Calling all chefs and distilleries from across the great state of North Carolina! It’s time to apply for the 2018 NCRLA Chef Showdown.
The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association is proud to announce the 3rd annual NCRLA Chef Showdown, North Carolina’s premiere culinary competition, featuring the talents of chefs, pastry chefs and mixologists from across the state.
This year’s NCRLA Chef Showdown final competition will be bigger and better than ever, taking place Aug. 27, 5:30 – 9 p.m., at Founders Hall in Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina, the first evening of the 2018 North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Expo, which will also take place in Charlotte Aug. 27-28, 2018.
The 2018 NCRLA Chef Showdown is presented by the marketing arm of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, Got to be NC, and kicks off this call-to-apply with the addition of exciting new regional semi-final competitions before the grand finale in August.
From among the chef applicants, 36 chefs from across the state will be invited to participate in one of the regional semi-final competitions.
Regionals will be held Tuesday, May 22, at Lawson’s Landing in New Bern; Monday, June 4, at Highland Avenue in Hickory; and Monday, June 25, at Vidrio in Raleigh. At each regional, chefs will cook for a panel of judges, preparing several servings of a single dish that exemplifies each chef’s individual culinary style and his or her use of North Carolina ingredients.
The regional semi-final rounds of competition are not open to the public, but will be open to media, and we will be sharing every bite on all of our social media platforms.
Following the regional rounds, a total of 21 chefs will have earned the opportunity to compete in the finals of the 2018 NCRLA Chef Showdown. The 15 savory chefs and 6 pastry chefs who qualify after cooking their way through the regional semi-final rounds will be announced to the public the first week of July.
At the finals, the excitement will continue to build with eight savory chefs and four pastry chefs—all top scorers from the regional semi-final rounds—announced as 2018 ultimate finalists! These chefs will present that evening to an esteemed panel of professional culinary judges in hopes of being selected as the 2018 NCRLA Chef of the Year and 2018 NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year. Dishes will be judged on composition, taste, creativity and the best use North Carolina proteins, produce or products.
The 12 ultimate finalists will join the rest of the participating chefs at the event in serving sample-sized portions of their dish to 400 event guests who will vote for People’s Choice Award recipients, which will include “Best Savory Dish,” “Best Dessert” and “Best Use of North Carolina Ingredients.”
In addition, one chef from each regional competition will receive the distinguished honor of being named one of three 2018 NC Department of Agriculture Chef Ambassadors.
The NCRLA Chef Showdown is not only an evening to celebrate the culinary talents of North Carolina, but also the spirits. Six North Carolina distilleries will be invited to participate in their own competition based on an interest expressed through the application process. Each distillery will select a North Carolina-based mixologist to create a craft cocktail with their brand. Attendees will enjoy sample-sized pours from each bar throughout the evening. A separate judging panel of experts attuned to the world of craft cocktails will select and award the title of the 2018 NCRLA Mixologist of the Year. There will also be a People’s Choice Award.
Click HERE to apply to compete as a chef or distillery in the 2018 NCRLA Chef Showdown. Rules and regulations will apply. Chef and distillery applications will be accepted through Friday, May 4.
To view previous winners, click here.
Questions? Please contact Heidi Billotto, NCRLA Chef Showdown host and co-organizer at 704-502-4439. To learn more about becoming a NCRLA Chef Showdown sponsor, please contact NCRLA Chef Showdown co-organizer, Mindy Wharton, NCRLA director of marketing and business development, with any questions at 919-277-8585.
The NCRLA Chef Showdown is organized by the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association (NCLRA). NCRLA serves to advance and protect the interests of more than 20,000 businesses who employ 13 percent of the state’s workforce and generate more than $23.5 billion in sales annually. Learn more about NCRLA at www.ncrla.org.