FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RALEIGH, N.C. (August 9, 2022) – The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association (NCRLA), the driving force behind North Carolina’s $27.3 billion restaurant, foodservice, and lodging industries, announced the champions of the sixth NCRLA Chef Showdown on Monday, Aug. 8 at the Pavilion at the Angus Barn in Raleigh NC.
Oscar Johnson, co-owner of Jimmy Pearls in Charlotte won the coveted NCRLA Chef of the Year award, Lydia Greene of Machete in Greensboro earned NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year, and David Bowen of the Ginger Fox representing Broad Branch Distillery in Winston-Salem took home the NCRLA Mixologist & Distillery of the Year award.
The competition began back in March with over 60 competitors vying for the top awards. The 26 chefs and mixologists at the Chef Showdown made it through five preliminary rounds and four semi-final rounds of competition across the state.
They competed in front of a panel of industry experts and were judged 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.
“NCRLA’s sixth Chef Showdown showcased the incredible talent of our chefs, pastry chefs, bartenders and distilleries from across the state,” said Lynn Minges, President & CEO of the NCRLA. “The energy, creativity, and passion of all of the competitors featuring North Carolina’s freshest ingredients was both delicious and inspiring.”
Attendees at the finale were treated to tasting-sized portions of the best savory dishes, desserts, and cocktails and they also voted for their favorites to determine the Performance Foodservice People’s Choice award winners for Chef, Pastry Chef, and Mixologist.
The preliminary rounds were hosted in Asheville, Morehead City, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, and Raleigh. Then, the remaining chefs competed in two regional rounds hosted in Charlotte and Raleigh.
- NCRLA Chef of the Year: Oscar Johnson, co-owner of Jimmy Pearls in Charlotte
- NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year: Lydia Greene of Machete in Greensboro
- NCRLA Mixologist & Distillery of the Year: David Bowen of the Ginger Fox representing Broad Branch Distillery in Winston-Salem
2022 First Runner’s Up
- Chef Kevin Cottrel of Machete in Greensboro
- Pastry Chef Gerald Hawkins, Jr. of Seabird Restaurant in Wilmington
- Mixologist & Distillery of the Year Jessie Rossabi of The Willard Rooftop Lounge in Raleigh with Jonathan Blitz of Mystic Farm and Distillery in Durham
2022 Performance Foodservice People’s Choice Awards
- People’s Choice Chef: Myles Scaglione of PARA Charlotte in Charlotte
- People’s Choice Pastry Chef: Savanna Brodar of The Ballantyne Hotel in Charlotte
- People’s Choice Specialty Cocktail: Brian Pratt of Flying Machine Taproom and Kitchen representing Blue Shark Vodka in Wilmington
The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association (NCRLA) serves to advance and protect the interests of more than 20,000 businesses that employ 11 percent of the state’s workforce and generate more than $27.3 billion in sales annually. www.ncrla.org