The penultimate Fire in the Triad QUARTERFINAL dinner took place Tuesday night. Chef Mark Grohman of Meridian Restaurant in Winston-Salem and Chef Timothy Bocholis of Bistro B in Kernersville met at Elm Street Center's Empire Room in Downtown Greensboro for the unofficial Battle Forsyth County.
|(left) Chef Mark Grohman of Meridian; (right) Chef Timothy Bocholis of Bistro B|
Both chefs competed during Fire in the Triad's inaugural year and went two different directions. Chef Grohman did not advance past the preliminary rounds and Chef Bocholis lost in the quarterfinals in 2012. Back in the saddle again, both chefs are looking to show what they can do in the kitchen and see what other chefs are doing as well. Both chefs started cooking at a young age, are restaurateurs and lead their kitchens as a quiet storm. Both chefs were judged on Tuesday night by a room full of fans, foes, peers and jeers.
Guest judges for the night were: Local author, Jo Maeder; Executive Chef of Starmount Country Club, Travis Bensink and owner/founder of Fullsteam Brewery, Sean Wilson.
|Me with Fullsteam CEO, Sean Wilson|
Enough about ME, let's get on with the food!
The list of the night's featured ingredients: Carolina catfish, blackberries AND raspberries from Lewis Farms in Rocky Point, NC. On their own, each ingredient is just okay but to not know how each chef was going to incorporate each into 3 courses was intriguing indeed.
|Raspberry Glazed Breast of Duck Salad, Grilled Red Onion, Chèvre, Blackberry Balsamic Vinaigrette|
|Catfish & Crab Fritters, Asian Slaw, Blackberry-Applewood Smoked Bacon-Chipotle Tartar Sauce|
|Crispy Katafi Catfish, Old Mill of Guilford Stone Ground Grits, Snap Peas, Lusty Monk Original Sin Mustard & Pancetta Cream|
|Catfish Jambalaya Stuffed “Turban”, Smoked Tomato-Crab-Shrimp Ragout|
|Genoise Cake, Raspberry Jam, Mixed Berry Sorbet, Blackberry Compote & Red Wine Zabayon|
|Spiced Vanilla Ice Cream, Almond Tuille, Raspberry-Lemon Coulis|
The volleying of scores was neck and neck all night and before the dessert courses, there was a little more than a ONE POINT difference between each chef. While the results of each course were being announced by founder and host, Jimmy Crippen, you could have heard a pin drop. There was no laughter, no applause. Nothing except the "baited" catfish breath of 120+ people. Winning by a mere 0.445 of a point, Chef Timothy Bocholis of Bistro B won Battle Carolina Catfish & Berries!
|In good spirits, after the competitors shook hands|
The next battle begins Wednesday, June 12 between Tim Thompson of Marisol and Creighton McNeil of Liberty Oak in Greensboro.
Tickets are on sale for Fire in the Triangle. The chef brackets will be announced June 24. Get your tickets now, after one day of sales, the Fire in the Triangle final battle tickets are over halfway sold out!
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.