The third annual cooking competition awarded chefs from across the state with top accolades
Charlotte, N.C. (August 28, 2018) – The North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association (NCRLA), the driving force behind North Carolina’s $23.5 billion restaurant, foodservice and lodging industries, announced the winners of the third annual NCRLA Chef Showdown on Monday, Aug. 27 at Aria at Founders Hall in the Bank of America Center in Uptown Charlotte. Travis Myers of Willow’s Bistro won the coveted NCRLA Chef of the Year, Miranda Brown of The Asbury at the Dunhill earned NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year and Joe Nicol of The Times at S&W took home NCRLA Mixologist of the Year.
There were 21 chefs and six mixologists from across North Carolina that competed for the titles, judged in front of a panel of industry experts 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. Attendees also voted 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.
For the first time, NCRLA introduced three regional semi-final qualifying rounds prior to the main NCRLA Chef Showdown event, an extension of the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Expo. A total of 32 savory and pastry chefs collectively competed at either eastern regionals at Lawson’s Landing in New Bern, western regionals at Highland Avenue in Hickory, or central regionals at Vidrio in Raleigh.
- NCRLA Chef of the Year: Travis Myers, Willow’s Bistro, Winston-Salem
- NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year: Miranda Brown, The Asbury at the Dunhill, Charlotte
- NCRLA Mixologist of the Year: Joe Nicol, The Times at S&W, Asheville (Represented Fainting Goat Spirits)
- People’s Choice Savory: Thomas Card, Counting House at the 21c Museum Hotel, Durham
- People’s Choice Pastry: Anika Rucker, Fahrenheit Charlotte, Charlotte
- People’s Choice Specialty Cocktail: Hannah Forde-Smith, Chef and the Farmer, Kinston (Represented Mother Earth Spirits)
- Best Use of a “Got to Be NC” Ingredient – Savory: Teddy Diggs, Coronato, Chapel Hill
- Best Use of a “Got to Be NC” Ingredient – Pastry: Cody Middleton, Forsyth Country Club, Winston-Salem
- Most Creative Presentation – Savory: Brandon Shepard, Urban Street Eats Catering & Food Truck, Cedar Point
- Most Creative Presentation – Pastry: Cody Middleton, Forsyth Country Club, Winston-Salem
- Best Booth Design – Savory: Matthew Hannon, Ashten’s, Southern Pines
- Best Booth Design – Pastry: Gerald Hawkins, Gaston Country Club, Gastonia
- Best Booth Design – Mixologist: Sarah Wells, FS Food Group, Durham (Represented Durham Distillery)
Initiated in 2016, the NCRLA Chef Showdown has proven 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. 27 and Tuesday, Aug. 28, featuring an assembly of industry professionals discussing state-of-the-art practices and innovative ideas affecting restaurant and hospitality businesses today.