On 2:03 PM by Nikki @ NikSnacks in bacon, BBQ, blog, cake, dessert, dinner, duck fat, eclair, Fire in the Triad, Greensboro, north carolina, produce, product, Winston-Salem No comments
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The second week of Fire in the Triad dinners started off with a fizz and a bang Monday night, revving up the culinary engines of chefs and foodies in attendance at The Empire Room in Downtown Greensboro. It was Chef Kristina Fuller of the hot new Greensboro restaurant, Crafted versus the sizzling hot chef, Chef Juan Guzman of J. Pepper's in Kernersville, both tangled in a heated culinary battle all night long. As a former competitor, Kristina made it to the Fire in the Triad semifinals in '12. Did she outpace newcomer, Juan? Meet the chefs below and find out:
|(left) Chef Kristina Fuller of Crafted in Greensboro, (right) Chef Juan Guzman of J. Pepper's in Kernersville Click each chef's name for a video introduction|
Pepsi Bottling Ventures is a 2013 Sponsor of Competition Dining and born in the Carolinas, might I add. Another little tidbit: The name Pepsi (or Pepsi Cola as it once was called) comes from pepsin (ya know, like Pepcid AC), a digestive aid to help quell tummy troubles. I'm happy to report, there were no sign of tummy troubles Monday night!
|Duck Fat Bacon Confit, Pickled Root Vegetable Salad, Pepsi BBQ Glaze, Honey Dijon Mustard|
This first course does look very tiny in this photo, and trust me, it was.
And I ate it before I had the thought to photograph my plate.
As the highest scoring dish of the night, the duck fat bacon ate like a piece of country ham. Salty, smoky and thick, it had crispy edges and sat atop an equally smoky and sweet Pepsi BBQ glaze. The glaze tasted of Pepsi up front with a slight, peppery spice in the back. I was wary about the pickled vegetables because in the past, chefs haven't done so well with this menu item. My fears quickly subsided as the root vegetable salad of carrots, parsnips and onions was tart from vinegar but balanced with sweetness from the honey Dijon mustard. Well played, chef. Well played.
|Pink Himalayan Sea Salt Seared Breast of Quail, Truffled Black Rice, Bok Choy & Onion Confit, Fennel Chow Chow, Pepsi Glaze|
|Cherrywood Smoked Breast of Duck, Chive Polenta with Mascarpone, Cherry Pepsi Glaze, Asian Pear & Snow Pea Salad|
|Pepsi Roasted Duck Breast, Farro Risotto with Wild Mushrooms and Sweet Potatoes, Pepsi Beurre Rouge, Pistachio & Arugula Pesto|
|No pistachio arugula pesto. Only broken dreams.|
|Pound Cake with Meyer Lemon Sorbet, Strawberry & Pepsi Jam, Vanilla Pepsi Reduction|
|Profiterole filled with Pepsi Cream, Mini Pie with Strawberry-Pepsi-White Chocolate Mousse, Pepsi Candied Bacon|
As you know, every vote of every diner counts. With a mere 1/10th of a point difference, Chef Juan Guzman of J. Pepper's in Kernersville bested Chef Fuller of Crafted. I can't say that one chef rose above the other because each course was matched note for note, spice for spice. But a note to other local chefs: Dessert and bacon are a diner's Achilles' heel. It gets us every time.
Congratulations to Chef Guzman. Thank you for your food and your 1,000,000 watt smile. See you on June 4 against Winston-Salem's Noble's Grille.
|The Winner's Circle|
- Nikki @ NikSnacks
- I'm an award-winning private chef who writes and talks about my life as a food writer, culinarian, podcast host, and food tour guide, I'm a classical French trained chef with a BA in English from East Carolina University and a Culinary Arts Associate Degree from Le Cordon Bleu-Miami. I've worked as a researcher, an editorial assistant, reporter and guest blogger, catering chef, pastry chef, butcher, baker, and a biscuit-maker.