The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association (NCRLA), the driving force behind North Carolina’s $23.5 billion restaurant, foodservice and lodging industries, is now accepting applications for its fifth annual NCRLA Chef Showdown, presented by Got to be NC. The culinary competition features the talents of chefs, pastry chefs and mixologists from across the state. Applications will be accepted through March 23, 2020.
“This competition showcases the amazing culinary talent all across our great state, as well as the flavorful ingredients produced here in North Carolina,” said NCRLA President and CEO Lynn Minges. “We invite chefs, mixologists, and distillers from every corner of the state to apply and earn the chance to be crowned the best-of-the-best in our industry.”
Culinary competitors will compete in private preliminary and regional events prior to the final ticketed event that is open to the public on August 10 at Angus Barn’s Bay 7 in Durham.
The highest-scoring 20 chefs from the four preliminary rounds will move on to regionals and be invited to participate in the 2020 Chef Showdown finale. In every round, competitors will be judged on the presentation and taste of their dish, as well as the best use of local North Carolina ingredients on each plate. Fans will be able to follow the preliminary and regional action & results on the NCRLA and Chef Showdown social media pages.
NCRLA is also accepting applications from North Carolina distilleries and mixologists that will each partner with together to create a craft cocktail with their brand. Mixologist/distillery teams will prepare sample-sized craft cocktails for showdown attendees and judges while competing for the NCRLA Mixologist and Distillery of the Year award.
Four preliminary rounds will be held as follows:
- April 27, Morehead City, Carteret Community College
- May 18, Charlotte, Central Piedmont Community College
- June 1, Triad Region, Bobby Boy Bakery
- June 15, Triangle Region, TBD
Two regional rounds will be held – east on July 20 and west on July 13 – with details to come.
Finals will be held:
- August 10, Durham, Angus Barn’s Bay 7
A panel of distinguished judges will determine the winners of NCRLA Chef of the Year, NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year, and NCRLA Mixologist & Distillery of the Year. At the final event, chefs will prepare sample-sized offerings for attendees who will determine the recipients of the “People’s Choice” awards. The NC Department of Agriculture will also name six North Carolina Culinary Ambassadors, which will be an elite team of chefs who will represent the department. Event tickets for the final are $125 which includes tastings from 20 chefs plus wine, beer, and spirits.
At the 2019 NCRLA Chef Showdown, Steven Goff of Aux Bar in Asheville won the coveted NCRLA Chef of the Year, Jamie Turner of The Asbury at the Dunhill in Charlotte earned NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year, and Jonny Burritt took home NCRLA Mixologist of the Year for NCRLA Distillery of the Year Apothecary Beverage Company in Asheville.
For more information, to apply, or to purchase tickets to the finals to the 2020 NCRLA Chef Showdown, visit ncrla.org/chefshowdown. To view a video summary of the 2019 contest visit https://youtu.be/jVEbft54f_4.