Meet your “Fire on the Rock” Chefs, Battle One

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The “Got to be NC” Competition Dining Series, begins TONIGHT  with “Fire on the Rock” in Asheville.

This unique 15-dinner competition dining experience will travel across five different regions of the state starting in Asheville, January 14- 30 with “Fire in the Rock.” Each evening, two restaurants “battle” it out side by side in a single elimination, “Iron Chef”-style format. Each chef must create three courses, for a total of six plates, each using a “secret” North Carolina Ingredient. What will it be tonight?

If you were unable to attend any of the events last year, be sure to check them out this year. It is a great way to dine with old friends, and meet new ones, taste six exquisite dishes prepared by some of North Carolina’s top chefs, and then vote on your favorite. Each night two chefs will compete, and your vote will “determine who moves on to the next round and who goes home.” At the end of each series, the winning chef wins $2000, and a coveted “Red Chef Jacket.”

This year the series will visit Asheville, Wilmington, Blowing Rock, Greensboro, Raleigh and Charlotte, culminating in a final battle between each regional champion during the “Final Fire” in November.

Tickets sold out quickly for each event last year, so be sure to get yours soon.

“The “Got To Be NC” Competition Dining Series is a brand new event sponsored by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, Southern Foods/Pate Dawson, Crippen’s Country Inn & Restaurant, Our State magazine and local partners in each region of the state. The goal of the series is to celebrate local North Carolina products and agriculture and to showcase the culinary ingenuity and talent across our state.

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To find out more about Asheville’s “Fire on the Rock,” and to purchase tickets, go here. To keep up with the competition, stop by my blog each morning to meet that evenings competing chefs, and again the following morning for a battle recap.

Tonight’s battle brings together Chef Peter Pollay and team from Posana Café and Chef Scott Wallace and team from Rankin Vault.

Let’s meet your Battle One “Fire on the Rock” Chefs:

Peter PollaY from posana Cafe

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My cooking style is: Contemporary American

My competitive advantage is: the fact that we are familiar with the local products, bringing in up to 80 local items that we utilize at Posana Cafe. We were the first Green-Certified restaurant in NC.

Chef Q & A

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

Pollay: I am very flexible when it comes to the dishes I create for our menu.  If a farmer/forager comes in with a product we want, we just adapt our menu and incorporate the local ingredient into one of our dishes.

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

Pollay: Very, for many reasons.  Supporting the local agricultural community, local economy, receiving the freshest possible produce and meats, and face to face relationships with the farmers.

Me: Is this your first experience in the Competition Dining Series? If yes, what made you decide to compete? If no, what was the most important thing you learned in last year’s competition?

Pollay:  Yes.  Just wanted to try it out.  It is a nice contrast/complement to what I do ever day in the restaurant.

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

Pollay: I don’t really care.  Whatever comes our way, we will work with

Me: Least hoping for?

Pollay: I do love working with fish, however it is quite challenging incorporating it into a dessert

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

Pollay: Purchased some new knives, looked at some recipes, visualized working in the kitchen provided…

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

Pollay: Just being me!

Me: What do you think it takes to win?

Pollay: well executed dishes that allows the secret ingredient to shine.

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

Pollay: just having a good time.  Getting to know, at least, one local chef better and hopefully more.

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Scott Wallace from rankin vault

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My cooking style is: Fusion

My competitive advantage is: the fact that I have worked in different great restaurants in Asheville and developed my own style. I am very good at making much from little.

Chef Q & A

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

Wallace: All of our proteins which are the focus of the menu are sourced locally.  Even the corn tortillas we use are made locally. I personally go to the farmers market to get produce for our menu.

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

Wallace: It is very important. Asheville is a great community that supports the idea of locally sourced ingredients as a way to reduce our community’s impact on this planet we inhabit.

Me: Is this your first experience in the Competition Dining Series? If yes, what made you decide to compete? If no, what was the most important thing you learned in last year’s competition?

Wallace: This is my first competition. My Southern Foods rep Debbie Groover encouraged me to be in the competition. I know it will be fun.

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

Wallace: Bacon.

Me: Least hoping for?

Wallace: I’m game for anything.

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

Wallace: By going through my mental rolodex of recipes and dishes that i have accumulated over the past twelve years.

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

Wallace: Keeping things simple and extremely well executed.

Me: What do you think it takes to win?

Wallace: Being more creative and talented then the other team.

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

Wallace: Having fun.

Me: Any other comments you would like people to know about you and your team?

Wallace: We represent the unpretentious hard working variety of “chefs” that understand preparing food is all about bringing relaxed and comfortable enjoyment of sustenance to those we feed.

Let the Battle Begin!!!

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