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Two chefs were in the running for the second spot in the Fire in the Triad finals. Only one can win and get that coveted red chef's jacket. And $2,000. And a custom set of hand-forged knives from Ironman Forge. And prestige. And bragging rights. And... the list could go on.
|(left) Chef Bocholis of Bistro B; (right) Chef Creighton McNeil of Liberty Oak|
TW Garner Food Co. is a title sponsor of Competition Dining and I was just waiting for the moment the ingredient was announced:
Personally, I am HUGE fan of Texas Pete. It is my hot sauce of choice and I put it on nearly everything when it's offered at fine dining establishments around the South. Thanks to Texas Pete, I will never be without my favorite condiment.
|Some people carry gum. I carry Texas Pete.|
Texas Pete enhances the food its sprinkled on. It's more flavorful than spicy, and it adds another layer of flavor when used. Whereas Tabasco simply adds heat, Texas Pete raises the hot sauce bar and makes simple food complex. All of this, of course, is my personal opinion.
Other Texas Pete enthusiasts and judges for the evening: John Batchelor, food critic for Greensboro News & Record, David Bailey of O. Henry magazine and fellow blogger, Cecilia Thompson of Mod Meals on Mendenhall.
Okay, let's eat!
|Texas Pete® inspired Lobster Ceviche with Yellow Pepper Crab Chimichurri and Guava Sorbet|
|Texas Pete® Lobster and Shrimp Nigiri, Crispy Wonton, Texas Pete® Gastrique|
The wonton cup was definitely crispy and I expected it to be sodden with the addition of the gastrique. The wonton a fresh melange of lobster, shrimp and the small ball of rice. My rice was chilled, but a little mushy. I did not get much lobster in my portion, but the shrimp I got were good and peppered with fresh chopped parsley, a little cilantro and diced jalapeno. The miniscule drizzle of gastrique was definitely vinegary and sweet, VERY sweet, but I did not detect much Texas Pete flavor or any spice.
|Texas Pete® Marinated Mock Beef Medallions with Roasted Catalan Fennel Potatoes, Grilled Summer Salad and Texas Pete® Burgundy Demi|
I remember from culinary school, that is the blade of the cow's shoulder. It is known as bistro filet or petite medallion. After that verification, I now can confidently report that it was some of the best beef I've ever tasted. My portion was juicy, soft, easy to cut into with a butter knife and cooked to a perfect medium rare. On a scale of 1 to 10, the Texas Pete flavor was a 2. I had my little tableside mini bottle, and I was tempted to pour it on, but I decided to soldier on and taste the flavors of the other dish components. The potatoes were smoky, the roasted bit of fennel was mellow, sweet and woodsy. The summer salad consisted of lettuce, squash, mushrooms, asparagus and green beans (or haricot verts, because they were very thin and French, of course). All of the greenery was crisp, crunchy and just barely cooked.
|Texas Pete® and Elk Short Rib Chili, Texas Pete® Cheddar Fried Corn Bread, Texas Pete® Orange Honey Compound Butter|
To quote Jimmy Crippen,"We started with elk and now we're having mousse [moose]."
|Chocolate Orange Mousse with Texas Pete® Chantilly Cream, Almond Straw|
|Chocolate Texas Pete® Cheesecake with Texas Pete® Bing Cherry Ice Cream and Salted Caramel|
Before the last course's scores were tallied, there was only one point difference between the chefs. Desserts make or break you in this competition and Wednesday night was no exception.
The tabulation of votes revealed Chef Timothy Andrew Bocholis of Bistro B as the winner of battle Texas Pete!
|I think he's a Texas Pete fan!|
Chef Bocholis and Chef Bobby of Noble's Grille will meet in the Fire in the Triad finals Wednesday, June 26 at the Empire Room in Downtown Greensboro. The event is sold out, but you can still follow the action via Twitter, Facebook and Competition Dining.
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.