Competition Dining Series Kicks Off in Raleigh

Staff Writer
Competition Dining

Last night, the first round of Competition Dining’s Fire in the Triangle in Raleigh, N.C. kicked off with a battle between John Childers of Herons at The Umstead in Cary and Jake Wolf of Capital Club 16 in Raleigh.

The Iron Chef-like battles put local area chefs head-to-head in a three course face off. Competition Dining allows only North Carolina products to be featured.

The first battle last night featured Thompson Orchards Peaches. Wolf won the first course with peach lacquered quail with a green lentil salad, toasted party nuts, fried cipollini onion, grilled peaches, and a peach vinaigrette. Childers came back in the second course with a peach barbecue chicken and pork belly with peach caramel, charred corn salad, slaw, candied peanuts, and rosemary. Childers also won the dessert round with sweet pickled peaches with salty pecans, a chevre donut, caramelized white chocolate, and blackberry cream. 

Judges last night included Dathan Kazsuk, design editor of Triangle Business Journal, Fred Thompson, food writer for Edible Piedmont, David McCreary, Cary Magazine food writer, and Kitty Kinnin from WUNC radio, according to Triangle Business Journal.

Diners and judges use a point system on their smartphones to score the chefs’ dishes on taste, creativity, and appearance. In the end, Childers’ final weighted score came to 21.003, just barely defeating Wolf’s score of 20.753.

Fire in the Triangle is one of five regional competitions throughout North Carolina. It will continue until the final on August 19. Other Competition Dining series include Fire on the Rock in Asheville/Blowing Rock, Fire on the Dock in Wilmington, Fire in the Triad in Greensboro, and Fire in the City in Charlotte. The series started with Asheville in January, with Greensboro being the most recently completed series. 

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Winners of each series will advance to the Final Fire in Raleigh this November. Last year’s Final Fire champion was Ryan Payne, chef of Weathervane in Chapel Hill.