The North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association (NCRLA), the driving force behind North Carolina’s $24 billion restaurant, foodservice and lodging industries, announced the winners of the second annual NC Chef Showdown held Monday, Aug. 21, as an extension of the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Expo that took place in downtown Raleigh. Matthew Krenz of The Asbury at the Dunhill Hotel won the coveted Chef of the Year award. Ann Marie Stefany of Heirloom Restaurant earned Pastry Chef of the Year. Amanda Britton, of 204 North Kitchen & Cocktails, representing Muddy River Distillery, took home the inaugural Mixologist of the Year award.
Sixteen chefs and six mixologists from across North Carolina competed for the titles of NCRLA’s Chef of the Year, Pastry Chef of the Year and the newly added Mixologist of the Year. Competitors were judged in front of a panel of industry professionals based on the presentation and taste of the dish as well as the best use and number of local North Carolina ingredients on each plate. For the first time, six top shelf North Carolina mixologists stirred up excitement throughout the evening at individual bars sponsored by six local North Carolina Distilleries to ultimately claim the title of Mixologist of the Year.
Attendees from across the restaurant and hospitality industries gathered at 214 MartinStreet/Market Hall in downtown Raleigh to vote for their favorite dishes and drinks to determine the People’s Choice award winners for Best Savory Dish, Best Pastry Dish and Best Specialty Cocktail.
Complete list of 2017 winners:
- NCRLA Chef of the Year: Matthew Krenz, representing The Asbury at The Dunhill Hotel, Charlotte
- NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year: Ann Marie Stefaney, representing Heirloom Restaurant, Charlotte
- NCRLA Mixologist of the Year: Amanda Britton, representing Muddy River Distillery, Belmont
- People’s Choice Savory: Timothy Grandinetti, representing Spring House Restaurant Kitchen & Bar, Winston-Salem
- People’s Choice Pastry: Julius Kalman, representing Vidalia, Boone
- People’s Choice Specialty Cocktail: Jesse Cortez, representing Graybeard Distillery, Durham
- Best Use of a “Got to Be NC” Ingredient – Savory: Lil Lacassagne, representing Saint Jacques at The Burke Manor Inn, Gibsonville
- Best Use of a “Got to Be NC” Ingredient – Pastry: Hannah Woociker, representing Highland Avenue, Hickory
- Most Creative Presentation – Savory: Timothy Grandinetti, representing Spring House Restaurant Kitchen & Bar, Winston-Salem
- Most Creative Presentation – Pastry: Shelby Smith, representing Top of the Hill Restaurant & Brewery, Chapel Hill
Initiated in 2016, the NC Chef Showdown has proven itself an invaluable addition to the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Expo, which connects the restaurant and lodging industries for an all-inclusive program of education and an exposition of the latest products, services and technologies from across the state. This year’s expo took place on Monday, Aug. 21 and Tuesday, Aug. 22, featuring an assembly of industry professionals discussing state-of-the-art practices and innovative ideas affecting restaurant and hospitality businesses today.
A special thanks goes to presenting sponsors Got to Be NC Agriculture, platinum sponsor Sysco, gold sponsor US Foods, silver sponsors Gordon Food Service and Summit Hospitality Group, bronze sponsor Fintech and technology sponsor CurEat.
For more information about the NC Chef Showdown, visit ncchefshowdown.com. For more information about the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Expo, visit ncrl-expo.com.
*Additional photos available upon request.