Both chefs are family men and are very talented, revered chefs in the Greensboro community. Chef Thompson wowed fans and soon-to-be fans with his Pork Sausage, Strawberry Tarragon Moonshine, Strawberry Moonshine Syrup, Ginger-Strawberry Moonshine Slaw during Battle Moonshine. The talk amongst Competition Dining patrons was that he and his team were going to take each battle and run away with it. Two-thirds of Team Liberty Oak have already tasted the sweet nectar of Competition Dining victory. Chef McNeil gained some new fans (me included) with a Short Rib & Chèvre Ravioli, Saffron Goat Cheese Cream, Roasted Beets, Spring Onion and Pistachio-Pink Peppercorn Dust during Battle Goat Cheese. Creative in and out of the kitchen, what ingredient would they face next?
BLUEBERRIES. Blueberries from Lewis Farms in Rocky Point, NC.
|(left) Chef Tim Thompson of Marisol; (right) Chef Creighton McNeil of Liberty Oak|
|Sesame Crab Cake, Blueberry Black Rice “Risotto”, Citrus Herb Salad, Lemon Grass Blueberry Curry|
|Confit Chicken and Quail Farcemeat, Parsnip Potato Puree, Blueberry Red Wine Cipollini Onion, Blueberry Apple Compote, Blueberry Reduction|
|Quite phallic, huh?|
Later in the evening when each course's creator and the scores were revealed, we learned that courses one AND two were from the same chef! Shocking! An unexpected turn of events! So courses three and four were from the opposite camp. Interesting...
|Pan Seared Roasted Quail, Sweet Potato Puree, Blueberry-Ginger-Mint Red Wine Reduction, Blueberry Balsamic Glazed Cipollini Onions|
|Braised Pork Butt, Blueberry-Apple-Basil Crème Fraiche Cole Slaw, Dried Cherry & Bacon Couscous, Blueberry-Chipotle BBQ Sauce|
|Chef Tim and Chef Billy Seay "doing (ie. plating) da butt"|
|Lemon Custard, Blueberry-Ginger-Sage Ice Cream, Blueberry Passion Fruit Syrup, Cashew Graham Crisp|
|Chef McNeil cutting out that sweet, sweet custard|
|Yellow Cake, Blueberry Citrus Compote, Blueberry Ice Cream, Streusel Topping, Blueberry Gastrique|
In the end, only 0.18 separated each chef.
All votes tallied, Chef Creighton McNeil and his crew pulled out a win and is headed to the Fire in the Triad semifinals.
For a breakdown of scores and chef-by-dish photos, tickets sales & reservations, additional photos and more, visit Competition Dining.
The Final Four are set. Who will make it to the finals? Who will reign supreme? Place your bets in the comments below!
|Pictured: (top left to right) Chef Gregory John of Greensboro Country Club, Chef John Bobby of Noble's Grille, Chef Timothy Bocholis of Bistro B, Chef Creighton McNeil of Liberty Oak|
Be sure to check out Fire in the Triad companion pieces in local alternative weekly paper, Yes! Weekly, on the web and newsstands now!
About Competition Dining: In 2013, this unique 15-dinner competition dining experience has traveled across the state of North Carolina to Asheville/Blowing Rock, Wilmington and now Greensboro. Raleigh and Charlotte are slated for later this summer and fall. Each evening, two of the region's best restaurants “battle” it out side by side in a single elimination, “Iron Chef”-style format. Each chef must create three courses, for a total of six plates, each using a “secret” North Carolina ingredient.