Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fire in the City, Round 2 wrapup

The second round of Charlotte-area chef competition wrapped this week, so the Got To Be N.C.-product-related event is down to four chefs: Brian Williams of Upstream, Jon Fortes of Mimosa Grill, Tom Dyrness of Mama Ricotta's and David Feimster of Fahrenheit.

Sept. 15:
Matchup: Jon Spencer of Epic Chophouse and Williams of Upstream.
Surprise ingredients: N.C. fish and Old Mill of Guilford grits.
Highest scoring dish of the night: Sweet grit and almond cake, vanilla Railhouse Porter marshmallow, buttermilk sherbet, pine nut toffee (by Chef Williams; see below).
Advancing: Williams, with a score of 30.31212914 to 25.69503916.

Sept. 16:
Matchup: Paul Ketterhagen of Carpe Diem and Jon Fortes of Mimosa Grill.
Surprise ingredients: Texas Pete Cha! (it's a sriracha sauce) and Goat Lady Dairy chèvre.
Highest scoring dish of the night: Orange-scented five-hour braised Heritage Farms Cheshire pork belly, almond-crusted Goat Lady Dairy chèvre sweet potato cheesecake, melted squash and Texas Pete Cha! Q (by Chef Fortes; see below).
Advancing: Fortes, with a score of 27.77736220 to 21.70314136.

Williams and Fortes face off Sept. 23, and yes, that is a matchup of chefs who cook at sibling restaurants; both work for Harper's Restaurant Group sites. The other second-round competition yielded a Sept. 22 matchup of Dyrness and Feimster, both of whom cook for high-profile owners: Mama Ricotta's Frank Scibelli has several places around town; Fahrenheit's Rocco Whalen's original is in Cleveland. No one cooking for himself in a one-location-place remains. (And yes, "himself" is right: No women started.)

The final is set for Sept. 29; all competitions are held at Bonterra in Dilworth, and are currently sold out.