The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association announced nine chefs from eastern North Carolina competing in the first of five preliminary rounds leading up to the fourth annual NCRLA Chef Showdown, presented by Got to be NC Agriculture.
The Showdown’s booming success inspired this year’s expanded format, introducing five preliminary rounds — the second to be held Monday, June 3, at Princess Anne Hotel in Asheville, N.C. — before the three regional rounds leading up to the final NCRLA Chef Showdown event.
Preliminary chef competitors will prepare and serve dishes to be judged by three culinary experts scoring on presentation, taste, and use of local ingredients from North Carolina. This round’s four top scoring chefs will move on to the regional competition in Wilmington on Monday, Aug. 26 at Bluewater Waterfront Grill, ultimately progressing to the finals on Monday, Sept. 30, at Angus Barn’s Bay 7 in Durham, N.C., where the coveted titles of “NCRLA Chef of the Year” and “NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year” will be crowned.
The preliminary and regional events are closed to the public. However, NCRLA is granting access to local media.
The savory chefs are:
- Samuel Cahoon, Big Cahoona LLC DBA Savorez, Wilmington, N.C.
- Attilio Cardelli, On A Roll, Wilmington, N.C.
- Amanda Ezzell, Ezzell’s, LLC, Warsaw, N.C.
- Massimo Mannino, Nino’s Cucina Italiana, Greenville, N.C.
- Brandon Shepard, Urban Street Eats Catering & Food Truck, Nourish Juice Bar & Café, Swansboro, N.C.
- Blake Sutton, Whiskey Bravos, Cape Carteret, N.C.
- Ramon Villasenor-Castro, Tequila Comida & Cantina, Wilmington, N.C.
- Jake Vollmar, Village at River Landing, Wallace, N.C.
The pastry chefs are:
- Samantha Jo Smith, Sugar Island, Surf City, N.C. (will compete in Asheville preliminary)
The judges are:
- Chef Matthew Krenz, 2017 NCRLA Chef of the Year, Charlotte, N.C.
- Chef Dean Neff, James Beard semifinalist for Best Chef Southeast, Wilmington, N.C.
- Chef Mara Norris, Salud Cooking School Director and Instructor at Whole Foods, Charlotte, N.C.
Date: Monday, May 6 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Carteret Community College
3505 Arendell St.
Morehead City, N.C. 28557
Note: The preliminary and regional events are closed to the public. However, NCRLA is granting access to local media.