Each year the two NCRLA Chef Showdown chefs who take the top championship titles of NCRLA
Chef of the Year and NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year have the honor of also being named North Carolina Department of Agriculture Culinary Ambassadors. The chef and pastry chef who take first runner-up honors and the People’s Choice Award winners in each of those categories also receive these same accolades, rounding out the Got To Be NC Culinary Ambassador team.
The 2021-22 Culinary Ambassador Team
- Saif Rahman of Vidrio in Raleigh NC, 2021 NCRLA Chef of the Year
- Tiesha Whittaker of Buttermilk Boutique in Clayton NC, 2021 NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year
- Chayil Johnson of Community Matters Café in Charlotte NC, 2021 NCRLA Chef of the Year, first runner up
- Gerald Hawkins in Charlotte NC, 2021 NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year, first runner up
- Matt Rivers of Timberlake’s at Chetola Lodge in Blowing Rock NC, 2021 NCRLA Chef of the Year, People’s Choice
- Savanna Brodar of the Kimpton Tryon Hotel in Charlotte NC, 2021 NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year, People’s Choice
NCRLA Chef Showdown Chefs, the Culinary Voice of Got To Be NC
The North Carolina Department of Agriculture has a mission to develop and expand domestic and international markets for North Carolina’s food, fiber and forestry products.
Recognizing the influence and impact chefs across the state have in the achievement of that goal, the Culinary Ambassador Team serves to support the department’s efforts to advocate and promote North Carolina food and beverage products throughout the state.
This talented and creative team of chefs is determined each year as a result of the highly competitive North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association’s annual NCRLA Chef Showdown. Individually, these chefs each placed as state-wide title winners in the rigorous six- month long culinary competition.
Together, the GotToBeNC Culinary Ambassador team is the culinary voice of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture.
Advocating and promoting North Carolina food and beverage products; assisting in the department’s marketing efforts across the country, at live and virtual personal appearances, cooking demonstrations; educational seminars, seasonal recipe development and the general promotion of North Carolina’s food and agriculture industries.
NC Culinary Ambassador Team chefs are available for interview, media and appearance opportunities. Chefs photos and bios available upon request.
Contact: Chad Blackwelder, Foodservice Marketing Specialist , Chad.Blackwelder@ncagr.gov
Find details on this program in the NCRLA Chef Showdown rules; then, read more here.