled.  We sprang into action, with the advice and assistance of my competitor, and quickly satisfied our guests and judges with a dessert prepared on the fly.

Me: After finding out what the secret ingredient was, how did you go about planning/brainstorming your 3 courses?

Chef Rose: Our Il Palio team, comprised of skilled chefs that I trust, brainstormed and discussed ideas to pay homage to the ingredient, mustard, and integrate it in every component of each dish.

Me: What kind of strategies were you planning/thinking about?

Chef Rose: I knew going into the competition that I was going to execute a duo plate.  It was a risk, due to the complexity and time consumption, in essence preparing two dishes to be presented on a single plate, though I was confident that the diners would appreciate our skills and efforts.

Me: Were you excited or dismayed when the secret ingredient was revealed?

Chef Rose: Neither.  I was presented with a challenge and focused on having fun and making sure 100+ ppl in attendance left with memories of a delicious dinner and great experience.

Me: Any final thoughts about the overall experience?

Chef Rose: I entered the competition with the sole interest of getting exposure for Il Palio, embracing a challenge, and having a good time.  All the above were accomplished.  And, winning is not so bad, either!

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.

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

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.


A dining competition that celebrates local North Carolina products and agriculture and  showcases the culinary ingenuity and talent across our state.

The “Got To Be NC” Competition Dining Series is unlike any other dinner experience in the country! Taste course-by-course during a series of 15 dinner competitions hosted in four regions of the state throughout the year. Each evening, two restaurants “battle” it out side by side in a single elimination, “Iron Chef”-style format. As our guest, you get to savor a six-course menu (three courses from each chef without knowing whose food you’re tasting) created around a “secret” North Carolina ingredient. The best part? You decide the winner! Diners, alongside culinary and guest judges, will rate each dish and determine who moves to the next round and who goes home


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